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Interview Subeh Chowdhury

"About a year ago, I didn’t even know about Tilburg University but now I feel like I couldn’t be in a better place. Tilburg is the next best thing to being home!"

foto student Subeh Chowdhury
  • Nationality: Bangladeshi
  • Bachelor's program: International Sociology
  • Started in: 2017
  • High school diploma: GCE A level
  • Languages: English, Bengali

Did you always know what you wanted to do?

NO. I didn’t know anything precisely until when I was in 12th grade. I realized I was very fascinated about world politics, economics etc. I initially wanted to study International Relations but later decided to study Sociology. At first I wasn’t sure if I was doing the right thing by choosing Sociology over IR but now I believe this course is going to take me a long way in life and help me achieve my goals.

Why did you choose to study abroad, and how did you decide to study in the Netherlands?

Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to study abroad. As a child, I thought it was very usual for people to study abroad. But as I grew up, I realized it wasn’t very obvious and only the ones who can afford to pay for such high expenses can study abroad. , however was very determined to study abroad but I wasn’t being able to find any suitable place (either they were too expensive or the quality of education wasn’t up to the mark). Then I heard about The Netherlands from one of my friends, did my research and realized how good of a place Holland is for international students! It has so many opportunities, the tuition fees are affordable, and it is one of the safest and happiest countries in the world!

How did you reach the decision to study (your study program)?

Once I finalized that I would study in the Netherlands, I applied to four universities through Studielink but for different subjects in the same field. After getting my acceptance letters in hand, I thought about everything – prospective of the subjects, quality of education in the particular universities, tuition fees, and other expenses and decided that BSc in International Sociology at Tilburg University would be perfect for me.

What is it like to study completely in English, together with international students? Was the transition from high school difficult?

I am lucky to have had the opportunity to go to an international school, which is also one of the best in my country. My school back at home follows the British curriculum so we were taught English from a very young age. I have also attended quite a few international conferences hosted by both my school and schools abroad so I don’t think the transition was very difficult for me. Moreover, Tilburg (the city and school) made me feel like at home since day one so it was easy for me to get used to everything here.

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

We have lectures and work groups/seminars. Lectures are in big groups (depending on the course and students) while work groups are much smaller groups because they are more of an interactive session between the teacher and students. We sometimes have quiz during lectures and usually have assignments for work groups. Some assignments are graded while others are ungraded and depending on the courses, the graded assignments sometimes add up to the final grade. If we have any query/question about the course or topic or anything at all, we can always ask the lecturer, either by email or upfront.

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

Yes, of course! Studying abroad is a whole new and different experience and I recommend everyone that has the opportunity to study abroad, to take it. Here is why:

  1. Studying abroad (in a better place with better education, of course) not only benefits us academically but gives us a lot of opportunities that we wouldn’t even think of getting if we were studying at home.
  2. It gives us the freedom that helps us grow. No matter how much freedom we get at home and what we do, at the end of the day we live with our parents. They are always there for us, sometimes when we need them and sometimes when we don’t and any Bangladeshi (or not) can relate to this. I feel that we have very little chance to develop ourselves. When we come to a new country to study, we are by ourselves – no parents to help us, no family, no friends; we have to take our own responsibilities, we have to do everything on our own and once we start taking responsibilities, we realize that we’re growing up and this wouldn’t have happened if we were still at home.
  3. Studying abroad broadens our perspectives and mentalities and if we use it wisely, we can bring about any change that we want.
  4. We get to experience, explore and learn so much when we are living alone in a completely different place; miles away from home, parents, family and friends.
  5. We get to know and learn about different cultures, mix with different people and get to know more about the world.
  6. Sometimes universities abroad have better quality of education than the ones at home. So if you have the opportunity to get better education then why not?
  7. And last but not the least, “distance makes the heart grow fonder”. As cheesy as it may sound, it is actually true. Your parents will shower all the love and affection they have for you over the phone and every time they see you, they’ll probably make plans to keep you and never let you go!

It has only been a few months since I moved to Tilburg, but I can already say that I am not the same person that I was a few months ago and it is all because of the reasons that I mentioned.  I know I am a more responsible, mature and sensible person.

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

I think this course is perfect for someone who is more interested in more practical issues like something that is going on in the society, politics, economics etc. If numbers or math interest you more then I think you should think twice before taking this course.

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

I am doing 3 years bachelor’s programme worth 180 ECTS (60ECTS per year) and I have final exams in every 6-8 weeks so I do have a lot of pressure. But despite all the assignments, readings, classes and “studies” in general, I do have time for other activities like sports, gym, parties and even travelling!

Do you have any advice for prospective students considering this program, or studying at Tilburg University?

I had never heard about Tilburg University until I started applying to Dutch universities through Studielink. Even after I applied to this university and received my offer letter, I wasn’t sure if I want to come here but coming here was one of the best decisions that I have ever made. It was very easy for me to settle down and feel at home. Now that I am here, I don’t think there could be a better place and university for me. Being a freshman student at Tilburg University, I feel like this university is much underrated because in my opinion, it may not be one of the top 10 universities, but it sure is one of the best!

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