One of my friends in the field, from Milan, recommended Erasmus University and their Master of Science In Health Economics programme as being one of the best in the world. Coming to Rotterdam was one of the best decisions of my life
When I used to think about my future, one goal was always high priority: getting a Master of Science degree. After graduating as a Bachelor of Science in International Business in Croatia, employment in the Institute of Public Health followed and, without realising, my focus shifted to health economics. Soon after, I started exploring possible options for advancement, primarily getting more expertise in the field and specialising in health economics. One of my friends in the field, from Milan, recommended Erasmus University and their Master of Science in Health Economics programme as being one of the best in the world. Her words still ring in my ears: “It’s not too difficult to get in the programme but be ready to work extremely hard to finish.” And so it was!
Coming to Rotterdam has been one of the best decisions of my life. I have learned so much, about health economics, about being a student at a big and famous university, about people from all over the world and how similar we all are. Last year, when classes began, the few HE students (working in small groups is the only right way to go!) very soon realised that the schedule was all about hard work. But once everything had fallen into place, there was enough time to have fun and explore Holland.
During classes, which we attended regularly, the materials was well explained, allthough not everything was easy to grasp and we often organised study groups. Because there were so few of us (only 10 people in the HE master programme), group work functioned well and gave us the necessary help. The teachers also provided support if we couldn’t solve problems. We used to say that it was nice to see such high caliber professors being so welcoming, helpful and fun. And, at the end of the day, we had learned so much! Yes, we worked hard, sometimes 12 hours a day, but it was all worth it!! The better we got, the more we wanted from our teachers, the more they gave us. But, don’t forget, we all had clear ideas of why we’d chosen this programme – its excellence – and we all wanted to take advantage and learn as much as possible while we were there.
The campus itself is modern and well organised, although the Dutch seem to be in love with bureaucracy and sometimes just give you too many papers! But, since this is my major admonition to their system, it is not even worth mentioning! Erasmus University has world class experts and this notion can be felt around the campus, especially if you are from a less developed country where excellence is still not as common.
The interdisciplinary character of some of the courses broadens your view and forces you to look beyond the narrow specialisation of health economics. Even so, be prepared to go beyond the theory of HE and delve into practical application and all the technical methods it requires. You will learn how to understand and apply methods you need for your future, sometimes not even understanding all the complicated theoretical background. In the end, who needs theory if you can’t apply it? My advice to all of you, prospective students would be: just enrol – and then to work hard. If you don’t understand something, ask immediately and, always, ask for more!
The same applies to Rotterdam and student life within its cafés, clubs and parks. You have to work hard to find the right spot for you (so many things, so little time) but once you’ve found your way, you can have so much fun. Wednesday in Concordia is the place to be, happy hour combined with an international experience after which you cycle home (for anyone not used to cycling at all, this is an experience in itself)! And if you are used to cycling, you are probably Dutch and the international experience (international students, I mean) will add to your view of the world. Especially if the party continues in one of the student houses (great choice of accommodation, by the way)!
All in all, the Dutch were a lot of fun, the city is great (not too big, not too small) and the university gives you so much! I’ve travelled all over the world, even studied outside Croatia before, so trust me when I say that if you want to learn a lot, if you want to do it properly but combine it with a memorable student life, come to Rotterdam! The only thing that I hold against Holland is the weather, but what can they do?!