Hi! My name is Joeri van Leeuwen, I am a third-year student. I am doing my minor in Wageningen. My minor consists of a mixture of consumer behavior and marketing courses. I want to introduce everybody to choosing a minor the right way and if an exchange is a good choice or not.
You might be thinking; why are you doing your minor in Wageningen? Isn’t that in the middle of nowhere? Why would you spend your time there? This is a funny story, actually. I, like most of my classmates, wanted to go on an exchange during the minor period. Let me first warn you: arranging an exchange is a LOT of work. And I mean a LOT. Before your exchange, you have to decide if you want to pursue a minor with courses you really enjoy or if you want to experience a period abroad. Combining an international exchange with courses you really prefer is possible, but difficult.
I wanted to go on an exchange, but I absolutely wanted to do a minor in consumer behavior and marketing. Because I had these preferences, I could only go to Kaunas in Lithuania (famous for its water reservoir!), a village in Portugal, and Brno, Czech Republic. Definitely not my most preferred places in the world. I decided Brno was the most acceptable option of the three, so I tried arranging an exchange to Brno (yes, I know that’s a bad attitude towards an exchange, but I really wanted to go on exchange). When I finally completed all the paperwork, I checked if the courses are still offered coming year. A week before the exchange was formalised, I looked at the courses again. The courses I wanted to do would only be offered in Czech the coming year. What an extreme disappointment; a massive bitter pill (Dutch-English, I hope you all get it!)
But dispite my dissapointment, I realized something. I evaded a half-year of being in Brno taking courses I wasn’t interested in! The message here is that you shouldn’t go on an exchange just to go on exchange! If you want to go on exchange, be convinced that the place that you are going to really attracts you! If it doesn’t, it might be better to look around in the Netherlands. A great alternative is doing your Master abroad. You can then choose your favorite minor courses in the Netherlands and still experience studying abroad later on. As you can choose to do your Master anywhere you want, the choice is much wider and more varied. I am trying to do my Master in the United States the coming years, but I’ll write another blog about that story!
There is a ridiculous amount of minors offered in the Netherlands. If you are Dutch speaking as well, the possibilities are limitless. Dutch Universities are one of the few Universities to clearly explain their minors into detail. Before arranging my exchange however, I already made sure I had a back-up minor in Wageningen.
I knew early on that I wanted to do a minor in consumer behavior. I didn’t choose a standard minor, but I made one myself by choosing different courses from different minors. I now realize that I made a good choice by going to Wageningen. The courses here are excellent and my minor really teaches what I want to specialize in. So if you already have an idea in what you want to specialize in and want the best possible tutoring, Wageningen is a great choice.
Wageningen itself is quite small and if you are not in a student association, there is not much to do. So if you want to have a good time, make sure to get into one! Wageningen can offer a lot, as long as you invest in it. Another choice is to live in either Utrecht or Arnhem, which is only a 15 minutes drive and these cities provide enough for any student.
Many studies in Wageningen focus on food and sustainability and attract a wide range of different types of students. I already saw someone walking bare-footed, because he wanted to be ‘closer to nature’!. These differences are very interesting! People at Wageningen think very differently and provide interesting discussions, which I never thought of before!
So, if you want a well-balanced minor, I definitely recommend Wageningen. The courses are great (but, you will be surrounded by cows). And if you want, you can always continue your studies with a Master abroad.