International student Simeon completes Civil Engineering in 3 years
After your pre-university diploma in Bulgaria, why did you choose for Civil Engineering at a University of Applied Sciences?
“For me it was clear that I wanted to develop myself on the practical aspect of Civil Engineering. I think it suits me a bit better than the theoretical side. Besides that, the practical knowledge gives you a good base, whether you decide to study further or start to work. The 3-year track at HZ was also a big advantage for me. It gives me the possibility to start working earlier, which I think is very interesting.”
How did you find out about the possibility of the 3-year track?
“My study coach at HZ showed me that I could study at HZ in 3 years instead of 4. Together we checked if everything was suitable, and it was. Then I decided to go ahead with it.”
How did you experience the shortened track?
“For me it worked out well. I didn’t experience a lot of difficulties which I can relate to the 1 year missing out. Only at my graduation internship I found out that I needed to research some things I may have missed. Anyhow, I was able to catch up. At the end of the day, I think every student will be able to keep up when facing certain difficulties.”
Can you tell us about your graduation internship?
“In the first place, it was quite a challenge finding a suitable graduation internship. But I did manage to find one. And now there’s a high possibility that I start my job there, after graduating. They’ve offered me a traineeship where I work in different departments of the company for three months each. After that, I can decide where I want to stay. I really like this to happen. It would be a great opportunity which I don’t want to miss.”
Do you like working with so many international students?
“I think it’s fun. The cultural differences make it very interesting to work together. Despite the differences, we are always able to team up and to work hard. Most of the time, I was the team leader, so I had the responsibility to make sure that everything was well organised. I must say I felt lucky with the overall character of the group. Sometimes I had to push really hard, even though people were generally not lazy.”
When you decided to study abroad, why did you choose for the Netherlands?
“Studying in the Netherlands was relatively cheap, compared to other places and I felt that the Dutch education is very well organised. The people in general looked nice and open-minded. I had spoken to several people who have studied in the Netherlands, and they could confirm this. They told me as an example that there are a lot of coaches and other people who can help you during your study.”
And how do you experience living in the province Zeeland, near the sea?
“Vlissingen is a nice place to live and Zeeland is a beautiful region. Especially in spring and summer. In winter it can be cold, windy and quiet. So it’s good to have some friends and fellow students around in those months.”
Why did you choose for Civil Engineering?
“I have always been interested in the technical side of things. My father has a company in this industry, so he took me there a lot when I was young. As a kid, I played a lot with Lego and was always busy building things. That interest has always remained. So when the time arrived to choose a study, it was quite clear for me that it would be something like Civil Engineering.”
What were the most interesting projects?
“We had a lot of different project, as a group. It varies from designing a bridge or a harbour to an energy island. Those assignments combine a lot of different disciplines. I think they were very cool projects.”
Do you work a lot with actual companies and organisations?
“Yes, which is a big plus. We often had to present our work to companies or we had to do a tender in front of the direction of a company. And we had a lot of guest lectures. You can ask questions for things that you can’t find on the internet.”
Do you have any good advice for international students coming to the Netherlands?
“My biggest advice is to have a clear plan before you start. Know what you want to do and what you need to do, so you keep in track from the beginning. Secondly, make sure you socialise and make friends, so you can count on other students. Lastly, be proactive and show that you want to work. People notice that and will appreciate you more.”
So when a Bulgarian friend is thinking about studying abroad …
“Then I can highly recommend it. It’s the perfect way to learn, meet people from all nationalities and get out of your comfort zone.”
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