Hizirwan Salim

The Netherlands

Hizirwan Salim is a 19-year-old Biomedical Technology student who started at University of Twente in September 2015. He took a selfie and participated in the T-shirt contest with a story to tell. Find out more about his story below.


"I attended several University of Twente Open Days and really liked it here”, says Hizirwan. "The small-scale approach, the fact that everyone knows each other by name, teachers’ doors are almost always open and the informal atmosphere at the university appealed to the prospective student. “I just felt like I had to go to this university, and I do not regret my decision at all”, says Hizirwan.

Hizirwan continues: “my degree programme was not at all like I had imagined, but that’s not a bad thing in the slightest! In fact, it’s a really good thing. I started the degree programme with an open mind and I’m really enjoying it. I like the way the programme is organized and the projects we have to do truly exceed my expectations.”

One of our assignments was about repairing a fracture and how to deal with that as a team. “During the module you learn about anatomy, mechanical engineering, imaging and materials science. When you buckle down and get to work on a project with your fellow students, it soon becomes clear to you that you need these subjects in order to achieve a good result”, says Hizirwan. He goes on to say that “You have to take all the conditions into account, you have to do everything you can to avoid further damage to the bone and you have to find the right solution for the patient. The only way to achieve this is by using all the expertise, skill and technology at your disposal. You’re a part of a team, working towards a common goal, and that’s really inspiring”. He and his team conducted market research and are now ready to approach patients and doctors. “In two weeks time, we would like to be able to offer a solution that is superior to existing solutions used by medical staff to treat these types of fractures, and I hope we find a way”, continues Hizirwan.

What is the biggest difference between life before university and your life as a student?

“Compared to people who come to the Netherlands to study, my life has not changed that much”, says Hizirwan. The biomedical technology student is from Almere and is only moving to another province. He continues: “there are still differences between life as a secondary school pupil and student life, though. In secondary school, I never took part in any extracurricular activities, so that has definitely changed. In addition to programme contact hours, you also attend lectures in the evenings on subjects relating to your field of study or you take part in activities organized by your student association. How cool is that?! Living in student accommodation is also a lot of fun. I share a house with some wonderful flatmates and we do a lot of things together. It’s completely different to living at home with your parents. Of course that’s nice too, but it’s really completely different. I love it here!”

What’s the story behind your selfie? Can you explain why you chose this one?

Hizirwan took part in the t-shirt contest and submitted a selfie with a robot arm photoshopped into the picture. Hizirwan explains his selfie: “I thought the biomedical technology programme would have a certain ‘human touch’, and I wanted to show this by including a futuristic element. That is why I used the robot arm.” The young student was not able to develop a robot arm in his first year at the University of Twente, but there will be plenty of opportunities in the years to come. Of course researchers at the university are working on perfecting the way a robot arm functions, of which Professor Peter Veltink’s programme is a great example. Hizirwan’s photo shows a prototype being developed by the UT in collaboration with Imperial College London.

What would you like to achieve during your time at the UT?

“I’ve only just started my Bachelor’s degree programme and I have a long way to go”, is Hizirwan’s answer. He continues by saying “Biomedical Technology is a broad discipline and I have to explore it first before I decide on an area in which to specialize. The technology is of course very interesting, but so is the social aspect of this field. Of course you can also go in the direction of e-health, which also appeals to me. There will be an e-health MOOC at the University of Twente soon that I have signed up for. I’m excited to learn more about that particular field”. “I’m not sure yet what the future holds for me, and I still have to find my way and find out what I want. In addition to studying, I would also like to actively participate in university life. I am a member of BMT student association Paradoks and would like to organize group activities next year. I think that would also be very interesting and educational.”

Hizirwan concludes by saying: “In short, there is a lot for me to learn, discover and do before graduating. After that...we’ll just have to wait and see what exciting things I can bring to the world!”