Madelief Bakker

Portretfoto Madelief Bakker
In my experience the seminars are very fun because you really get to talk about the material on a deeper level.
Madelief Bakker
English Language and Culture
Study start date
Study end date
Previous education
t-vwo at Dorenweerd College te Doorwerth

Madelief is a Bachelor's student of English Language and Culture.

Why did you choose Radboud University?

When I first visited the open day i immediately felt welcomed. The atmosphere is very welcoming and easygoing. Whenever I spoke with students or lecturers they just seemed very down to earth and I felt like I could see myself walking around here for the next few years. I also liked the way Radboud offered the programme; since the study programme is split into English Language and Culture and American Studies, there is a very clear focus on British culture and British English. I really liked that.

How did you experience the transition from high school to university?

I believe the transition from high school to uni is and will always be difficult, but the university definitely helped. There is a mentoring programme where you get assigned a mentor, who is one of your teachers, and they sit down with you in the beginning and talk about the practical aspects. You discuss planning and things like that, but your mentor is also someone you can come to with any personal things you run into. This helped me a lot. Having a person who can help you navigate the university life is really helpful. Additionally you are assigned a student mentor, who can also help you with practical issues that you would not go to your mentor for. Think for instance when you do not know in which building a class is or when you do not understand how to borrow the books from the library.

What do you like about the Bachelor's programme? And has the programme also challenged you?

What I really like is how many different aspects of the language you are taught. When you choose to study English, people often imagine you are taught the proper grammar and pronunciation, and you have to read a lot of literature. Though this is somewhat true, there is a whole different aspect that you will also study. You also dive deep into linguistics, which includes phonetics (the study of how sound is made) and syntax ( how sentences are formed). This did challenge me because it is really something new. Most first year students will have no previous knowledge, so you have to put in a lot of work to learn and understand these subjects. Furthermore, you will also learn about old English and how the language changed. Additionally you learn about the current culture and socio-political climate in the UK. All in all it is a very diverse study programme.

What do you think about the atmosphere in class?

There is a very positive atmosphere. For most subjects there are lectures and seminars. The lectures are what people typically expect from a university. These take place in big halls and you spend most of the time taking notes. These are not very interactive, though if you have questions you can definitely ask them.
The seminars are a lot more similar to the classes you have in high school in the way they are structured. They are very interactive. You are expected to have prepared for the seminars so you can discuss the material. In my experience the seminars are very fun because you really get to talk about the material on a deeper level. During the seminars you also get to talk to the teachers and your classmates a lot more and get to know them, which is really nice. In my experience, the teachers in our programme are very nice and interested in knowing their students. Most of your seminar teachers will know your name and that creates a very nice environment in which I feel very comfortable learning and asking questions if I do not understand something.

What are your plans once you have received your Bachelor’s degree?

Personally I would like to become a teacher, which is very easy to do because of the Radboud Docenten Academie (Radboud Teachers Academy). I am planning on doing and educational minor, which means that I will be licensed to teach the lower years of secondary school immediately upon receiving my Bachelor's degree. However, I am in the minority among my classmates. Most of them are looking into the very extensive amount of Master's programmes you can follow after getting your Bachelor's.

Are you involved with the study association of your programme?

I am very involved in my study association, G.A.G. I am actually treasurer of my association, meaning I am part of the board. Before my board year I was also very involved as member of the yearbook committee. Our association has a lot of committees where you can express your hobbies. We have a creative writing committee and a drama committee. If you do not want the responsibility of being a member of a committee there are also various other activities you can join. There are parties and pub quizzes as well as an open room twice a week during which members can come into the board room and usually we will just drink tea and play games or chat. The study association is a really great way to get into contact with your fellow English students. I have made many friends through the association.

What do you like about Nijmegen?

I like that it feels quite small. It is easy to navigate and not as daunting as some bigger cities are. It is also really a student city. Due to this it has a very lively night life. There is always a party somewhere.

What would you advise students when choosing a study programme?

Visit as many open days as you can and make a pro-con list. Then choose a top 3 and sign up for Bachelor's Experience Days or to be a Student for a Day. This will allow you to really see the vibe of the city and the study you are thinking of. Then just pick the one that feels best to you.