November, It’s one of the hardest times for first year students in the Netherlands.
After the first 2 months, this is the time when being-a-student kicks in. Exams!!!!! And it will turn out that a lot of students will fail at least some of their first exams. Which is dramatic for the motivation.
I’ve noticed that a lot of university programs seem to start with the hardest, the dullest, the most boring topic of the program as if they -on purpose want to discourage students and stimulate drop outs, to keep the best students for the rest of the program. I guess it’s a way to prevent over-full lectures and makes it easy to manage the program. (Dutch universities and Hogescholen can keep their prices reasonably low because there’s not much spend on managing talent and administration logistics (but that’s my opinion))
After the first 2 ‘honey moon months’, where everything was new, a new routine will start. That might be a good study-routine but also a party-routine. The students know their way to college and to the bar, to the supermarket and the delivery service.
They might like their new routine, their new life or they might feel very uncomfortable with all the changes in their lives.
It’s part of the culture shock they will endure. A culture shock in it self is hard enough but students have an extra shock of discovering themselves. Specially students whom parents are far away will have to discover their own identity in a different setting, the parents/family/culture are no longer a big part of their identity and daily life.
As if this fase is not hard enough the exams kick in.
Exams at University and Hogeschool are different from the exams and tests at high school; A complete topic is smashed in a couple lectures and will be tested. There are no test or quizzes in between to show if the students understand the topic, the purpose and what knowledge is being tested.
For international students it’s even harder because they’ve learned to learn differently, they use their brain differently and the way they will answer the questions is also different from what the Dutch professors might want to see.
For example; for an IB students a good substantiated essay will prove they understand the topic, while in the Netherlands summarise definitions is an important part of the test and essay.
Those first exams should be a good test for how to learn and study on a new level. Learn from mistakes how to do better/different. But with the urge to get the BSA (Binding Study Advise, if they can continue this program) within year, a failure can be very stressful and very demotivating to continue. It’s a time when many students drop out, demotivated, stressed and loose their (self) confidence.
The International Feelgood Academy supports students through this first year. With efficient-study-methods skills, exam training and motivation questions. It’s part of the whole package of the International Student Support Program. We’re convinced that the fully and logical build up program guides students through this first year so there can be a balance between work and pleasure in a smooth en enjoyable way.