The VU Honours programme
Updated: Apr 5
Our student Karolin Wald is eager to share her experience of The VU Honours programme, an extra-curricular programme that helps broaden your horizon and gain a more in-depth perspective on your own field. You can earn an additional 30 credits on top of the 180 credits of your regular bachelor studies. Read on and see if it is something for you!
When I was small, going to Uni seemed like going to Hogwarts.
I remember my mother carefully kept this huge, white book with gilded letters, almost too heavy for my tiny arms to lift. We kids weren’t allowed around it, because obviously, kids break stuff all the time. But what I didn’t know was that sneakily leafing through its pages would spark my curiosity for years to come - “A short history of nearly everything” was really not so short, and all the pictures of dinosaurs and ancient civilization, galaxies and atoms and everything in between made it magical. Suddenly, my world expanded.
Of course, life is not linear. Soon after I started school, I realized that I had big girl questions, but not the patience to get a PhD and answer them myself. And eventually, life washed me up on the shore of the VU to study International Business Administration – which is about as profound as it sounds. Don’t get me wrong, I love the study. But you don’t ask big, existential questions, or explore things. Essentially, you learn a craft, and that’s not what my magical idea of professors and lecture halls was about.
Well, my ears perked when I learned of the Honours Programme. I know, shameless plug, but can you imagine how excited I was? There’s this whole community of students who share the same curiosity, passion, and longing for more. Who also ask big questions, and who come together to answer them. If that heavy book from way back when was my big bang of curiosity, Honours was basically my ticket to space travel.
It works like this: In the second semester of your first year, you can do a trial version of the programme, and in the second and third year you keep going if you like it. The classes are, in my experiences, super different from the impersonal, 300 people auditorium (or Zoom session) classes we know all too well. Instead, you come together with a handful of people and take a deep dive into a topic through discussion. And it works, because everyone is there because they want to be. You’re unified by a desire to learn, grow and explore together. It’s infectious.
As an international who embarked on this whole uni-in-a-foreign-country journey the same year Covid happened, the community around Honours also has a special place in my heart. Like many others, I had a hard time connecting with students from my study and faculty, but the camaraderie I experienced through Honours made me feel like I still belonged. Extensus, our Study Association, creates a space for you to meet new people from all studies and walks of life – a space where it’s ok to be just you, no matter what exactly that means. The programme, and by extension our study association, made me feel welcome as I was adjusting to Dutch society.
So, I urge everyone to try Honours and see for yourself. The people I met and the memories I made continue to fuel my passions, and for that I will be always grateful.