Friday, 16 July 2010

My experiences of university... Mr. Vankoningsveld

I went to university in the Netherlands. I wanted to study Medicine, but because of the lottery system due to oversubscription, I did not get a place. Instead of waiting a year to re-enter the draw, I decided to study Chemistry, my second choice. The university I went to was the University of Groningen, which has a well-known science faculty and the city is a typical university town, so lots of opportunities to socialise. As it was more than an hour away from where my parents lived, I moved to Groningen to a house I shared with two other students. I really enjoyed the responsiblilities that came with living on my own and be able to do my own things. 

The beginning of my study was really hard. The increased pace was something I had to get used to and I had to do a lot more revision and private study time. I showed me I had to work independently. During the first year I also had lots of practical courses in the lab which were a nice break from the theoretical subjects. During the first year I passed most of my exams, so I was confident that I could continue the complete course. After the second year we had to choose a specialism for which I picked Biochemistry as I was very interested in the chemistry of living things. During my specialism I did a 20 week practical which was very interesting and for which I had to write a full report. It also included a internship in Cambridge, where I was working in a lab or half a year. This was a unique opportunity as I got to work in a lab which was run by a Nobel prize winner! Also, living abroad for half a year made me realise there is more to the world than the Netherlands. Even so that after I got my degree I decided to come back to the UK and do my PhD at Queen Mary University of London.

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