University: Stenden University of Applied Sciences
Course: International Business and Management Studies
Year: 1st year
Hometown: Shropshire, England
1. Why did you choose to study abroad?
I went travelling to Thailand, Laos and Cambodia after leaving school and whilst I was there I was offered a job as a sales representative for a tour guide company in Asia. So I ended up living and working in Bangkok for six months. This experience made me realise how much I love travelling and that I wanted to study at a university abroad rather than in the UK.
The IBMS degree at Stenden also gives me the opportunity to travel on a student exchange and also to do my internship in another country too. I am constantly in a diverse multicultural environment - something I really enjoy.
2. How would you rate the assistance of the university before you arrived (the application process, finding accommodation, sorting out financial matters)?
Stenden University of Applied Sciences’ admission team was very helpful with the application process and financial matters. I had regular e-mail contact with the university and they provided a lot of information. I did not need help with arranging accommodation as I live with my Dutch boyfriend.
3. How would you rate the assistance of the university when you arrived (orientation etc)?
When I arrived at Stenden the students and teachers were very helpful. Everyone made me feel welcome. The university arranged a study start week where we were given a buddy to look after us and provide support. During the study start week I got to know the other students on my course and we also went camping together on an island.
4. Did you feel prepared when you arrived and/or what surprised you?
I felt prepared for an international setting as I had already travelled a lot, however I was not prepared for some of the organisational procedures I had to go through. For example, arranging study finance, registering at the municipality and sorting out health insurance all took time. I would recommend other students research these things beforehand if they have time.
5. How would you rate the learning environment (teaching style, studying with other international students, non-native English speaking lecturers)?
The learning environment at Stenden is very good and the teachers always try to help the students who show they keen to learn and are dedicated to their studies. There are a few occasions when teachers use American English rather than UK English but this does not cause learning problems.
The IBMS course involves a lot of teamwork and collaboration. It is really fun as I get to work with people from different cultures; we also study many topics within business such as economics, law and culture. International students also have the chance to learn Dutch; something that's;s really useful when you've committed to staying in the Netherlands for 4 years to complete the IBMS degree.
6. Would you recommend studying abroad to a 17-18 year old Brit who might never have thought about it before?
Yes, I would because it will increase self-confidence as you’ll find yourself in situations where you have to interact and work with people from many different cultures. You’ll also experience so much more; for example, learning a language and exploring a new country; and you'll have plenty of time to experience the country's sights without feeling rushed.
Studying in an international setting provides you with so many more opportunities too after you graduate as potential employers can see that you adapt well.
The Netherlands is a great place to study. It’s not an expensive place to live and there is always something to do. Transport is very good so you can easily visit other cities on weekends. The majority of people also speak English and this makes communicating a lot easier.
However you have to be prepared to work hard as you have to get enough credits in order to be able to continue onto the second year of the degree.
7. Is there anything you wish someone had told you at the time you applied?
I wish that there had been more detailed information about what I would be studying within each module and also information about the grading system in The Netherlands. It's a credit system, so quite different from the UK and takes a bit of getting used to. I recommend researching this beforehand.
8. Would you recommend your course, university, city to British students?
I would recommend the IBMS course to other British students because it is such a broad course; you learn everything that you need to in business such as law and accounting. Each module is different and they are always interesting. The university also provides additional information. There are also clubs such as Enactus which is a charity committee; this is also another way to meet new people. It is hard work but it is fun as you are constantly working with new people.
I have no regrets about studying in The Netherlands, it is one of the best decisions I have made!