Dutch Teaching Style

Here in Dutch universities, once you're in, you get to decide where to go and what you want to be.
Posted by Phuu Thit Kyaw
From Myanmar

Disclaimer - This blog is all about my time as a master's student; things might be a bit different for those in the bachelor's zone.

Dutch teaching style will prove to you that Shakespeare is right. Because, here in Dutch universities, once you're in, you get to decide where to go and what you want to be. So, the first thing after getting in is creating your own study plan. There are some rules to follow, but you're the captain of this ship. You pick courses that fit your thesis, and it's your job to design what your study journey looks like. Sure, there's a study advisor to help with questions, but in the end, the decisions are all yours.

Inside the class, it's not about memorizing everything the teacher says. It's about understanding and using what you learn. Questions are encouraged, and you're expected to jump into discussions. It's not just lectures; you also have tutorials and practicals each week. These are times to practice what you've learned with your classmates.

When it's exam time, don't expect easy questions. They want to know if you really get it. The grading scale is from 0 to 10, and if you score at least 5.5, you're good. Passing isn't a walk in the park, though. Another thing you will learn is that the written exam is not everything, because there will definitely be other tasks, such as essay writing, that will be counted for your grade. Sometimes, you might not pass. People say it’s not the end of the world. I've been there, and yes, it feels like everything stops, but the good news is it stops only for a bit. Because you can bounce back. You are provided ways. There's something called a resit exam. You don't have to redo the whole course, just the parts you missed. You also get to see what you got wrong in your graded paper, learn from it, and have another shot at the exam. Trust me, you'll find the energy to rise again.

In this second year (if your master is designed for two years), the responsibility and autonomy you've experienced in the first year reach new heights. It's a year of self-discovery, where your academic and professional identity takes shape through the lens of your thesis and internship experiences. Embrace the challenges, relish the freedom to choose, and make the most of this transformative journey. The second year is not just an extension; it's an opportunity to culminate your master's experience with a project and an experience uniquely tailored to your aspirations.

Understanding the Dutch teaching style provides insight into what you can anticipate from your educational journey and what is expected from you. The Dutch teaching style is not just about education; it's a gateway to personal and academic growth. So, if the idea of studying in the Netherlands is on your radar, why not make it happen and step into a world where your education becomes a collaborative journey, and every experience shapes not only what you learn but who you become.

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