The decision was easy for me. When wondering about my next educational step, I chose the Netherlands. Not too warm but not too cold, not too cloudy and not too moody, not too grey and not too dry, just beautiful. These were my initial thoughts, and they have all been confirmed. I got wet many times but a picnic at the Vondelpark compensated for all the rainy days. And although the weather was good during the summer, it got colder right after the master started. It tended to keep you inside, so it was perfect for studying. Since the Dutch are good in planning, they may even have planned their academic year based on the weather circumstances. Do you doubt it?
The lessons started in September 2012 and they were in line with my expectations. Human Resources courses at VU University Amsterdam, are taught in a way that shows respect for the students. Our needs are taken into account and translated into efficacious schedules and course manuals. Teachers, or at least the majority of them, are very friendly and willing to provide you with further advice or support even after the contact hours. Now, that the academic attendance has almost finished, I can say that it has been a year full of lectures, work-groups classes, seminars and symposiums. You can never get bored at VU. There is always something new to learn and your knowledge could be further enhanced in divergent ways. My favorite way of learning was team assignments.
The master started with an 11-student team assignment, a perfect initiative to meet your fellow students and although the number of team-members was significantly reduced in the following periods, team assignments were always a crucial part of every course. I formed teams with Dutch, Greek, Surinamese, Italian and German students. I spent hours discussing over how work should be done or what should be changed. I took advantage of every kind of social media you could think of, to communicate about papers. I still have five different Facebook groups that were created for one and only purpose; Assignments. And I still have some cookies left in my kitchen from last week’s Saturday morning meeting at my place.
It was fun. The whole experience. Even if there was pressure, heavy study load and many hours in front of a computer or a laptop. Even my personal consumption of coffee was doubled. There was always some kind of gathering on Friday night at Uilenstede Green Building and the assignment deadline provided a rational reason for celebration.
So do I recommend it? Of course! Make sure that you are ready, fasten your seatbelts and enjoy the beautiful ride. It will be over before you notice it. However, you will be left with a lot to remember.
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