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A minor at another university in the Netherlands 

Date:19 May 2022
A minor in the Netherlands
A minor in the Netherlands

Students of the  Global Responsibility & Leadership  programme have the unique opportunity to spend a year abroad, do an internship, a pre-master or study at another dutch university. During this so-called 'minor' space, they broaden their horizon through exploring different cultures or deepening your knowledge and skills. Eight students reflect on their experiences. This week Julia and Tabio dive into their year at another university in the Netherlands. 

Julia did her minor in Sustainability at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam

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Originally, I planned on going to Colombia for my minor but that, unfortunately, did not happen due to the pandemic. In general, I hoped for my minor to offer me as many different insights and student-life experiences as possible in comparison to our small-scale bachelor's programme here in Leeuwarden. 

So, when the whole Covid-situation made every sort of planning very uncertain, I decided to stay in the Netherlands for my minor and to make it as much of an “aborad” experience as possible, which lead me to do my minor at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. 

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Because I am very interested in the entrepreneurial side of sustainable development, I chose to follow the minor “Sustainability: Management & Innovation”, which offered me very helpful insights into the challenges posed on implementing sustainable innovations in our current economic and societal system, and how to strategise, analyse and market such innovations. 

Overall, the courses were very interesting and I enjoyed them a lot, though I realised strong differences between our university college system and the conventional one. 

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I am glad that I had the chance to study together with 300 other students, to not have attendance or participation grades and to basically experience the exact opposite teaching style to what we have here at UCF. This really showed me that the university college approach is a lot more suitable for me and that it really provides us with different skills than the other business students studying with me - where they aced multiple choice exams, I knew how to do structure and write reports. Not only the different academic skills everyone provided in this minor but also the different perspectives on the topic of sustainability and societal issues made it really interesting for me. 

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Besides the insight into the different study system, also Amsterdam itself contributed to me feeling more “abroad” than I actually was. The offer of museums, cafes, parks or biking through the city next to super diverse crowds of people definitely were a change.

So, even though I did not see myself spending my semester abroad in the Netherlands, I still had a chance to experience something very different from UCF and Leeuwarden, what I hoped to be doing during my minor.

All in all, I really enjoyed my minor in Amsterdam, figured out a tiny bit more in which direction I would like to go for my masters and met some really fun people.

Tabio went to Amsterdam for his minor in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence

It was an eventful second year of my studies: Covid-19 seemed to be controlled a little bit better. Vaccines were on the horizon for everyone. The hope to be able to go on exchange was rising again. And then you receive an email from Indonesia, telling you that you are invited to join them online for a semester. Great...right Well, that was not exactly my response. However, that made my decision a lot easier as I had not only applied for an exchange program but also for minors within the Netherlands as a backup plan. If I have learned one lesson during the pandemic, then it’s that you should not rely on plan A. So, I was ready to fall back on plan B and perhaps even C.

Eventually, I decided that a minor in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence would be the right programme for me. There was only a minor obstacle in the way: I was the first one on the waiting list after having submitted my application only a minute after the opening of the form.

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Luckily, after multiple calls with the University of Amsterdam we found out that they had simply not sent me the email which would have officially accepted me. That meant I was going to Amsterdam and could deepen my knowledge in data science! A moment of celebration was followed by weeks of despair as I had to find housing in Amsterdam while being abroad. It turns out that the Dutch housing crisis seemingly peaks in Amsterdam. In practice that means that I had quite some troubles and eventually was forced on an unconventional path. My new home would be my family’s motorhome. To be honest, I was not too sad about that part as it meant I could be anywhere, while following my mostly online lecture. Of course, I would still find out that these were online, otherwise I would have not been in Amsterdam anyway.

So, finally, I was in Amsterdam and ready for class. For the first time since the start of my bachelor, I attended lectures with about 100 people in one of these stereotypical lecture halls. Checkbox on feeling like a ‘proper’ student.

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Yet, that was by far not the only difference from what I was used to from Campus Fryslân. The outstanding contrast of them all was probably the students themselves. The minor is part of the  Bachelor Business Administration and there is hardly any student cohort which is more different from CF - instead of discussing how to "do good with data" we were discussing how to make money with data, exclusively.  Equipped with such an interesting "cultural" experience I learned to appreciate the proactiveness and motivation of CF students even more.

On the other hand, that meant that I did not have as many bonding moments with my fellow students.  Instead could embrace my housing related freedom by going windsurfing more regularly than I was used to and focus on my academic learning outcome. However, the latter was, to my surprise, not as extensive as I anticipated. Despite the description of a very challenging minor I felt very well equipped from previous courses and could thus focus on the details and already prepare for the coming Bachelor thesis.

If someone would ask me how my minor was, I would tell them that it was a semester full of learning. I learned about Amsterdam and that I don't want to live in major cities even though Amsterdam is beautiful. I learned about business administration and that a focus on profit is not my kind of orientation. I learned about how essential a driven study environment is. And I learned a lot about data science, of course and so much more, which is beyond this article. Overall, seems like I learned a lot and had a semester full personal growth.