Daniel Ivanov gives us an Interview and tells us about his Water Management course at HZ University of Applied Sciences.
Hello from HZ University in Vlissingen! I am Daniel Ivanov from Bulgaria and I am a first year Water Management student. This definitely is not a plumber’s degree but a Bachelor degree which gives you a wide range of knowledge in the field of water, looked from any angle you can think of – physical, biological, chemical and environmental or local, national,global…
Why studying at HZ in Vlissingen?
Actually it was the program that grabbed my attention first. I was looking up on the Internet for a course which is a combination of natural sciences and in the same time to be promising for my future. The next step was “to put my nose in the kitchen” by asking directly students in this Water Management course, who are already here. (For that, I have to thank the International office; you can ask them really anything you like to know about HZ or Vlissingen.)
How did you find out the possibilities for a study in Holland?
In the beginning of 2009 I was in The Hague on a youth project with other international high-school students. Before that I hadn’t thought about a university studies abroad at all. Then, an idea came to my mind – why not the Netherlands? Here comes the time of looking-up the Internet…
What about the level of your English, how did this work?
Before I came here, I had to pass the TOEFL as one of the application requirements. English for me hasn’t been a problem since the beginning of the course. Almost nobody around you is a native speaker, so the level of spoken English is almost the same from both students and teachers. Yes, okay, maybe the first couple of days with all-day classes were indeed a small brain-shock but that is a short easy-to-overcome experience.
How did you apply? Did you also apply elsewhere?
“Sky Lines”, a student recruiting agency helped me for an easier communication between me and HZ. On one hand this really made my life easier, and on the other, proved the university that I am trust-worthy high school student who knows what he wants.
Yes, I applied in another university, also in the Netherlands. In the end, after some considerations, HZ won the match!
How did you get accommodation?
As I was coming to a place I have never been before, I wanted to make sure I have a roof over my head. For this purpose, I used the partnership between HZ and L’ESCAUT. This is a major housing agency in the region of Vlissingen.
What are your first experiences in the Netherlands?
My first destination is Vlissingen was from the rail-way station directly to the buildings of HZ (which are relatively close to the station). Then the friendly people from the International office welcomed me and after some time drove me by car to my flat. I have never expected so personal attention, but that was the first thing to prove how personal the relationships between everybody at HZ are.
What are to you the advantages for a study in the Netherlands?
I haven’t had a study somewhere else, but what I can certainly state is that I consider the Dutch people really open, communicative, tolerant and helpful! Another point that matters is that people from let us say 10 to 60 years old have no problems speaking in English.
Studying exactly this course in the Netherlands has its own advantages. As 60% of the population is living under sea level, I think we must admit they have managed water problems pretty well over hundreds of years.
What are the disadvantages?
I would admit that I secretly envy all the Dutch students who receive grants from the government and International students are required specific criteria. As a Bulgarian citizen, for me it was also a little complicated with the documents for working in the Netherlands. I would prefer if I was not so restricted (practically) about working.
What would you advice pupils from secondary schools who are interested in a study abroad?
This is a personal choice for life, so if I was in their shoes again, I would make a deep consideration of what I am interested in, what gives me pleasure, and, in the end, make a choice and believe till the end!
What are your experiences with the study now compared with your expectations?
The university year started with a couple of trips to water-related spots in the Netherlands, which I did not expect at all. Motivating practical examples from real life is a successful key to keep you in the mood for studying during the school year.
My experience so far definitely lives up to the high expectations I had before I came here.
How do you see your future now?
Bulgaria is a country which, on first glance, does not seem to have water problems. False. My personal opinion is that in Bulgaria, as a water-rich area, the water itself was underestimated during the last several decades, which led to serious pollution, mainly in the rivers. Therefore, more and more up-to-date water purification plants are to be built and the necessary additional care to be taken of. Here, we come to an issue where a water manager could be a helpful figure. I would be proud of myself if I could benefit my country’s environment!
Would you choose again for HZ?
Since the beginning I not only have no regrets, but I also get more and more interested in what we are studying. As a matter of fact, I still believe the greatest fun is still on my way on!
We thank Daniel Ivanov.