1. Before we dive into the questions, tell me a bit about yourself
I'm Victor and I'm in my second year. I study special planning and design. I like to travel and do a lot of sports and social activities. I'm half German and half Croatian. I was born and raised in Hamburg. Right now, I'm currently residing in the Republic of Georgia. That's really kind of a bridge between Europe and Asia, and it's a very interesting cultural environment. I try to find all these contrasts you have in Georgia and observe as much as possible. I already made my way to some mountains and soon I'm going to go to the Black Sea.
2. Do you think your interest in cultural diversity and exploring cultural differences was something that pushed you towards the Honours College?
Yes, for sure. Especially in my last broadening module. Everybody has their elective and you can choose, if you want, to have that cultural experience or you want to experience more natural sciences or something like that. I really felt I wanted to focus on culture, see cultural clashes. That was present in the religion in the public domain course, my broadening module.
3. Would you say that religion in the public domain was your favourite course?
That's a difficult question because obviously, they all have different targets and the deepening courses I've had were also very, very interesting. I really appreciated them. Maybe even more than people from other faculties do. At least that’s what I heard from my friends and others. But I would say that the broadening modules were really the highlights so far. I can't really say that just that one particular course was my favourite. I also had very nice experiences with the skills modules, particularly English for academic writing and python-like computational thinking. Those are really nice skills to acquire besides my studies.
4. Moving on, from the impossible question of favourite course, what is a key insight you gained from the course religion in the public domain and the Honours College in general?
The key insight of religion in the public domain was how religion is widely present even though we're not necessarily aware of it. For example, popular culture really has so many traces of religion that we're not actually directly confronted with, but if you submerge yourself in the topic a bit more then you realize how generally present it is. The insight from the Honours College, in general, was broadening my horizon through collaboration and discussion. In the broadening modules and the skills modules, we were all mixed with different faculties. That was something I really appreciate.
5. You had summer school this summer, right? How did it look in times of COVID-19? Was it also online?
The summer school was really great. I have to say, first of all, because it wasn't online, at least. I mean, there was an online possibility. So, we had the hybrid version. We met in the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies. I was already surprised by the way that faculty looks. The whole building is under cultural heritage, and it cannot be changed. It's an old, fancy building with a very special appearance. There's lots of old decoration everywhere and large paintings. The organization itself was very well done. We could have gone on excursion and then the people online would watch documentaries and other digital media. We had a similar experience but the physical experience of actually seeing religious rituals happening was really valuable and really intense. Everything was also in the social setting. Our lecturer also organized social settings outside of the summer school, which made it even better.
6. What advice would you give to students who want to apply to the Honours College?
Time management is definitely a key factor. You need to be very well organized. But lecturers also take care of us because they are aware that we are still studying our normal programme. But in general, I think it's really just the curiosity that you need to bring. I feel like the focus is really to broaden everything you do in your studies. Obviously there are the deepening courses, but that for me sometimes felt more like a focus group with people from my faculty who are really eager. Whereas the broadening courses and the skills modules were really something special, something different where you could just broaden your horizon.
7. You said you love travelling. Would you say that this is your main passion, and if yes, could you please elaborate on that? But also, do you have some other hobbies?
I would say travelling is definitely a passion, but it's not always present. So, you need to have alternatives as well. I really like to backpack and travel by myself and just experience something out of my comfort zone. So that is my main passion. Apart from that, I like to do a lot of sports. Well, their connection comes mainly from strengthening your personal physical abilities. That's something I feel like should always be in balance with your mental learning, to progress in mental ways and you also have to do that in physical ways. That's the philosophy. I like to share that. The potential of so many things are just there to be embraced and there to be discovered. Apart from that, I like to garden a lot and I have a communal garden. I like to be in nature so that really connects to the travelling part. I like to see new natural places and just surround myself with that nature. Within my studies, I try to find ways to combine that with urban spaces, which is something I'm really looking forward to working on.
8. Do you have any green ideas you’d really like to implement?
Well, if I look at Groningen, I see so many unused flat roofs and that is something I would really like to change. It's a rather easy measure. I would establish plants on those more or less unused roofs. It would even be possible to build a connection between them. Also, I really like the combination with water features. I feel like the city is just really benefiting from the combination of blue and green infrastructure. So just inviting all of that a bit more to also cope with heatwaves and stuff like that! It's really something I would like to work on. For example, the small urban forest people sometimes have. So like really something that doesn't necessarily just seem like a park, but more so like a forest because it's more mature. It takes a lot more time, but it just feels a lot different on the human body to have a real kind of forest.
9. I guess you also made a very good choice of coming to the Netherlands to study special planning because it’s a leader in this field, right? Was this the key factor in your decision? Why did you choose the Netherlands?
I'm from Hamburg originally, so really not that far. So that was definitely one factor to be rather close to home after being away for like one and a half years. From the very beginning, I was welcomed and that's really something special about the Netherlands. So that's something that contributed to my choice as well. I like that the Netherlands, as a nation, had to plan what to do and had to discuss it openly. The mentality of being direct and being open for discussion, and then finding the best compromise was something that I already heard from many people beforehand and then made the decision to move to the Netherlands.
10. You said that you often travel alone and is it the mode of travel you prefer? If yes, why?
I do prefer it. It depends a bit on the situation and the country, but I do prefer it because I feel like I see much more of the actual country. Otherwise, your eyes are more on the other person and you might deepen that relationship with the other person a lot, but actually seeing where you are is a lot different when you're alone. So, I feel like I just benefit more from it when I travel alone but of course, I'm still sometimes doing it with other people. I like to meet people on the way. I do not like to make compromises with my own time. So then when you travel alone, you can make that compromise with whomever you feel comfortable with. While if you travel with someone you kind of always have to be on the same wavelength? But apart from that, perceiving a country with just your own eyes is so much more. I feel like I reflect a lot more on that and also connecting with locals is a lot easier because, well, people talk to you when you're alone and when you walk through the streets. So travelling alone is really benefiting my experience of the actual country.
11. Is there anything you would like to add? Any subject you would like to talk about?
I'm actually really looking forward to the Petrus Camper Festival. I'm looking forward to seeing everybody basically because we only just have such a small fraction of the Honors College to actually physically meet. I hope we can learn from each other. There are so many inspiring people and opinions. For example, I didn't know anything about medicine or law or biology and all these people come from so many different backgrounds - so they have a different perspective! As a geographer, I'm always observing and trying to make sense out of what I see. It's been inspiring that these people are just specialized. I’m studying a kind of a social science programme, but it's also very much geography-based. So, I definitely think it can improve my understanding of different people. But I think even without that, people can benefit from observing the work mechanisms of other people. I would like to know even more people than the ones I met in the Honours courses.
|Last modified:||30 November 2022 6.32 p.m.|