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Student Felice Isabelle Tan

"How I decided to study this program: curious to learn something new and at the same time applying the mathematics that I enjoy."

EOR studente Felice Isabelle Tan
  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Bachelor's program: Econometrics and Operations Research
  • Started in: 2014
  • Extracurricular activities: International exchange to Singapore
  • High school diploma: European Baccalaureate; the relevant courses I did were: Maths 5, Language 1: Dutch, Language 2: German, Language 3: English (on voluntary basis, so not in my EB).
  • Languages: Dutch, German, English

Did you always know what you wanted to do? How did you reach the decision to study Econometrics and Operations Research?

No, therefore the process of deciding what to study was not easy. My strengths in secondary school were the technical and science subjects. Although I really enjoyed these courses like chemistry, physics and biology, I did not want to end up in that field. Then there was math. I always enjoyed mathematics, although my grades were just averagely good. I was considering to study only mathematics, but that did not seem too attract me either. I could not imagine what job I will have after that. I needed something more specific. When I found out there were study programs combing mathematics and economics I got curious. I found the program econometrics and operational research and it sounded very interesting. I did not know much about economics, but I always wanted to learn more about it. That is how I decided to study this program: curious to learn something new and at the same time applying the mathematics that I enjoy.

What is it like to study completely in English? Was the transition from high school difficult?

For me it was not difficult to study in English. For some it might seem tough in the beginning, but you will get used to it soon enough. So, I only recommend to study in English, since it will also improve your English a lot. The University also offers a lot of courses outside the program to improve your English skills even more!

The transition from high school to university was not easy for me. In high school I barely put effort in passing my courses. But at university my working attitude had to change drastically. I had to learn to keep up with the lectures, do the homework, and go the tutorials every week. In the beginning I struggled with this, but luckily I got myself together and everything is going great now. I really had to learn, to just sit down and study.

What is your favorite subject?

My favorite subject is Modeling in Practice. In this subject you have to work in groups on a specific case and apply everything you have learned so far and even more than that. Modeling in Practice is very challenging: you have to prove and improve your team, presentation, writing, and discussion skills. Although a supervisor will be assigned to your group, the supervisor will try to make sure you do everything on your own. My case was about pension funds. In the beginning I barely knew how pension funds work, but because I had to do a lot of research I know a lot about it now. I did not expect to like the case so much, pension funds are actually facing very interesting problems. Overall in this course you will learn and improve so many skills, that’s why it’s my favorite subject.

What sort of teaching styles do you encounter in your program, and can you say something about this?

My program contains of lectures, tutorials and computer labs. Usually, after every lecture you will have to prepare questions at home. With some exercise you will get stuck, therefore you can go to the tutorials. In these tutorials you can work together with you classmates to solve the remaining questions, and if you are still stuck there are teachers to help further. Keep in mind that most of this is not mandatory, so you have to take self-initiative. In some courses you will also have computer labs, where you will be introduced to different programs, like MATLAB, Stata, AIMMS and more. Depending on the course you will have to hand in assignments, have midterms, and for almost all courses you will have a final exams.

Would you recommend studying abroad to a student who might never have thought about it before?

Yes, definitely! You will make so many new friends, and as an international student you will get to know people from all over the world. In this way you also learn a lot about different cultures, which will also help you in the future working at multinational companies. Also leaving your comfort zone makes you much more independent. I learned so much living abroad.

Wat sort of student is a great fit for your program? And who is absolutely not?

If you want to study here you should like math a lot. As mentioned before, you also need to have self-discipline. The professors will not come after you if you don’t come to the lectures or tutorials. It’s really your own responsibility to keep up with the work.

Do your studies take a lot of time? Do you have any time for activities besides your studies?

During the week you will be mostly busy. But if your time-management is right, you should be able to do have a lot of free time as well. I know a lot of students that do a lot of activities next to their studies. For me it felt better to focus on my studies and next to it just take some time for myself. I do not have a job next to my program. Sometimes I go the gym, but most of my free time I spend with my friends. Usually every evening I just sit with them or go out.

Are there any prejudices about your program, which turned out not to be true after you started studying it?

People say that you have to be extremely smart to study this program, but this is not necessarily the case. You will definitely have an advantage if you are smart, but if you just set your mind to the program and enjoy doing it, you will be able to successfully study the program.

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