I looked for a programme that would support my management skills. I absolutely liked the multidisciplinary approach of the HEPL programme
I come from Thailand, land of the smiles, which has lovely people and its own preserved natures and interesting cultures. Thai people are always welcoming. I am a medical doctor. I have practised medicine as well as working as a hospital director of a small community hospital for ten years. After that I have worked in public health administration for five years. I currently live in Bangkok and work at the National Health Security Office. This is an independent government agency of the biggest national health insurance scheme. My current position is deputy director of the ‘bureau of developing & supporting branch offices’. I have experience with coordinating our branch offices and with how to improve their capabilities. Besides a degree in medicine, I obtained a master degree in Business Administration (MBA) as well. Additionally, I have followed several short courses about hospital administration, occupational medicine and Chief Financial Officer (CFO). I always look for training courses that will support my mostly preferred career in public health administration.
Motivations for HEPL program in Rotterdam
I looked for a programme that would support my management skills. In my scholarship application, I proposed some of the objectives of the HEPL programme: international orientation, providing the analytical skills and conceptual knowledge of economics/politics/laws & finance to understand the complexities of healthcare systems, preparing for career positions in national and international levels. I really liked the multidisciplinary approach of the HEPL programme. It would help me understand the links between whole key subjects relating to the healthcare system with a bird’s eye view. It would also deeply improve my knowledge and skills of these subjects. Furthermore, my family had a personal interest in the Netherlands as their most favourite country for travelling abroad. Thus the HEPL programme at Erasmus University Rotterdam came up as my final choice. And fortunately, the HEPL programme was also approved by the committee of my sponsor.
Experience with my study at Erasmus University Rotterdam
I was really impressed by the various teaching methods that were offered within the HEPL programme. The variety of these teaching methods such as lectures, group discussions, academic writing and computer training, helped me to understand the content of the courses faster than I formerly expected. Most of the tutors use direct experiences from their own research as teaching materials. As English is not my native language, I sometimes worried about English language teaching. However, reading articles in the course books and the information technology of the university’s computer system helped me study and improve my English language skills. I also had good experiences with the supervision by a teacher for writing my thesis: regular meetings and friendly, relevant advices helped me improve my paper successfully. Finally, the natural environment of the campus site and the facilities on the campus site for advanced studies also supported my successful learning. I now have more knowledge about healthcare management and more technical skills about economic evaluations than in the past. A lovely course that creates a link between economics, policy and law was my favourite in this programme.
Learning to live in Rotterdam
Many green parks and friendly Dutch people helped me get used to living in this city as if it were my home town. Comparised with other Dutch cities (most of them are historical). Rotterdam is a modern city. But this city has many natural parks for walking (humans and dogs), exercising and picnics. Most Dutch people speak good English and they are happy to talk to you. Sometimes they gave me good advice if I was having problems. Additionally, we easily found many kinds of fresh food for our meals in supermarkets as well as at free markets. Moreover, the shopping centres offer a variety of goods, as many as we could select and buy. Living in Rotterdam improved my individual responsibilities regarding information searching and business transactions. Dutch people usually manage their own issues and problems and they always know who they can contact when they need help. And I mustn’t forget the Internet which provided us with available information and useful tools for our transactions.
Mostly happy, sometimes disappointed
I have several good memories about my studies and about my life in Rotterdam, although a few problems did leave me feeling frustrated and irritated. Studying at a university with a reputation like Erasmus University is one of the good memories. I also have good memories about the variety in weather throughout the year, about travelling in Europe and about drinking wine. Firstly, I come from a country which has warm weather, so I feel happier in cool rather than hot weather. However, I did miss the warmer weather after several months of winter. Secondly, the well coordinated transport in Europe gave me a great opportunity to travel in many lovely regions. I used some of the short periods after each trimester to travel abroad and in the Netherlands as well. Backpacking and cooking in hostels helped me save money for my travels. Unfortunately, I felt slightly frustrated about the process of obtaining a resident permit for me and my wife. I called the authorities concerned about this issue more than ten times. I heard that other students were having the same problems as me. However, my problems were solved eventually.
Tips for prospective international (HEPL) students
My first and best tip is to contact the Student Service Centre of the faculty for international (HEPL) students. This is the best way to learn about studying at Erasmus University Rotterdam and living in Rotterdam. The friendly staff at the Student Service Centre will help you solve any problems relating to admission, studying and renting accommodation. However, my tip regarding accommodation: confirm your contract directly with the landlord himself. I had a bad experience with a landlord who hadn’t been informed about me and the contract by the university’s housing department. So I had to find another apartment by myself. A few tips for studying are continuity in attending classes and group discussions. Teachers are usually open to discuss any question related to their topics. During our group discussions, proper examples would come up that improved our understanding about the topics addressed in lectures. A tip for living in the Netherlands: you need to persevere. Repeated negotiation sometimes resulted in better solutions. Some procedures have their own (Dutch) timelines, thus everyone would waited for the deadlines. I had good experiences about my repeated negotiations. And contacting different people sometimes generated different but better solutions.