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Radboud Writing Lab

Interview with Anne van Amerongen

Do you have a paper due soon or are you currently working on your thesis? Radboud University students can come to the Radboud Writing Lab for personalised advice. Whatever your discipline, the Writing Lab provides tutoring and support for all academic writing assignments.

ASN_Foto 2Please meet one of the tutors, Anne. She talks about the Radboud Writing Lab, the Dutch academic writing style and how international Radboud University students can benefit from their services.

What do you do as a tutor?
I have one-on-one sessions with students in which we discuss their writing; you could also call me a 'writing coach'. Besides offering these private sessions, the Writing Lab also hosts various workshops.

What kind of workshops?
Most of the workshops are aimed at Dutch students, but we also offer English-taught workshops intended for international students. This workshop focuses on the key writing skills that Radboud University requires from students.

What kind of difficulties do international students often face when writing an academic text at Radboud University?
They often don't know when to ask for help. At the Writing Lab, they can come in for an individual session at any stage of the writing process. Because our tutors are students as well, we can communicate on an equal level. There's no such thing as a stupid question! We know what kind of writing style is appropriate, and as a student we identify with them and recognise their difficulties.

Do you notice substantial differences between the Dutch academic writing style and writing styles abroad?
Students with a Southern-European background tend to use long sentences in their texts, whilst Dutch universities often want students to get to the point and to use shorter sentences. We try to explain that their writing style is not wrong, it's just that lecturers at Radboud University expect something different. Students from certain countries, for example, tend to use a lot of direct quotes as a way of showing respect. However, at Radboud University, a different approach is more common.

What would be your number one tip for international students writing academic texts at Radboud University?
I would say: don't be afraid to use your own voice. Students often worry about plagiarism, but what their teachers want is for them to transform knowledge from literature and add their personal insights. Furthermore, lecturers at Radboud University appreciate a text that is thorough, yet clear and to-the-point.

Private sessions with a writing tutor can be arranged throughout the academic year. Would you like to have a one-on-one session with one of the Writing Lab's tutors? The sessions can be booked via this form on their website.