Avans University of Applied Sciences
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Avans University of Applied Sciences: Exemplary experiential learning

Ioana Cotos, 25, from Galati, Romania, felt welcomed at the Avans University of Applied Sciences from the very beginning. She felt like she was part of the Avans family, surrounded by warm lecturers and a great community of international students — so much so that she wasn’t homesick in her first month here at all.

“There was always a nice activity to attend and new opportunities to discover,” she says. “Also, this feeling extended to the whole first year! I felt grateful to learn in such a dynamic environment and to develop life-long skills.”

The Netherlands is home to many renowned universities that offer good quality education and support for international students. The country’s higher education section is divided into two types of universities: research universities and universities of applied sciences.

Avans is part of the latter — where students like Ioana thrive in obtaining job-ready professional skills and knowledge.

Through her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science for Sustainability, Ecosystems and Technology, she explored subjects like sustainable energy technologies, bio-based waste management, biomimetics, clean-up technologies, cost-benefit analysis and environmental policy and law.

After an internship at a London-based innovative sustainable textile producer, she graduated and started work for a big high-street brand and retailer in London as a Sustainability Assistant. She would later return to the Netherlands to complete a master’s degree in the same field and is now working as a Sustainability Manager in the textiles and fashion industry. “I feel energised every day to make an impact in an industry so dear to me,” she says.

Avans University of Applied Sciences

Ioana Cotos says studying at Avans shaped her as an individual. Source: Avans University of Applied Sciences

 Such success is borne on the back of Avans being the best university of applied sciences in the Netherlands for 11 consecutive years.

Students pursue competence-based learning through a practical approach, tackle small-scale projects and problem-based study, form close connections and cooperation with industries, and complete a one-year internship during their programme — all of which naturally lead to great career opportunities.

Take Juan Cardona from Cali, Colombia, for example. Having grown up and lived in many countries, he had fostered a strong interest in people, sales, and cultures. Pair this with Avans’s Bachelor of Business Administration in International Business as well as an internship in Poland and Juan was set to become an expert in doing business in a cross-cultural setting. After graduating, he soon got a job at a Canadian exclusive summit provider in the biotechnology industry.

“My main responsibilities include researching prospects, generating leads, discovering market opportunities, setting sales strategies, and most importantly achieving sales goals,” he says. “What I enjoy the most is that I get to closely work with international customers from different sociocultural backgrounds. The negotiation styles are implied in each international setting.”

Avans University of Applied Sciences

Juan Cardona, a Bachelor of Business Administration in International Business graduate, is now working with a Canadian exclusive summit provider in the biotechnology industry. Source: Avans University of Applied Sciences

Juan’s programme is located in Breda, with a focus on Marketing, Economics and Management. Avans offers the programme in ‘s-Hertogenbosch as well, with a focus on Marketing, Sales and Communication and a flexible individual learning path after the foundation year. Students can co-create the curriculum with help of their coaches based on their strengths, interest and objectives. They can learn up to five different languages throughout the study too.

All Avans students undertake one semester of internship, one semester of graduation internship and one semester of an exchange programme abroad at one of its over 250 partner schools worldwide. Having gained a great deal of experience, it’s little wonder how 92% of graduates find high-skilled jobs three months after graduation. One in four received job offers before graduation.

Bachelor of Science in Finance and Control graduate Dorina Metzger joined KPMG Hungary for a while as an Accounting Advisory Assistant after graduation. She was part of multiple projects, audit and credit analysis — receiving good feedback on her critical thinking skills and independence.

Today, she is a Financial Accountant at Vopak, a Dutch multinational company – making full use of the insights earned during her dual degree at Avans. Although it was challenging then, she is now reaping double the benefits as a dual degree holder in a competitive job market. “I enjoy it there because I can live up to my creativity of solving problems,” she says. “This company is also applying all the frameworks and business practices that we learned at Avans, so I can feel that I am directly harnessing my skills from school.”

Avans University of Applied Sciences

Dorina Metzger is a big fan of sports and is full of ambition. Source: Avans University of Applied Sciences

Dorina was part of the main international campus in Breda. At this safe, vibrant and student-friendly city, there are lots of cultural, sporting and music events. Based here, Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering and Management students not only learn about international maintenance management in aviation, shipping, energy or infrastructure, they get to live in the Pearl of the South too. Being nestled right in the middle of the two biggest seaports in Europe — Rotterdam and Antwerp – this makes for lots of internships and job opportunities in this field.

Over at ‘s-Hertogenbosch, visitors are often struck by the welcoming atmosphere that is characteristic of this city. Students feel right at home here — and it’s not hard to see why.

From strolling through the historic city centre to visiting St. John’s Cathedral or enjoying some fresh air at the nearby Bossche Broek nature reserve, there’s always something to do.

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