Our Favourite UG Courses
|Date:||20 February 2021|
Whatever programme you’ve chosen, there will always be certain courses that stand out to you, and that you look back on with fond memories. It may be because the professor was really enthusiastic about the material, the class was very active or simply because you are specifically interested in that particular topic. Today, we’ll share some of the favourite courses we’ve taken at the UG so far. Each of us studies a different programme so you’ll be able to get a good sense of how diverse the classes can be.
For the past few years, I’ve combined a Bachelor’s in European Languages and Cultures with the Dutch-taught Bachelor’s in Linguistics (Taalwetenschap). Yep, I definitely love my languages. In that time, I’ve had the opportunity to take many different courses with many different professors - each of them with a different teaching style. Here are some of my favourites:
The very first lecture I had at the UG was for the course Studying Europe, which is part of the Bachelor’s in European Languages and Cultures. This was an introduction to the interdisciplinary nature of the whole programme, and dealt with literature, linguistics and politics. Every week, we had a different guest lecturer who would highlight a part of Europe’s modern history. Then, in the seminars, we would discuss our own thoughts and present the reading responses we had written. What I loved most about this course was the fact that our seminar group was very opinionated and engaged in really interesting discussions every week. I also liked the mix of topics, ranging from the era of romanticism in literature to the causes and consequences of refugee streams in Europe’s history. And quite frankly, I haven’t met a single fellow ELC student who didn’t like this course, so that’s always a good sign that a course really is great.
Learning Russian is a challenge, which can be either hilarious or painful. In my case, my Russian classes at the UG were some of the best and most fun classes I’ve taken. When I decided to study the language, I knew four words; yes, no, hello and please. Thankfully, my fellow students didn’t know much more than that either, so we all had to start from the very beginning. Getting used to the sounds and pronunciation in Russian was a journey of trial and error, and many many moments spent crying with laughter in class. Our teacher was lovely and always made us feel like making mistakes was just part of the process. Pretty quickly, we adopted her motto ‘once more again’ in a thick russian accent whenever we needed just one more try to get things right. What was great about my Russian class, was that we were with a mix of students from different programmes. The majority of us were from the European Languages and Cultures or the International Relations and International Organization programme, but some were from History or Medicine as well. Speaking a language is the quickest way to learn it, so these classes were never boring or quiet. There was always a dialogue to read out or a Russian song to analyse, which was very fun to do.
Journalistic Writing & Storytelling
As part of my Bachelor’s, I completed a Faculty Minor. For one semester, I was able to attend courses outside of my own programme. I chose the Minor in Journalism at my own faculty, the Faculty of Arts. During one semester, I got to dive into the world of journalism, social media, online political campaigns and journalistic research. Between all of the courses where I followed online lectures and prepared presentations and group assignments, one course really stood out to me: Journalistic Writing & Storytelling. This was a practical course which consisted of seminars that were initially taught in-person (pre-lockdown). In order to be corona-proof, our groups were really small (only 6 students in mine!) which encouraged everyone to actively participate and share their ideas and opinions. During this course, we looked at the different styles of reporting that are used for different media, from radio broadcasting to feature writing. In order for us to learn how to adopt these styles ourselves, we had to conduct interviews, write different pieces and we finished with one longer feature on a topic of our choice. Every week, we had many in-class writing assignments, which we then read out-loud. While it can be daunting to share your (non-academic) writing with others, it was very useful to receive feedback and ideas from my fellow classmates. It was also just really nice to interact with other students in-person again.
As a student of International and European Law, I have found that interesting things happen both in and out of the classroom. From debates on legal history, learning about the roots of international law and conversing with diplomats at student-association organised events, there's a lot to do!
Law and Legal Skills
This is the first course in the Bachelor’s programme taught at the UG, and - you never forget your first (university course!) This one was particularly memorable, as it is literally a crash course in everything that you will study during the course of the programme. From criminal law to administration and regulation to learning about how to read a 60 page court case, this course felt like a bite sized version of the LLB.
Introduction to Technology Law
Technology law is arguably the fastest growing sector within the legal profession. With new technologies being developed everyday, legislation (the creation of law) is needed. Learning about copyright, intellectual property and the landscape of technology was really interesting.
Introduction to International and European Law
While also sharing the name of my degree, this course provided great insight into the functioning and structure of International and European law. Learning about the way in which the European Union operates was particularly interesting, especially learning about rights given to students and workers within the EU. This provided some good legal background for how I fit into the European legal order, and how I can go about making the most of my rights!
This is my third and final year as a Media Studies student, and I can definitely say that I’ve enjoyed all of the courses in my programme greatly! The degree allows for a lot of personalisation, meaning that you really get to pick the direction that you like. However, on top of that, I also am part of the Honours College, which further allows you to take a number of courses from your own faculty, and other faculties across the UG. Here are some of the courses that really stood out to me:
This course is one of the few practical elements we have in the Media Studies programme, and it is by far the most fun one. We were tasked with giving media advice to a local company in Groningen, which was amazing! It was the first taste of “professional” work in media that we got, and it was definitely a process that helped me grow a lot. We presented a social media marketing plan for a local brewery, and we got the satisfaction of a really high mark!
Media Studies is a very flexible programme that allows its students to really focus on a direction of their choice. As I have always been interested in the audiovisual side of media (images, film, design, etc.), I chose the Audiovisual Culture concentration. The first course was coincidentally called Audiovisual Culture as well, and it was incredibly captivating! This course taught me how to take on audiovisual analysis, which deals with analysing how different audiovisual choices make meaning. We analysed the use of colour, composition, lighting, and so many other aspects that have an effect on how we perceive audiovisual content. It’s definitely made me change the way that I see films, television shows, and even music videos or commercials.
Power of Words
This was the first faculty course I took for my Honours programme, and it was all about rhetoric. It was especially interesting for me because public speaking and media are heavily interconnected: think news broadcasters, televised political speeches, press conferences, etc. I loved this course because it taught us precisely how to use rhetoric to make a message truly have an impact. We not only discussed some of the most revolutionary speeches, but we put our knowledge into practice with debates and even a small Ted-talk of our own! What’s best, if you have trouble giving presentations (especially where you’re arguing a certain point) this course can help you improve your skills and make you a true presentation-pro.
Are you a current UG student? What was your favourite course? Let us know in the comments!