Ibrahim studies Civil Engineering at HZ in Middelburg. He is taking the 3-year route because of his pre-university diploma. "The programme gave me a very good base to start working, which I can tell from experience now."

How did the 3-year track of Civil Engineering cross your way?

“Actually, it was a nice surprise. While looking at the content of the programme on the website of HZ, I saw they offered a fast track because of my pre-university diploma. The structure of the 3 -year track looked really great. And it gave me the possibility to start working one year earlier.”

At that time, did you have any doubts about studying one year shorter?

“For me, it felt like the right thing to do. I was aware that I would miss some parts of the 4-year curriculum. On the other hand, finishing one year earlier brought me an extra year of working experience, which is also very valuable. Looking back, I think I managed to compensate the parts that I missed quite well.”

Why did you focus on an applied university instead of a research university?

“I was mostly interested in the practical approach of studying Civil Engineering. Besides the theoretical knowledge, it teaches you to work within a team and in a working environment. It’s the kind of experience that you can implement directly once you start working."

Did you have the feeling that the 3-year track made it harder to keep up?

“I didn’t experience a lot of extra difficulties. Of course, I missed out on some lectures, but I compensated that by choosing a minor that had more or less similar courses. And in the final thesis, we had to complete some extra work to fulfil all the needed competences.”

Looking back, are you happy you made the choice for the 3-year track?

“Yes, I am. The programme gave me a very good base to start working, which I can tell from experience now. I think every student has to decide for themselves, if the benefits of the 3-year track are worth the 1 year missing out.”

Why did you choose for Civil Engineering?

“I’ve always wanted to be an engineer, although during high school I wasn’t really sure about the exact direction. I was looking at several programmes in the Netherlands, because that was the country where I wanted to study. I came across Civil Engineering at HZ, which had a lot of similarities with the subjects that I find interesting, like Geometry. That’s where it’s started.”

Why were you especially looking for studies in the Netherlands?

“Many friends from my old high school have studied in the Netherlands, so I heard a lot of good stories about the country. Not only about the educational system, but also about the people and the way they are welcoming international students. I had the feeling that everything was very well organized and that the education offers many opportunities.”

Did you like living in Vlissingen?

“For me, Vlissingen is a pleasant and not too busy city. If you like peace and quiet places like me, I can certainly recommend it. The fact that the sea and the beach are so near is also a great advantage.”

How did you experience working with Dutch and international students?

“In the beginning, it was a bit difficult for all of us because of the English terminology of Civil Engineering. But we all adapted sooner than we thought. I noticed that all international students bring their own English accent from their countries, which sometimes was a bit confusing at the start, haha. But I soon noticed that the mutual understanding was getting better and better.”

As an international student, did you feel that you were being helped by finding your way around?

“I was very positive about the organization of the programme as well as the lectures. The communication was very good, so we always knew what is happening when something changed. The lecturers were always happy to help me when I had questions. For me as an international student, it had a big impact on my integration at HZ. And it made me feel very welcome.”

Read more about Civil Engineering and the 3-year track