University: Stenden University
Course: International Teacher Education for Primary Schools (ITEPS)
Year: 1st year
Home town: Alphen aan den Rijn, the Netherlands
1. Why did you choose to study abroad?
After spending two months in Cambodia, where I volunteered and taught at an orphanage, I decided to quit my studies in International Law and switched my major to International Elementary Education.
Those two months had a profound effect on me. It made me realize what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. ITEPS will give me the chance to go abroad next year. I am looking forward to furthering my education in either Denmark or Norway.
2. How would you rate the assistance of the university before you arrived (the application process, finding accommodation, sorting out financial matters)?
At this point I have not been exposed to studying abroad since I am in my first year. The university has been very forthcoming with information regarding international programs abroad.
3. How would you rate the assistance of the university when you arrived (orientation etc)?
I moved from my hometown to the Meppel area, which is about 120 km away. The University has been very welcoming. The tutors and mentors are extremely helpful. Because Dutch universities normally don't have housing on campus, most students find their accommodation on their own. This can be easily done on the internet.
4. Did you feel prepared when you arrived and/or what surprised you?
I did feel pretty prepared for the course because I have studied at The Hague University. I was therefore already exposed to the university environment.
5. How would you rate the learning environment (teaching style, studying with other international students, non-native English speaking lecturers)?
The school in Meppel is very small compared to the other university I went to. But it turns out that it is very nice to be a part of a school where there are only c. 200 students and after just one month teachers start to know your name. I did not experience this at the other university I went to and it really is beneficial to my learning and the study I do.
6. Would you recommend studying abroad to a 17-18 year old Brit who might never have thought about it before?
Yes, I would. It will open your eyes to experiencing various cultures. You will meet lots of different people from diverse backgrounds.
I would highly recommend studying in the Netherlands. The Netherlands has a lot of international students from all over the world. Also, the distances between cities are very manageable. Every city is very bike friendly. This makes it easy and cheap for students to get around.
College life in Holland is very engaging. There are students unions, sports and all different kind of student activities. Dutch people are open and friendly, and most speak English fluently.
And finally, the Netherlands is a very good place to party! There are plenty of music and film festivals.
7. Is there anything you wish someone had told you at the time you applied?
I wish I’d known about this teaching program before I entered the law school in Hague. However, you learn from every experience and I am happy that I am doing something now that I’m passionate about and is preparing me for my dream job.
8. Would you recommend your course, university, city to British students?
I would recommend the ITEPS program to other students. If you want to become a teacher but aren’t sure if you would like to teach in just one country for the rest of your life, then ITEPS might be the program for you.
The open and welcoming environments at the international schools make them a great place to intern and work. Children come from all over the world, all with different backgrounds and cultures. The ITEPS course is preparing me for a teaching career anywhere in the world.
I’m enjoying the course and really looking forward to the opportunity to study and teach abroad in the future.
You can find out more about the Stenden ITEPS course here.