Student Niels

Student experience

I’m helping make life better for people who are deaf and blind. It’s a fascinating learning process.Niels van Berkel, student Human Media Interaction

Why did you choose this Master’s programme?

After rounding off my Bachelor’s at a university of applied sciences, I felt the need to learn more. I wanted to explore my subjects in greater depth and hone my academic skills. With this aim in mind I started looking around for Master’s programmes in Human Media Interaction. I wanted to know exactly what was required of me in terms of taking extra courses to gain admission. I found out everything I could about the curriculum and at the Open Day I saw a couple of brief demonstrations by various fields within HMI. It all left me feeling very positive!

Why did you opt for the University of Twente?

My final choice was determined by a number of different factors:

  1. The focus of the teaching and research at the HMI group;
  2. The atmosphere at Twente and its unique campus setting;
  3. Appealing projects that reflected my own interests;
  4. The opportunity to choose my own area of focus: once you have mastered the basics you go on to complete an assignment or a small research project on a topic that really interests you.

How do you like Human Media Interaction so far?

I’m enjoying the programme a lot and I’m still happy with my choice. The professors provide good supervision and the varied curriculum makes for a healthy mix of lectures, group assignments and individual study. It’s easy to approach lecturers with any questions. I feel committed to the work of the research group and have the chance to participate in interesting projects. For example, I have carried out research into possible modes of tactile communication between people who are deaf and blind and their helpers. This can contribute to making their lives better. It’s a fascinating learning experience to be working on something this rewarding in the course of my studies.

What does your week look like?

I attend lectures where the course content is explained and then it’s up to me to get to grips with it, either independently or as part of a small group of students. We also have project-based subjects in which you collaborate with fellow students (either from HMI or another programme) in a project room or at the library. And of course I also do a fair bit of studying at home, from preparing for a research project to designing and programming for an assignment.

Of course, there’s more to life than studying! There’s always something happening on campus and there are all kinds of sports facilities. You can usually find me out running on the track or playing on one of the nearby basketball courts. I spend quite a bit of time relaxing or taking part in activities with my housemates and some evenings I meet up with fellow students to work on a couple of projects of our own: the learning curve can be steep sometimes but the mood is relaxed and informal.

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