The first thing that made me consider studying abroad was the high tuition fee in England. I came to realise soon that I was also drawn to the teaching mentality of universities in the Netherlands. A lot of unemployed people have a degree, but no practical experience whatsoever. What really drew me to HZ was the practicality of their programme and the internships they offer at different companies.
Skills for your Working-life
The reality turned out to be as I had hoped. They don’t teach you for the sake of teaching. You learn skills and theories that you will use in your later working-life. It is a lot of hard work, but I didn’t choose civil engineering to have an easy time of it. If you do this, you have to be willing to put the hours in.
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In my class we get to work on real-life problems. One project I’m particularly proud of is our lock project. Together, we had to design a lock that would allow more boats to pass from one of the Dutch lakes to the North Sea. We had to work together and do everything as it would be done in the real working world.
It was not so much the challenge of the project that gave me satisfaction, but rather the practicality of it all. That is what got me excited about civil engineering in the first place: as a civil engineer you help make people’s lives easier on a very basic level. And here in class we got to do something that actually mattered. It is these kinds of practical experiences and skills HZ helps me develop that will eventually lead me to a great job. It opens up a world of opportunities for me.
What I hadn’t really thought about before I came here was the international aspect of HZ. As a child from Ethiopian and Eritrean parents, I have lived in both Sweden and Ethiopia for a while, but I have spent most of my life in the UK. So I’m used to just hearing English all day. When I got here, I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of nationalities in my class. I can communicate very easily with the other students. After all, you need a certain level of English to study here. What really touched me was how many similarities there are between us. I have a lot of Latin-American friends who share the same values as me, even though I come from a mixed, but very different background.
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