Haiyi Ma (马海燚) - ICT & Software Engineering
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What do you study or which study did you complete?
ICT software engineering.
What is the difference between studying in your home country and the Netherlands?
Here in the Netherlands, you can have much more flexibility in your study. Besides your obligatory courses, you can freely choose courses from other directions to expand your knowledge. Within each course, the requirements are also flexible. Except the flexibility within your direction, if you do not like one direction, you can follow your interest and switch to a new one until you find which direction is most suitable for you, even among different departments.
Besides the flexibility, the Dutch education requires much more group work than that in China. During group work, you can learn more knowledge from other students. Also you can practice your communication skills and get to know people of different nationalities which is fun.
In the Netherlands, the classes are organised in a relatively smaller scale. That means each student can spend more time with teachers learning knowledge. Also in class, there is more interaction between teachers and students, the atmosphere is lively and less stressed.
Did you find it difficult to study in English?
When I first arrived, it was difficult. But after a few months, I just started plain sailing. It does not take long.
How would you describe your relationship with your teachers?
Very good. The teachers are helpful and very nice to students.
What’s it like to study with students of different nationalities and the Dutch students?
It is sometimes challenging but very exciting in general. Slowly after you cooperate with different students, you understand how to work with different groups and also know your weakness. That is helpful for self-growth.
What are the cultural differences between your home country and the Netherlands?
The biggest difference I have found is that it is so individual here in the Netherlands, but it is not a problem for studying, friendly people and group work can help communicate. Also the food here is quite different, of course. People here have different ways of entertainment on the weekends or on holiday.
What’s it like to be so far away from home?
I started living alone relatively early so I do not suffer from home sickness that much. However, living alone far away means you need to take care of yourself much more than at home with parents’ help. Also sometimes you need to deal with cultural difference.
What do you miss most from home?
The food definitely.
What makes studying in the Netherlands special?
Studying here is really helpful for becoming an international person. Because there are many nationalities here in the Netherlands, especially Fontys, you can learn how to work with people from other parts of the worlds. You can also improve your language skills a lot.
What do you do besides studying?
Personally I like to do sports, go party, and travel besides studying. It is easy to have a sports card in the sport center. Also when you have a long weekends or holiday, flying to neighbour countries or even farther-away countries within EU is very easy.
What would you recommend students looking for an education abroad?
I will recommend student to be sure of their strength and weaknesses, find a suitable study for themselves without regretting.
What are your plans when you finish your study?
I plan to go to work after my study, also travel the world as much as possible when I have time.
What do you like best about your time in the Netherlands/at Fontys?
The part I like most is that it is a very international country, you can find many nationalities here working or studying. People here are friendly, too. So I feel very happy to live here. In studying at Fontys, I really like the flexibility in almost everything. Besides that, I also like the up-to-date study programme, following the fast changing trends, Fontys tries to update the curriculum, which is very nice.
Haiyi Ma, People's Republic of China,
ICT & Software Engineering.