Interview with Daian Saman, alumni Educational Science and Technology
Why study abroad in Enschede
Daian studied Computer Science at the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education in Veracruz during her Bachelor years. After graduation a lot of her schoolmates wanted to go abroad, just like Daian, and chose a university in Great Britain or the United States of America. Not Daian, she wanted to visit a country where the inhabitants spoke English besides their native tongue. So, after a thorough search she decided for the University of Twente in Enschede. Not only because of the language, but also because the programmes and the ranking position of the university as well.
At the University of Twente she got into the Master programme Educational Science and Technology (EST) in 2011. Daian explains her choice of MSc: ‘I wanted to improve the use of technology in schools, especially in primary and secondary schools. After my technical bachelor (BSc. in Computer Systems Engineering), I wanted a change. Working with people appealed to me as well. This programme gave me the opportunity to use my technical background in a new, non-technical, environment.’
Change of scenery: Mexico City vs Enschede
Coming to Enschede was exciting and challenging at the same time. ‘I was used to the hustle and bustle of Mexico-city with its lively streets, the busy people, high apartment buildings, etc. Enschede was totally different: fresh air, a lot of cows in meadows and safe to travel by bicycle because of the bicycle roads. A challenge was to feel at home in my new country. I lived on campus and that was really nice. A lot was happening on campus where you could participate in. But to get to know the Dutch was a bit challenging. This took a while, I did not feel very welcome at first. But after a few months I found my way. I participated in organizations as La Voz (Latin society), Foton (photography club), Arabesque (dance society), Dimensie (student association of EST). Via Dimensie I was involved in the Kick In (welcoming student at their new university). This gave me more insight in the Dutch and I got to know students of other programmes. The University of Twente is a multi-cultural environment, so English is the main language, and learning Dutch opens many opportunities.’
What characterizes EST students?
Daian answers the question: ‘All EST students want to improve the world through education. The main challenge in this programme is the complexity of social science. There are not laws (like in Physics or other technical studies), you deal with people and no one is the same. So you experience the complexity of personalities, different cultures, variation in schools, etc. All in all, you want to create a better system that works for the schools, their pupils and teachers. You learn a way of thinking and implementing basic concepts and theories. Because of the influence of technology and the aforementioned complexity in our daily lives, the concepts and theories needs adjusting continuously. My MSc programme gave me the tools and principles to work with, made me an expert to adjust those basics and implement them into new concepts and theories to use in my job.’
Daian had a dream to improve the use of technology in schools and how people are involved in these improvements. But because she did not mastered the Dutch language this was not possible. But maybe something to think about in the future. Her career started after graduation with an employment within an educational publishing house. After that she worked at Shell as a Learning Events Management Coordinator and in May 2016 she decided for a change. Philips Lightning is her current employer and she fulfills a job as a Digital Learning Specialist. ‘I am testing new learning technologies and how these can be implemented within the workplace. We are looking for new ways of learning, new methodologies and tools to improve the performance of employees. Our final goal is to change behaviour’, Daian explains. She continues: ‘Innovation and technology are constantly changing. People who work with those innovations or technology need to adapt. Not everyone is always that happy to change their working method. But as technology is part of almost every job, it is important that this technology is user friendly and it supports the people who are involved. This makes behavioural change necessary!’
Tips for future students
Daian would advise every student to be curious and get all out of life – or student life – which is possible. Daian: ‘Do not only accept the usual, but try to increase your knowledge. In classes you learn the necessary tools you will need in a job but getting involved in student boards or committees provides you with soft skills that you do not learn in a classroom. Your personal development is in your own hands. Participation in different kinds of associations not only gives you extra knowledge and skills but your group of friends might increase as well. A typical win win situation’.