Interview First-year AT student

Maaike Strik, student of Advanced Technology

Hi, my name is Maaike. I am 18 years old and currently I am a student of the Advanced Technology programme at the University of Twente.

Actually, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, but I did know I was really good at physics and mathematics so I wanted to do something with those subjects. I came across a few study programmes, but they were really specific, like Electrical Engineering and Civil Engineering. Then I came across Advanced Technology and I really liked that the programme is so broad. It is a good combination of all the subjects that I like.

You have to be a lot more independent, but I didn’t really mind that because I am a really independent worker. For me it wasn’t that hard, but you do get less guidance than at secondary school. For example, at secondary school you get a lot of instructions and homework, but this a bit different at the university. However, if you do experience problems during your studies, you can always go to the professor or study advisor to help you out. During the Calculus lectures we do still have homework, but I actually like that. This would be nice for the other courses as well.

I really like that in most modules you have one physics class and one for mathematics, combined with a project and lab work. I enjoy the third module a bit less, because that module focusses a bit more on chemistry and there is more theoretical work. I think the combination of theoretical and practical work works best. During the project you work with a group. For example, in the second module you use cycle pumps to cool a container of water. You have to practice a lot and you have to figure out what pumping speed is needed for a certain amount of cooling. During lab practice you work with electronics or in a chemical lab. I really enjoy those practical assignments. Calculus is my favourite subject, but I really enjoy the combination of all the subjects, because I wouldn’t want to focus on mathematics alone.

How to work with others, because during projects you always have to work together. It is actually harder than it seems. I thought I was good at that during secondary school, but now you have to learn how to work with students from other nationalities and that can be tough sometimes. You do get guidance for this. We have a lecturer for academic skills and she gives us tips on how to work together. We also learn what kind of team workers we are and how you can compose a group based on those roles. In the first module I had some problems with my group, but we had some talks with our study advisor and it all worked out in the end.

The combination of theoretical and practical work was new to me, because that is not something you do at secondary school. The first lecture of Calculus was pretty challenging, but it turned out okay. The most difficult part was to find motivation during the covid pandemic. However, I think I struggle with that less than other students, because I am usually quite busy with activities that are not related to the programme. For example, I am a member of a study association and I am part of a committee.

I don’t know what a typical day looks like without the covid pandemic, because then you actually spend a lot more time at the university. I usually start working on assignments around 9 o’clock and afterwards I attend the online lectures. I always like to rewatch lectures, so that I have a better understanding of everything. After lunch I continue my work, but right now I feel like I have a lot of freedom. I do make sure to finish everything by the end of the week, however. You have a lot of variation in subjects during the week. Your project is also very different from the other courses, so that is interesting as well. You can work together with others during tutorials, but I prefer to work by myself.

I actually kind of love it, because I hate cycling and now I don’t have to do that. I am a very independent person and I like working by myself and to have some flexibility. You can pause lectures if needed and you can also speed them up, which is really great. I do have to say that I am not sure if this is the same for other students. Your lectures and tutorials are online and the professors make sure that they are there to help you out, but you can also reach them outside of these scheduled hours. It is definitely a bit of a challenge to connect with other students now, but I am in a study association so that helps a lot. There are plenty of activities that you can participate in, but if you don’t choose to do that then it will be a bit more difficult.

That is a difficult question. Obviously I would like to get a positive binding study advice and I hope to finish the AT programme in three years’ time. After that I would like to do a master’s programme, but I am not sure yet which one that will be. Especially because AT is such a broad programme, I can probably choose between a lot of programmes. Maybe I will also look into programmes abroad or in Delft.

It absolutely has. I expected to learn a bit about everything related to physics and I am doing that. For example, in the first module you learn about Newton’s laws, in the second module you learn about thermodynamics and right now we are working on chemistry, so the programme has a lot of variation. The practical aspect of the programme is great as well.

Make sure that you make the right decision when it comes to a study programme. It is important that you really like what you are going to study. Some students dropped out because they didn’t really know what the programme was going to be like. I wouldn’t advise choosing a programme without doing some research first. If you are excited about physics and mathematics, then you are good to go. The beginning of the first module can  be tough, but just know that you will get through it. You need to adjust to life at the university, but it will all turn out fine. I really like the programme and I am sure you will too!

Would you like to read more about our students? Check out our website (Overview experiences – Students – Advanced Technology | University of Twente (