Study abroad in the Netherlands and experience the “rustig” way of life

South Korean student, Sehee Choi, discovered the serene learning environment she desired in the Netherlands. Through her experience, she shares how the tranquil "rustig" Dutch culture shaped her perspective in multiple ways.

In short

Why Lucia chose to study abroad in the Netherlands

The Netherlands is known for its multicultural and inclusive society, and the education system reflects this. Students can engage with diverse cultures and perspectives, fostering a global mindset. Yet one shouldn’t forget about the local Dutch culture.

There’s a Dutch word that sticks in Sehee “Lucia” Choi’s memory from her time at Nyenrode Business School.

“In Dutch, you would say rustig,” she tells MASTERGRADSCHOOLS. “It means very relaxed. I’m a person who fits into a relaxed environment, not in a very city, busy, competitive environment.” (02:19)

Being in a competitive environment is something that Lucia was used to in her native South Korea. She says there everything is competitive, people, students, even parents. But it never suited her. So when she started searching for a master’s abroad, one of her most important considerations was a learning environment that worked for her.

“I was actually comparing this environment a lot between the schools in England, Germany, and the Netherlands,” she says. “Those were the three main countries that I was comparing, and the Netherlands was the most relaxed one for me.” (02:37)

While studying abroad in the Netherlands, Lucia discovered a learning environment that is worlds apart from the one she left behind. She explains there is a difference in attitude towards learning in the Netherlands, something which got the best out of her.

“What I felt is that in the Netherlands, learning is more like sharing. So students are more motivated when they are learning from each other, and then they feel the ownership of learning,” she adds. (09:10)

Choosing between a MiM and an MBA

For those looking to study abroad in a relaxed environment, Nyenrode is a great option. It has a campus in Amsterdam, but the school’s main campus is located on the grounds of a 13th-century castle in Breukelen. Breukelen is a quaint town located between Amsterdam and Utrecht and Nyenrode Castle is its big attraction. 

But don’t be fooled by the school’s tranquil setting. Nyenrode is a modern business school with a range of master’s programs that meet the demands of today’s students. One of those programs is the MSc in Management (MiM). The MiM is often seen as an alternative to an MBA. Yet, there are some differences between the two courses. 

Lucia’s main reason for choosing the MSc in Management was its appeal to those new to the workforce. An MBA program generally requires an average of three to five years of work experience. However, the MiM is tailored for those with up to three years of experience, making it a better fit for her. (04:14)

Because a MiM is a more entry-level program than an MBA, they tend to have a stronger academic focus. MBA programs provide students with practical, hands-on experience to prepare them for management positions. MiM programs offer a solid academic grounding for business students instead. 

While an MiM targets students with less work experience, the workload is similar to an MBA. As Lucia discovered, finding the right balance between her master’s and life in a new country was key to getting the most out of her time in the Netherlands.

Lucia's journey to balancing workload and enhancing decision-making skills

Managing a master’s degree workload is generally one of the biggest challenges. It can be even more challenging for international students, who have a new country to get to grips with. For Lucia, finding a balance between work and play was a part of her personal development, as every day at Nyenrode was different.

“You need to really find a balance of which kind of person you are. Do you really want to focus on academic studies now, or do you really want to go and participate more in the student activities? So this is the whole personal development journey I went through. I guess it’s all about balancing your life.” (06:33

When you’re faced with so many decisions, you need to be confident you’re making the right ones. Decision-making is perhaps not the most obvious skill that comes with a master’s, but it is nonetheless important. 

It is a situation which Lucia believes helped her make better decisions in general. The decision-making skills she gained would prove to be useful for the next stage of her journey.

After graduating from Nyenrode and during the pandemic, Lucia faced another difficult decision. Should she stay in the Netherlands or return to her native South Korea? It wasn’t an easy decision, and it wasn’t one she took lightly. Thankfully, she had trained her decision making ability well.

“I made a choice to come back (to South Korea) and that was also a personal decision that I made. I think that the whole personal journey that I went through at Nyenrode helped me with being confident with what I make a choice out of,” she says. (07:53)

Although Lucia left the Netherlands, she has taken a little of that Dutch rustig spirit back home with her.

If you would like to learn more about studying at Nyenrode Business School, feel free to reach out to one of our Nyenrode master’s ambassadors.

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