Applying to University College Roosevelt
Studying in the Nederlands is going great so far! The application process for UCR was very straight forward and to be fair, the simplest one I had to do so far. I only needed one motivation letter and to submit my grades, and one Skype interview which I found more relaxing and more convenient than the tens of essays I needed to do for my applications to the United States and Canada. The admission team is also very clear on what they need and by when, which makes it as efficient as the other application portals. I had a challenge with my VISA application which delayed my joining by a semester but even then the admissions team was extremely supportive and gave me a good fighting chance at joining the university.
Studying in the Netherlands
I chose the Netherlands especially because the idea of studying here would be an incredibly foreign concept. I really enjoy that it’s a ‘hidden’ town and I get to meet new people and enjoy extremely new experiences. I also wanted a place that would be friendlier for me to adjust to, and Middelburg is a small city with just enough going on. UCR was also really ideal for my career path; I want to become a medical doctor but being honest with myself and the amount of understanding I had in high school, I am not yet quite ready for medical school. The three extra years for a pre-med course would give me enough time to recover and polish what I need to know for Med school. Middelburg is the prettiest quaint town I have seen so far. I love Middelburg and UCR.
I really enjoy that Middelburg is a 'hidden' town and I get to meet new people and enjoy extremely new experiences.
Coming from the IB, the academic transition is pretty smooth but the staff at the university contribute to around 70% of the smooth transition. Having small class sizes with very friendly professors feels even better than the high school set ups we had. Here, I’m guessing with age and understanding, the environment feels less judgemental in situations where I need clarity, it feels easier to pause an ongoing class with a question than it was in high school. The professors also have office hours where students can seek extra academic support; I haven’t had to attend any because they answer a good number of my questions while in class. There is also a student body that organizes tutoring based on subjects where other students who may need the help can go whenever they need to. My favorite part about my university is that most professors have ongoing research of some sort which they are more than happy to share with the students. I have seen a number of research help opportunities in Marine Biology and some Social Science disciplines and they were made available to students, which I found to be so encouraging. I am waiting for any in the area of medicine to open up, but my professor shares a lot of his work (whenever he can) with us in class, which is always a lot of fun and interesting.
Transitioning from High School to University
The greatest aspect of joining university and transitioning into university has to be the growing up part. I would say ‘adulting’ in respect to planning to sustain my living has been less hectic for me because this is a small city and everything is easily accessible, even by foot! The Dutch are very direct but always mean well, so they are very helpful when it comes to offering guidance. The town is full of university students and elderly people, meaning job opportunities are very abundant (for anyone who may be interested) and a good number of people speak English. Having had a gap year before this I find it quite simple living as an adult and being responsible (this took me time to learn during my gap year, though.) I also have way better time management skills than I did in high school thanks to my gap year. One disadvantage is that Middelburg is not as diverse as other cities in the Nederlands; there are very few Africans which makes it a bit difficult to settle in the beginning, but I am used to it now and am actually planning on starting a small East African/African society that would bring together all the students and young people in Middelburg who have similar roots, interests, and cultures to create a sense of familiarity away from home. The limited bias towards Africa has also challenged me to exhaustively mingle with a completely different culture (which is one more reason I came here). It is tougher than I thought it would be back in high school, when I thought of the ‘beauties of diversity and intercultural learning’. Overall its great!
I really like the student body organizations; there is quite a variety that people can join, ranging from choir to being a radio host to playing on the sports teams. I personally took entirely different paths from what I did in high school; I joined the UCR UNICEF Middelburg society and I am a student ambassador. I was also really mesmerized by a business run at the school by students. They have an entire café where they serve hot meals and drinks that is entirely run by students for the UCR community only. Other students volunteer to work there- that’s how they keep it open. I signed up as a volunteer and it’s great how much responsibility I get to carry and balance altogether.