International student Greta studies Global Project and Change Management at HZ in Middelburg. "Everyone on the student campus and in the university is really kind and open-minded, therefore I felt at home quickly."

Why did you choose to study Global Project and Change Management?

"I chose Global Project and Change Management (GPCM) as it does not only give me an opportunity to study in English but also allows me to not restrict my curiosity to one academic field. The topics for the two theoretical years are water, energy, food, and vitality. In the first semester, we had courses like Project Management, Finance Fundamentals, and Leadership, but also Globalisation, Earth and Environment, and Research and Innovation.

The lessons are interactive with many kinds of assignments that need to be submitted, which gives this programme a good mixture of theory and practice. Additionally, I get the chance to broaden my horizons by studying and living with people from all over the world, as it is an international degree, which feels amazing."

Why did you choose HZ?

"I chose HZ University of Applied Sciences because it is an international university and there are many opportunities for extracurricular activities and engagement. HZ has an incredible number of international partner universities, and Middelburg (where I live) is simply a beautiful Dutch city (+ it’s close to the sea). Moreover, the building is very modern and is designed to make you feel at home. The approaches of the university are focused on practical learning, as well as growing with your own tasks."

How was the transition from your home country to the Netherlands?

"I expected the transition from leaving my home to moving to the Netherlands to be way more difficult. Personally, I was afraid of being on my own and struggling with finding new friends, but it was not a problem at all. I moved to the APV student housing in Middelburg, where all the students are very welcoming, and it is nearly impossible to not find any friends.

Additionally, any pre-concerns about language barriers (English is not my first language and I do not speak any Dutch) were taken away from me after the first days. On campus, as well as in my study programme, everyone speaks English and a good majority only know “Dank je wel” in Dutch, which means thank you.

Of course, there are always times that I am missing home, but that does not happen too often, as I am very happy here and most of the time I am way too busy to even think about home."

What is the most valuable part of your studies?

"Answering this question is difficult because for me there is not only one single valuable part about GPCM. Nevertheless, the interactive part this programme it offers is something that I enjoy a lot. It motivated me to stay focused in class and participate in the lectures.

Additionally, the variety of assignments we get is something that I really appreciate. There are always assignments that challenge you and you might dislike, but they also make you grow. Furthermore, the openness and adaptability of the professors is something very special in my eyes.

If you have a bad day, they will take you into consideration. If there are too many submissions in a week and the workload is too high, they are also prepared to adapt to the students. Here, a lot of value is placed on the development of each individual, which is why the relationship with the professors is very pleasant."

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What has been the most interesting project you have worked on

"As my first semester is just finished, the only project that I have worked on until now is a water project together with Rijkswaterstaat, which is the executive agency of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. They manage and develop the roads, inland waterways, and other bodies of water in the Netherlands, and are committed to creating a sustainable environment. Throughout the whole first semester, we were working in groups of students, with a client from Rijkswaterstaat, creating a Project Plan. Our theme was to free a lake (Verse Meer), which is located in the province of Zeeland, from its poor water quality by trying to break through its stratification. We learned how complex and lengthy the process of a project is by going through all the steps individually.

In the beginning, I was really overwhelmed with the topic and the assignment, as I did not have any prior knowledge on both, but working on the project step by step and with the help of the lectures as well as the clients, this challenge got more exciting and interesting every day. In the end, I can say that this project has enriched me a lot, not only on the topic of water but also on how projects are structured and how I conduct proper research."

What has been the highlight of your studies at HZ?

"The highlight of my studies at HZ is probably the international community and with that all the people I met during the last 4 months. Everyone on the student campus and in the university is really kind and open-minded, therefore I felt at home quickly.

This is also one of the reasons why I really enjoy going to university. Every day enriches me with new ways of thinking and surprising insights. Working together in a completely new environment gives me the opportunity to develop my knowledge, but also myself personally, in a way that would not have been possible in my usual environment."

What would you like to do after graduation?

"As I am only in my first year, I am not sure what I want to do after my studies exactly. I would say either a master’s degree in sustainability or searching for a first job. At the moment, I could imagine this job to be in a non-governmental organisation or somewhere I can work with sustainability in projects. For example, we had a guest lecture with someone working on projects with island sustainability, which I thought sounded really fascinating."

What would your advice be to a student applying to HZ?

"International students: don’t be afraid to move to another country on your own! Be aware and open about being confronted with divers’ assignments (theoretical and practical) and a lot of interactivity in class. Even though GPCM does not have any classic exams, the workload is quite intense."

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