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Education Honours College

Ece Aydin

Ece Aydin
Ece Aydin

Can you tell me a bit about yourself

I’m Ece. I’m twenty, and I’m from Istanbul. I’ve been here for about two years. I study at University College. I like singing, making music, hanging out with my friends and also recently cooking.

Why did you choose Groningen as your place of study? What were the things that surprised you about it?

I visited the Netherlands in 2016. I really liked the country and so after, I started looking into studying here. I looked into universities and there was a girl from my high school that went here and so, I reached out to her. She told me such great things that I decided to apply and got accepted. Hmm, one surprise was how direct people are here. It’s not like that in Turkey because there were some cultural communication differences, and that is something I’m still trying to work on. I see it also around me, because there are so many international and Dutch people in the city. It is interesting to see their interactions and how different people are in their communication. Sometimes people have arguments and you try to understand if it is a cultural thing or something else. I had it in my group project once and this person offered to bring soft drinks and this girl said ‘no thanks, I don’t like soft drinks’. The person who offered the offer found this super offensive that she said it directly. The person offering was from Asian culture, and I think Asian cultures are similar to mine in a way that you do not directly say stuff. You just sort of hope that the other person will understand. I am also getting used to Dutch directness and so, when I go to Turkey and try to communicate with my friends and family, it can be a bit frustrating for me that their communication is so indirect.

What made you apply to the Honours College?

In my faculty, I felt a bit like being inside a bubble. I mean you do not really meet people outside the University College and your friends. Also in the first year, you live with them so it’s hard to go out there and experience different things and different social groups. I also felt that even though my programme is already super-diverse, I only took courses related to my major- health and life sciences, so I thought it may be interesting to take courses I would not normally take for my major. I also thought it would be a nice little challenge.

How would you describe your experience with the Honours College so far?

I really like it so far. I think it gave me a lot in terms of personal development besides the obvious, time management and organization. I also really liked the workshops we took and skills classes. They really helped me see things from a different perspective. My favourite course was ‘Effective Teamwork’. It gave me such a different perspective. I still keep my notes from that course and sometimes go back and look at them. I genuinely think that I started applying it to my life. For example, we discussed something called a resistance ladder and steps through which people built residence during the conflict. At one point, my friend was having trouble with his roommate, and I was just looking at this situation objectively from the perspective of the resistance ladder. In terms of meeting people, it could have been better if it was in person but obviously, we could not do anything about this.

Did Honours interdisciplinary perspective also give you some insight into your own study?

My study was supposed to be very interdisciplinary and so, the Honours College was an interesting comparison on approaching interdisciplinarity. I find interdisciplinarity interesting because our world needs it. The problems we are currently having are super complex, and you need different points of view to solve them. After taking my broadening course, I realized additional ways of thinking from different faculties, such as how they judge and view stuff.

How were you managing during the pandemics?

During both lockdowns, I was back home in Turkey with my parents. My parents were super careful. So I did not get to leave the house a lot and see friends. Seeing everyone live their life, mainly here because there were not a lot of restrictions here but I was at home with my parents the whole time, focusing on my studies. So that was a kind of struggle for me. I learned from it patience, bad things pass and uncertainty is uncomfortable - but we do not have control over the situation and so, all we can do is to embrace uncertainty and carry on with life.

Is music your main passion?

Yes, I think I would say music is my main passion. Actually, one thing I got from lockdown was that I started writing music and that’s something that I never thought I could do. But now that I had time besides studies, I could sit down and write, instead of socializing. I mostly write about my personal experiences and how they made me feel. I think in particularly emotionally turbulent times, it is nice to write, even if it is just two sentences. These two sentences one day will turn into a song. Sometimes I also will listen to a song and that will inspire me. I have a friend in Tukey who helps me with coming up with new stuff and producing. I actually have a song on Spotify . It is about a break-up, but I’ve only written the song a long time after the break-up. So it was not to get over a break-up but to write down the experience and remind me of lessons that I took away from it, and that is why I like singing. I don’t even know when my passion for music started. I've liked it since I was little.

What are your career plans?

I want to do my Masters in public health. It’s so complex and interdisciplinary. It is in our lives all the time even if we do not notice. The pandemic only showed how important public and global health is and how little people cared about it, and that’s why we are basically here now. So the pandemic only strengthened my decision. So for now, working in public health is my career plan!

Last modified:30 November 2022 5.57 p.m.