Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences

Joan van Velzen-Lalla


Joan S. Lalla comes from Trinidad and Tobago and has been living in the Netherlands for 22 months. The AUAS Faculty of Technology Aviation Academy / Engineering welcomed her in February as a lecturer for the Maintenance Repair Organisation (MRO) and Aviation Management courses.

AUAS is an open and interactive environment with well-mannered students and friendly staff

Lecturer at the Faculty of Technology - Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences

What was your first month in the job like?

‘The start was hectic, due to the two languages and a different learning system. The staff were very open and helpful, providing information and guidance when asked. Others offered their help willingly when I seemed lost or bewildered.’

What does a typical working day look like for you?

‘I arrive at 8am and leave sometimes at 5pm. Weekly, there are lots of technical literature and course material to read, slides lectures to update or tweak to my approach, workshops lectures to understudy and block assignments monitoring through consultancy sessions. There is daily interaction with student during lectures, workshops and BA consultancy,
I like these interactions, since it gives me the opportunity to chat with the students, thereby broadening their worldview and knowledge.'

What is special about the AUAS?

'AUAS is an open and interactive environment with well-mannered students and friendly staff. The possibility to lecture in English, while learning Dutch is fantastic. Also, the opportunity to add “Value” to my career path with short courses, seminars and research projects in the future is a definite plus.'

Was it easy for you to find your way at the AUAS?

'Not really, the “IT maze” to find “this and that” for an English speaker was challenging, but I had lots of willing helpers. However, within 5 weeks I was giving my first and second lectures and workshops, followed by week 6 of the same during Block 3 (7) session. I am now preparing for a very hectic MRO Business / Block 4(8) sessions with lecture, workshops and BA consultancies.'

Have you settled down easily in the Netherlands?

‘Yes, with the help of my Dutch husband. He supported me both financially and emotionally for the A2 Inburgering integration and Dutch driving exams, which I passed in 9 months.'

Do you have any advice for people thinking of applying to work at the AUAS?

'Yes, learn the Dutch language and do not be afraid of making mistakes while speaking. Always have an open mind and a positive approach to criticism, negativism builds barriers. The culture here is very open, grasp the opportunities and move forward.’