Why did you choose the Global Project and Change Management study programme at HZ?

"The study programme actually came at the right time. When I started my orientation in HAVO 4, this study did not yet exist, but I was looking for it. I have had a broad interest in politics, sociology and philosophy since secondary school, but I also find scientific subjects interesting. I was looking for a practice-oriented programme where these worlds meet. When HZ started the GPCM programme, it caught my attention. At the first introduction, it was clear that this would be the right fit for me. Everything I was looking for in a study programme was in here."

Why does the study programme suit you so well, apart from your interests?

"Global Project and Change Management matches the way I like to learn. You have a lot of freedom as a group and as individuals to shape the way you work. It does not compare to the traditional way of education, where you sit in a classroom, take a test at the end of the course and either pass or fail. You take courses, participate in projects and there is a lot of room for discussion and feedback. We don't take tests either, but we have a portfolio, in which you reflect on your work and yourself. For example, by means of writing an essay or making a vlog. The study programme is mainly about your personal and professional development over the longer term. Not about whether you can pass an exam tomorrow by changing an answer that you answered wrongly today. That, in my opinion, is how a university of applied sciences should work."

What kind of skills do you learn at GPCM?

"At GPCM, you study sustainability topics from many different disciplines. Economical, historical, technological, political, sociological. But equally philosophical. At the same time, it is an education for doers. That is why there is a lot of focus on project management, innovative thinking, leadership, change management, and those kinds of themes. I think the subject Leadership is really cool, because it enriches you as a person. Sometimes we deal with our role within the context of the group. Other times we do tai-chi, yoga, have discussions, or watch documentaries. Such a subject may sound a bit vague, but it is a really valuable and important subject."

Can you tell us something about your Inspirational Fridays?

"On Fridays, we don't have classes within GPCM, but fill the day as a group ourselves. At the beginning of the year, we collectively made a selection of ideas and projects to carry out each semester. You are completely free to decide what you want to do. We organised a clothes swap followed by a documentary and discussion on fast fashion. But we also organised beach clean-ups and a field trip to Amsterdam. It is cool to see how motivated the group is to fill these free moments with as much value as possible. We are really free to do as we please, so there is plenty of room for manoeuvring, yet we are very much on the same page."

What qualities does a GPCM student need in your opinion?

"Besides a broad global perspective, it is important that you are motivated. This is also made clear beforehand. You need to participate in conversations, and take part in the discussions. The study programme may come across as more 'free' than, say, Engineering. But that is mainly due to the space in which you can think and create. The programme really requires doers. It is also important that you are sociable, can work well together and are open to other people’s ways of thinking."

What are the broad outlines of the 4-year programme?

"The first two years are divided into four themes. Water, energy, food, and vitality. In these, you work on interesting projects as a group. In your third year, you complete a minor and a six-month internship. The programme urges you to choose to go abroad. There you will enrich your knowledge and worldview and discover new things. In your fourth year, you specialise in a field of your choice with various courses. You will work with your fellow students on an innovative project or product for a better world. Finally, you choose a graduation internship."

GPCM is a fairly broad study programme. Where does your interest lie?

"I am particularly interested in social and philosophical themes. I find it interesting to study the ideologies of different groups of people. But I also have a keen interest in fashion. Both in clothing styles and materials and the system behind it. Slow fashion instead of fast fashion, for example. On the job market, GPCM takes you in many directions. Every organisation has a Sustainability department these days. But you can also think about setting up your own company. But I have only just started, so I am keeping all options open."

Why does the world need GPCM students according to you?

"Problems like climate change, energy transition or food shortage are too complex to solve from one expertise. You need experts from all relevant fields, as well as professionals who can bring these people together and get them to work together. To do that well, you don't need to be a specialist in each field, but you do need to understand the context. GPCM trains you to be a creative thinker. You learn a lot about leadership, management, and how to initiate change."

What have you found most valuable within your education so far?

"Personally, I have learned a lot from the feedback I get on my projects. Both from teachers and fellow students. Even though we have only just started, I have really already taken some of that with me. Thanks to that feedback, I now pay more attention to my communication within a group, for example. I can sometimes come across too strongly. That may be very Dutch. It is not meant to be blunt, but it can come across that way to someone. Especially with sensitive topics, this directness can sometimes be counterproductive. This training teaches you to be aware of how you come across to others. And how to deal with that in the best possible way."

Do you learn a lot from your fellow students in this programme?

"Absolutely. You can approach the assignments very broadly and creatively. Everyone has a different perspective with new ideas. You can agree or disagree, it doesn't matter. But you also see a lot of difference in the way students design their final products. Some express themselves artistically or graphically. Digital art, a poster, or an artistic mind map. I myself, for example, used poetry during the Leadership course to reflect on myself. There are all kinds of ways to highlight a subject. I think it is very cool that there is room for that within this programme."

And what if you are less creative?

"It is very valuable if you possess a creative way of thinking, or that you can communicate it creatively. But the idea of this course is not that you have to possess all the important qualities in the world. Nobody is great at everything. It is also in knowing where others can complement you and vice versa. You never work alone on a project, so being able to work well together is of much more importance. And having the motivation to learn the things the other person brings to you."

GPCM is an international study programme. Did you have to get used to studying in English?

"No, for me English is quite natural. I grew up with it through online, movies, gaming, books, you name it. For students for whom English is a bit more of a challenge: there are courses to take your English to a higher level. Also, your level goes up very quickly because you are constantly speaking and reading English."

What gives you energy within your study programme?

"A lot of things. The interaction with fellow students and lecturers, but also the freedom to continuously take on new challenges. Through courses, but also by being a member of the University Council or the programme committee. It is very cool to keep on challenging yourself beyond the boundaries of your study programme. I always try to look for challenges to learn things. I can recommend that to every student."

Read more about the Global Project and Change Management study programme at HZ