International students start a whole new journey when they arrive in The Netherlands: a new country, new city, new university, and a whole broach of other new experiences are waiting for you when you land. While appreciating this is a very brave step in what will be an amazing journey, we do also know that the first couple of weeks can be overwhelming. Studies show that students wellbeing is coming under increased pressure and we at Saxion believe in a programme in which we can inspire, inform and empower all of our new students where we can. In the following passages we hear from two students, James from Physiotherapy and Daria from International Human Resource Management as they reflect on the challenges and support they had in their first 6 weeks at Saxion.
In the run up to restarting at Saxion, I wasn't nervous at all about the material as it was my second attempt so I felt very prepared.
'I knew the ins and outs of how Saxion worked and the only real difference this year would be the lack of covid and the possibility to get back into the classroom fully. I was a bit wary of the fact that online learning would be majorly reduced, so having to do schoolwork onsite surrounded by my peers was a bit daunting. The biggest challenges I faced was getting over my own self doubt on whether it was a good idea to continue or not. Having not reached the mark the previous year, I knew what to expect in terms of workload, but naturally doubted my own abilities when it came to getting the grades I needed to get. The course allowed me to get on and focus on the tasks at hand and gave me something to work towards. Along with this, the teachers and staff at Saxion who knew I was repeating also guided me where they could and helped me out with the particularly challenging aspects of the material in their classes. On the mental health side, my study counsellors and other staff I had known from the past year also reached out to me when they could to make sure I was okay.' - James said
For me I started as on online student because of coronavirus. I felt curious and anxious because it was a new stage of my life.
'I was curious about a new city, new country, new educational system and lots of new people! I was also quite anxious at the time about using my spoken English as I had not really had much experience up to that point. Once I started with Saxion on site, it was made quite clear what I could expect and what was expected of me. Online, the challenges I faced were around speaking up during the classes. If the session was being recorded or there was some awkward silences then it was uncomfortable. Onsite, I feel the biggest challenge I had in those first 6 weeks was connecting outside of the lecture hall. When we were in class it was necessary to talk and interact with people, but socializing and meeting with others outside of uni in my free time was a challenge too. Because I study IHRM, I found that the teachers and students around me were already quite people oriented. The teachers in particular knew that the change was quite scary for us and were quite supportive in that. When it came to assignments, in the first 6 weeks and beyond, they really made sure that we understood the materials and the procedures properly and also made it feel that all of our questions were valid. Also in my study, found the buddy system to be quite good support when I started at Saxion. It consisted of a once a week activity in a small group of classmates with an older buddy also studying IHRM. It allowed us to communicate with our peers and also have an outlet to ask questions we maybe didn’t want to ask our teachers. I was a bit superstitious about the online interaction in the beginning, but it became beneficial when I finally came to Saxion after covid because I had made connection with people already. I also liked the study counselling aspect of my course. Despite the fact it was mandatory, it was nice to have a member of staff I could confide in and ask questions when I needed to.' - Dasha shared
The First Six Weeks Programme at Saxion is designed in order to give all incoming first year students at Saxion, whether that be bachelor, master or exchange, a warm welcome when they arrive in the Netherlands and to kick-off with a positive mindset over the course of 6 weeks. It also gives us the chance to introduce other aspects of Saxion rather than just lecture halls and the library; allowing us to show off the great facilities of the Study Success Centre, the Green Office, the Diversity Office and more!
If you’re interested in learning more about the First Six Weeks Programme or would like to sign up, then check out the link here!