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[2/4] Second Year - Preparing for Study Abroad

Study abroad is an integral semester in the ATLAS curriculum. Students are highly encouraged to take on this opportunity and most are eager to do so. But studying in another country requires preparation and thought. In this article, the process undergone by second-year students will be outlined as they prepare their choices and options for the fifth semester in another country.

The first key event happens after the end of the first semester already, since that is when the oldest cohort returns from their semester abroad. This is a great time to consider which countries might be interesting. Can you withstand the cold winter months in Norway and Finland? Or would you like to experience the fast-paced big city life in Seoul Korea? Speaking to older students about not only their experiences but also reasons for their choices can be beneficial when considering your academic profile. Speaking with your mentor is also a great option. That is because choosing a university is not only about the country it is in but also the programme it offers and potentially the universities field of research and expertise.

At this point though you are still in your first year, getting used to ATLAS and usually still without a specific academic direction. Therefore any thoughts and insights gained then are beneficial, but far from final decisions. In your second year, the real process begins. Study abroad fairs and meetings with the coordinator become routine, trying to cover the long list of partnership opportunities, understand which are options for you and which courses you could take there. By the end, you must submit a list of your top 6 choices. 

Once you have ranked your choice, you wait. You wait to receive an email that the UT has chosen to nominate you to a university on your list. Once you receive this confirmation including the university you were chosen for, the application process can begin. This varies depending on the host university, but it typically includes a motivation letter and a list of the courses you would like to enrol in. Meeting with academic advisors and other staff members specialized in the field you aspire to work in can be a lot of help in making educated, well-considered decisions. Once the application is complete and you have been officially accepted, you can begin preparing for your exciting semester!

What if you do not want to study abroad though, what are the other options? Following a minor at the UT or other Dutch university is always an option. A minor is a specific selection of courses that fit together. These also require an application procedure, but it is mostly less extensive and there are a lot of great options out there. Choosing a minor in the Netherlands is required either way as a plan B option should the study abroad fall through.

If you have the option to stay in the Netherlands why go abroad? Especially students for whom the Netherlands already classifies as abroad? For one, ATLAS encourages students to discover new countries and cultures, but this should not be the priority, because travelling is always an equivalent to this. Studying abroad opens up the selection of potential universities to a larger range, which is important for your academic goals. Different universities are strong faculties, courses, research opportunities etc. and can help you either broaden or specify your profile. For example, selecting a university with a strong industrial design programme may outweigh the question to study in Spain or Sweden, if it has the necessary prerequisites for the masters programme you are looking into. Either way though, it is your choice as the student how and where you spend this semester. What you should know, is that the UT offers a variety of options, so you can find the one most suitable to you!

University College Twente offers a unique bachelor’s programme, Technology, Liberal, Arts and Sciences, to top students. Visit the University College Twente website for more information about the college and Technology, Liberal, Arts and Sciences website for more information about the bachelor program. Or visit us during the open day, a student-for-a-day or an insight-day.

Grace Wachter
Writer, Class of 2021
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