Knowledge is power

Posted at: 11 Jan 2019

Going on a beer with your teacher after class? Receiving text messages by your study programme manager in case you’re not showing up? If this doesn’t sound familiar to you, be sure to check out this guide for incoming students to prevent some awkward situations.

Biking through charming little streets, jumping through fields of tulips or just living off waffles and fries once you arrive: You are probably already busy planning your semester in Amsterdam. Although you will have plenty of time to discover both this beautiful city and its fascinating surrounding country, you’re still a student enrolled in a minor programme at AUAS. I’ve collected a short list to guide you successfully through your semester(s) here:

Not showing up to classes is a no-go

Something I had to get used to: As an AUAS-student, you’re expected to show up to every course displayed in your schedule. On time. I know, having to get up at six in the morning to make it to an unbelievably early morning session starting at 8.30 might keep you from going out eight nights a week.

But remember that regular AUAS-students have to pay around 2000 € each year for attending study programmes at the AUAS for good reasons: Getting to study in small groups with excellent lecturers has its price. Showing up to every class should therefore be out of question, even if just for displaying solidarity with your fellow Dutch colleagues!

If you have valid reasons to skip a class, be sure to get in touch with your teacher in advance and let them know. All of them are very understanding and you won’t be punished, believe me. If you don’t talk to them before being absent though, bewildered to worried mails or text messages might reach you. You’ve been warned!

Talking to your teachers like your friends

The Dutch are renowned for their laid-back attitude and low hierarchies. Most teachers will introduce themselves with their first name and would consider it oddly formal if you wanted to call them by their last names in class or in mails. Just go for their first names, even if it may feel weird at first.

As you become more acquainted with your lecturers over time, you might end up having a drink or two with them after your course is over. Just relax, they’re humans after all – really likeable ones in most cases, as I’ve learned!

Assignments – a lot of ‘em

As the AUAS is a University of Applied Sciences rather than a ‘regular’ university, you will most commonly ‘learn by doing’ instead of debating topics in theory. Consequently, you can expect practical assignments, often set in groups, without an end.

The good part about this: You will gain a lot of useful experience in your field of study and work on exciting projects. More assignments also mean less exams to stress about: In my minor programme International Journalism for instance, I only have to take two exams during my entire semester. Instead, I get to produce an online and print magazine, film videos and write articles on a weekly basis. Sounds promising, huh?

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