5 reasons why I would choose Wageningen, again
Thinking back to the same time of the year just one year ago, I remember very well, that I was busy with the applications for various Master programmes and even busier deciding which to choose. Yet, I am very glad with the decision I made and I do not regret to be in Wageningen at all. Since it is application period, again, this and my following articles are specifically for prospective students. In this article, I present five reasons, why WUR would be my first choice again, if I had to choose another time.
First: individual support and assistance
At WUR, every student has her or his personal study advisor. Study advisors support students in choosing courses, have an eye on the study progress of their students and give advice in personal and study-related problems. For me it is, especially in the beginning, comforting to know that there is someone to rely on that knows how the wind blows: What do I have to take into account when I choose my courses, when are the deadlines for course registrations, which order of courses is the best and so on and so forth. In my so called intake meeting – a meeting with the study advisor before the semester starts – we were with three students with the same specialisation. In the meeting we discussed not only questions related to scheduling and course contents, but our study advisor was also interested in our personal interests, our experience in and outside academia so far and our dream career to get to know us better.
In the beginning, I was quite doubtful whether I like studying on campus. Yet, in the past four months, I very much learned to appreciate the benefits of a campus uni. Especially in summer, when students and staff sit outside on the grass for lunch, enjoying the sun and the landscape on campus, there is a very nice and lively atmosphere on campus. Also, the proximity of the buildings is handy when you have an all-day schedule and supports your social life. Since almost all studying activities are pooled on campus, you meet your friends and classmates regularly, which gives you another good reason to get out of bed and cycle to campus every day.
Yet, not only the teaching activities take place on campus, but also a lot of social events after class, such as movie screenings, debating rounds and jam sessions. You can also choose between two canteens, get a Kebab or a sandwich from Subway for dinner on campus. If you want to burn calories instead of consuming them, you can also exercise in the sports centre on campus, which offers a great variety of different fitness and sports classes.
Third: Periods and teaching method
The school-like teaching method comprises tight schedules, numerous deadlines and demanding contents in a short period of time. This can be challenging for students that are not used to work under pressure and to have a high workload.
So far, my schedules were packed with classes every weekday in the morning as well as in the afternoon. That means, I am on campus all day, since normally I also have to prepare and study for my tutorials or assessments next to lectures. Even though I am quite busy, I think it is good to keep at it and for me studying constantly makes it easier to study for final exams in the end. In one of my next articles, I will describe the education style more closely.
Every semester is divided in three periods, of which two are eight weeks long and the other just four. In the two month periods, there are seven weeks of classes, one week off for studying and one week of exams. Usually, in these periods, you choose two courses. In the short, one month periods, you choose only one course. During these four weeks you have classes as well as an exam in the end.
(Read more about ‘teaching method‘.)
Due to the Annual Introduction Days (AID) – which I would by the way recommend every student, and especially the internationals, to take part in – I felt from the first moment on part of the game and especially part of the student body. It was a great way of getting to know the uni and the campus, the Master programme and the advisors, other students and associations as well as the city and the party life. This was the best start in a new student life one can wish for.
In everyday life, there are three major aspects that contribute to a nice atmosphere. First, I really love the bike culture in the Netherlands. I love biking to uni every morning – providing that it is not raining – in a big crowd of other cycling students. Second, what I think is particular for the Dutch academic system are the friendly relations between students and teaching stuff. For example, most students call professors and teaching staff in general by their first names. And last but not least, particularly in Master programmes, the student body is quite international. I really enjoy studying in an international atmosphere and I am glad about the experience. It teaches not only intercultural understanding but also working in international teams. It’s nice to get to know people from all over the world but also from the EU, which I personally think stimulates our nowadays jeopardised European spirit.
Fifth: The customer is king
For me, the Dutch education system can be described very well with the slogan “the customer is king”. What do I mean with that? From my point of view – and comparing with what I hear from my studying German friends – I have the impression that most Dutch universities try to make studying regarding bureaucratic efforts and adjustments to individual cases as effortless as possible for students. Schedules are made by the uni for students and usually every student gets the courses that she or he chose. Personal issues can be taken into account and the individual programme can be adapted. Facilities and buildings are up to date. I think it became clear what I mean with “the customer is king”.
Are you curious whether WUR is also the right uni for you, then join an (online) open day, continue to follow the international students blog and look for further information on the WUR website. Are you already convinced that you want to apply at WUR? Then you should look forward to my next article in which I will give you some hands-on recommendations for your application. Stay tuned.