Ella Peters

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University: Van Hall Larenstein, Velp campus

Course: International Development Management, majoring in Sustainable Value Chains

Which year you are in? Second year

Hometown in the UK: Woodbridge, Suffolk

1. Why did you choose to study abroad?

The course is not available in the UK and I have lived in mainland Europe for two years prior to studying and I really love the lifestyle. VHL offers many opportunities which are not commonly available in the UK.

2. How would you rate the assistance of the university before you arrived (the application process, finding accommodation, sorting out financial matters)?

When emailing the university there was help available as I was unsure about the application system as it is very different to UCAS. I did not receive any help regarding accommodation or financial matters and trying to figure all of this out in Dutch was a little intimidating. I encourage people to just apply as the process is much more simple than UCAS.

3. How would you rate the assistance of the university when you arrived (orientation etc)?

I really enjoyed the intro week (only found out about it the day before it started) and it was a really good chance to get to meet people and a refreshing, fun change to UK freshers week. I attended a really useful lecture during this week which provided lots of useful information, including how to set up a bank account here. Would totally recommend this to future students. The first few weeks were a positive transition back into academic work and the pace was perfect, keeping me on my toes without getting overwhelmed with work.

4. Did you feel prepared when you arrived and/or what surprised you?

I felt prepared when I arrived but had a shocking surprise with my house (that got sorted quickly and now I live in a wonderful house). I was really surprised by the style of lecturing, I love it as the lecturers know your name and are more than happy to help you out and share insights with you whenever they can. This was extremely beneficial for my internship (which I have just completed in Bolivia) as network connections are really handy!

5. How would you rate the learning environment (teaching style, studying with other international students, non-native English speaking lecturers)?

Overall, the learning environment is very positive and it is an environment I love and thrive off as there is often the possibility to specialise on a topic of particular interest.

For example, I am really interested in sustainable fashion production and this is the industry I would like to pursue a career in and so my internship was working for an ethical manufacturer of knit and crochet work (I worked on Fairtrade certification of the company) and I am going to be able to do my next project on sustainable fashion. This really inspires me to work to my best.

The teaching style is varied, a nice mix of lectures, workshops, discussions etc. I have not experienced any issues with non-native English of my lecturers, they all have a high level of language skills. Also, most students at the university can speak some English and so I never have communication problems in (and outside) of school.

I prefer to study alone in order to focus better but the university has plenty of spaces (silent, quiet and a little louder) to work and you can always find a computer to work on so that is something you never need to stress about.

6. Would you recommend studying abroad to someone your age who might never have thought about it before?

I would 100% recommend studying abroad. I feel that my university experience has been far richer than what it would have been at a UK university. There are so many different things to do here; its only 6 hours on the bus to Paris, beautiful cycling around every corner and lots of opportunities within the university (going to Tony’s Chocalonely event last month was a highlight).

7. Is there anything you wish someone had told you at the time you applied?

Since visiting the open day, I just knew that VHL was for me and from then I felt very satisfied with my decision to study at VHL. I would encourage students to visit the open day if they have the opportunity as it really confirmed VHL is the place for me.

8. Would you recommend your course, university, city to British students?

Yes, I would totally recommend studying here, I absolutely love it.

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