Studying abroad is a challenge that not many people are willing to accept. Once alternatives are evaluated, and the list of possible options has been narrowed down to a few reputable institutions, that promise you bright future and fun student life, it comes the time to scrutinize the options more carefully and decide which program suits you best. There will always be positive and negative aspects, however, it is up to you to decide whether the importance of all pros outweighs the cons. English-taught programs at University of Applied Sciences Utrecht will be the main focus of this blog post which aims to provide enough detail for you to make an informed and confident choice for a study program.
One of the main points, that is been consistently emphasized in every advertising material informing prospective students about the English-taught programs at HU, is the international aspect of the program. The idea of offering international programs is not only to bring together students from every corner of the world, teach them to work in groups and tackle differences while having fun and exploring diverse cultures. The idea is to prepare these same students for a world that is gradually becoming more and more global. Some of the main factors influencing this are the advances of transportation nowadays and the internet.
The globalization of the world, although a positive change, poses some challenges that only people with certain mindset are ready to face. For example, multinational corporations, who are managing culturally diverse workforce, expect from their employees to be flexible, broad-minded and tolerant with one another. This is something that can only be achieved with experience. Therefore, at Hogeschool Utrecht students are urged to go for an exchange semester abroad and/or do an internship in a different country. This equips students with skills and knowledge that many other study programs struggle to offer. Further advantage is that with the help of this international experience students become more flexible and comfortable with change.
Currently the following English-taught programs with emphasis on the international aspect are offered at HU.
The following two sections discuss these two programs more in detail. Students who are currently enrolled were asked to provide some insights and to outline the pros and cons of choosing each program. HU offers Teacher Education in English and German, but these programs are not discussed in this blog post. Further information about them could be found here.
International Business and Management Studies targets young people who are eager to learn more about marketing, sales, business logistics and management. This 4 year program offers two internships, an exchange semester and a possible specialization in International Marketing, Finance or Management. More ambitious students could also sign up for a fast-track IBMS program and graduate within three years. People willing to invest more time and effort could try the first-year challenge program or Top class in the second year. Both of these options require additional selection procedure, thus only people with outstanding grades are admitted. If students complete the program successfully they receive a recommendation letter from the HU Board of Directors.
The first year of IBMS serves as a wide foundation on which students can build their further knowledge. Subjects such as international law, economics, business administration and marketing are introduced. As the topics covered in this program are quite broad, during the second study year, students can choose their specialization and follow a specific route of the program. During that same year, students need to complete an 11 weeks mandatory internship. In the third study year, an exchange program takes place. Some of the many possible destinations are The US, New Zealand and South Korea. Often the study abroad semester is regarded as one of the most enriching experiences for students. After the exchange semester, students come back to Utrecht and continue to follow their specialization route. Year 4 starts with two blocks of school which further equip students with knowledge and understanding of marketing, management or finance. The second part of the year is planned for a second mandatory internship during which students write their graduation assignment.
Yoanna Kapetanidou is a fourth year IBMS student coming from Bulgaria. Below is her list with Pros and Cons of choosing IBMS:
– Two mandatory internships that helped me gain experience in the desired field.
– An option to go for an exchange semester in South Korea
– Small classes and very easily accessible teachers
– Numerous projects simulating real business situations
– It is a very demanding program. The study load requires investment of quite some time
– Sometimes slow pace of bureaucracy. Arrangement of internship and exchange semester took extra time
– Excessive Pressure and sometimes short deadlines for assignments
However, I’ve always thought I made the right decision to come study at HU. There’s no better feeling than knowing you passed all your courses at the end of a tough block.
International Communication and Media is another English-taught program, offered at Hogeschool Utrecht that targets young people from all over the world who are passionate to learn more about communication, digital media, marketing and intercultural matters. This 4 year program provides a chance for young people to do an exchange semester and/or an internship abroad. It also offers a specialization in the area of marketing communication, intercultural communication and media technology.
During the first year of ICM, students have a chance to familiarize themselves with the different topics of the program and to identify their own strong and weak points. Some of the courses taking part in the first year are Mass Communication, Consumer Behavior and Journalistic writing as well as some exciting projects. These courses aim to introduce the students to the program and show them what they can expect in the next years.
During year 2, students can specialize in a particular area of interest and follow a specific route. This helps students deepen their knowledge on a chosen topic and develop skills that are necessary for their future career. In year 3 and 4, further experience is gained through exchange semester and an internship. Similar to IBMS, students have the opportunity to go to many different countries with partner universities. The internship is a compulsory part of the curriculum and an extremely enriching experience for the students. During the final 4th year students gain more knowledge on the chosen specialization route and are required to carry out research on a specific topic and write an exhaustive report as a graduation assignment. Students can choose whether to do independent research or graduate in a company. Here you can find a table summing up student’s satisfaction with ICM.
Andrea Márki is a Hungarian student currently enrolled in year 4 of the ICM program at HU. Below is her list of pros and cons:
– Study content is interesting and fun
– I study together with students and teachers from over 70 countries
– Three different routes allow me to focus on the area I find more interesting, and that in my case is marketing
– The internship and the exchange semester added value to my CV
– The program is constantly changing its structure by adding new subjects and omitting others
– We had an opportunity to study a language for only one year. Now it is not possible at all
– I wish some courses like E-Marketing were already introduced during my first year instead of year 4.
The ICM program is so popular for a reason. The knowledge gained is applicable in many emerging professional fields and I’m confident I can easily find a job with a degree from HU.
As scary as it is, the final decision is always yours. Every single one of the options on your list will have some pros and cons. The idea of this post was to shed some light on some of the benefits of studying at Hogeschool Utrecht, but also to show what problems could be encountered. The main point of both international programs is to equip students with the necessary knowledge and skills for their future career. It is up to you to evaluate the information above and make a decision. If any further questions arise, please leave a comment below. Share the blogpost with your friends on Facebook or Twitter who are also in the process of choosing a study program. Any feedback is also welcome.