How did you come to the decision to apply for a double degree programme?
I have always liked to idea of spending a longer period of time abroad. I spent the summer between my first and second year at TBU working in the USA and, following that experience, I decided to apply for a double degree programme. Of course, I was also considering my financial situation and the possibility of coordinating the study abroad with my participation in the “Talented Students” project organized at the FaME. The positive aspects offered by the double degree programme eventually convinced me and I submitted my application. Having spent part of my degree course abroad, including an academic degree, is a plus in my specialization and I always wanted to experience what it was like to live in the UK.
What about your expectations compared to what turned out to be the reality?
Students in the UK take just 4 course units which they study during the whole year (plus the Bachelor’s thesis), and, as they are expected to do plenty of independent study and preparation, they spend only about 10 hours per week attending the classes at school. The biggest advantage is the fact that all course units are interlinked and, thus, you can absorb a subject and focus on closely related topics for a longer period of time. Mobility abroad is mainly about broadening your horizons and acquiring new skills. For example, you may find out that you are able to adapt to another educational system and meet another type of requirements than those you were used to meet all your life.
How do university classes work?
Classes involve either lectures, i.e. monologues by the lecturer, or discussions between the lecturer and students. In the UK, discussions are used as the most frequent teaching method, which receives great support. There are many international students in Huddersfield, above all from Europe (Germans, French, Slovaks) and from China. The students’ level of English varies, however, during the discussions it does not matter – everyone gets a chance to say something. The university also provides students with all materials necessary, also with a 24-hour access to the library, and, at the very beginning, each student is assigned a personal tutor willing to help any time. Classes are held in an informal, friendly atmosphere. Lecturers are addressed by their first names, which also contributes to the students’ active participation in a discussion.
In your opinion, what are the benefits of studying a double-degree programme for your future professional career?
In my specialization, the staff sought after is expected to possess a certain kind of skills and abilities rather than have specific knowledge. Employers want to know about your ability to learn, not about what you already know how to do. They want to know whether you are able to react and adapt to changes, about your goals. What studies abroad tell about people is that they are not afraid of changes, are able to take care of themselves in a foreign environment, in a foreign culture, communicate in a language other than their mother tongue, schedule their time in order to cope with the requirements related to their studies abroad. And, above all, it proves that you work on yourself, that you are doing something, that you want to further develop, which is nowadays more important than just having acquired theoretical knowledge which may not be practically applicable at all.
One last question… to whom would you recommend to apply for such a programme?
Definitely to anyone. I see no reason why leaving one’s home country could not be of benefit to the person in question, no matter what the reason for the trip. After a longer period of time spent abroad, most of my friends, myself included, sorted out their priorities and values and changed many of their opinions.