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IBA student meets Minister of Education

‘Sail your own ship’

Student Emma van der Voort got to speak with the Minister of Education Ingrid van Engelshoven about the ‘Better Prepared’ programme of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Emma is one of the volunteers for the programme which sets out to help first year students get ready for their life on campus. “I always tell new students to sail your own ship.”

Emma and some of her colleagues got to talk about the importance of inclusivity in education with the minister. “We talked about our own experiences at VU Amsterdam and got to share some ideas on inclusivity. I think it is very important that everyone has equal opportunities when it comes to education. But equally as important are the opportunities you have as a student to broaden your horizon. Therefore I chose to enroll in the Honours Programme. It gives me an extra challenge. I also like the interdisciplinary aspect and the discussions you get to have with students from other academic programmes. You learn to look at things from a different perspective. For example, I did a course in making documentaries about migrants, and how migrants are portrayed in the media in urope. I met with many students with completely different backgrounds, disciplines and from another university. Normally you would never take this course in a study like International Business Administration (IBA), but I believe it is a valuable broadening of my own perspective.”

Emma became a volunteer for the ‘Better Prepared’ programme after struggling with the decision on what programme she wanted to study. “I had a lot of trouble choosing a study, and it would have helped me immensely to have participated in such a programme like ‘Better Prepared’ at the time. This is why I thought it was important to participate as a coach. These days you feel like you already have to know what you want to study two years in advance. This adds a lot of pressure in making the right choice. What I really liked in the IBA programme that you got to specialize later on. You don’t have to make a choice right away, but get to experience different fields in business before you specialize. Overall my most important message for future students is choose what makes you happy, not what makes the most money or gets you the best job.”

Before starting at VU Amsterdam Emma lived in Sydney. She herself chose to study IBA, because it was an international programme and she felt right at home at the VU campus. “I have been a student at an International school since I was 14. I was happy to be able to study in a similar setting. I also find it important that the programme is in English, because speaking the language is becoming more important if you want to work for an international company. I believe therefore IBA is a good preparation for your future career.”