Vivienne (Nigeria), Foundation Programme
I believe all the experiences I have had here has made me a lot more prepared for success than anyone who will join the bachelor immediately after high school

How did you first hear about the FP?

It was more like FP found me first. I chose to study at Maastricht University for various reasons including the fact that many of the specializations and experiences that were offered in the Economics and Business Economics programme interested me. So, I started my application process to UM. I was informed that I didn't meet some of the requirements necessary from my chosen programme and I was referred to the Foundation programme. I immediately applied and now I’m here - about to complete my last classes and start my 1st year as an EBE bachelor student.

How has the FP helped you to feel more comfortable with your preparation for Maastricht University?

Definitely, I can say with complete confidence that it has helped me become a lot more aware of and confident in my academic and personal life/adulting skills. I'm about to complete the foundation programme and I recall how I was when I just came to Maastricht; I had to do a lot of practical things for the first time while preparing for classes, making new friends, and adjusting to life on my own in a new country. I feel it has been a year well spent. I believe all the experiences I have had here (like PBL tutorials, writing academic papers and later on converting to online learning because of Corona) has made me a lot more prepared for success than anyone who will join the bachelor immediately after high school. I have also been fortunate to meet with and have meaningful conversations with other students that are already studying in my bachelor's programme. So, I really have exposure from their side because I know the courses that they had to study for and some of the challenges that they had to face. I'm better prepared to face similar challenges because I'm aware of them now. In September as well I will not have my attention divided between settling in Maastricht and having classes. I can completely focus on starting off properly with my courses.

Least favorite part?

I mean, PBL can be a double-edged sword, it's helpful to me, since I enjoy/benefit from an interactive class; as the students, we have a more active role to play sometimes than our teachers in tutorials and it can be frustrating, time-consuming and a little awkward sometimes if we're discussing the particularly challenging topic that we don't have sufficient knowledge on or is just too complicated or we are not analyzing the problem properly.

What is it like learning in an international classroom?

It's really interesting to see how everyone from more than 30 different cultures has a different answer and it doesn't mean that maybe their answer is wrong, it's just probably from a different perspective from what they know. So it helps to become more open to ideas that you wouldn’t have thought of living in your own personal bubble. It's interesting to figure out your own placement in that type of class. Do you need to be a little bit more outspoken or do you need to be a little bit more quiet and observant to see how things work out.

What does a typical day look like for you at the FP and how has that changed since the corona crisis?

So my typical day at the foundation programme, I have tutorials about 3 times a week, usually in the afternoon (which is great since I’m a morning summer) for 2 hours each. So when I wake up in the morning and get ready, I have my breakfast and probably do some leftover studying for my tutorial at about 30/40 minutes before class start, I start my 10 min walk to the FP building, sometimes I meet with my friend along the way and we would walk to the foundation programmes building, there I hang out either in my classroom or in the common room with others until its 10min before class/ lecture. After class, if I didn’t have any additional meetings, I would catch a bus (Yes, I'm still learning how to bike, so I can bike there, but biking is always the best option if you can) and go to UM sports. After my workout session, I’d study there for a couple of hours before returning home, eating, studying some more, and ending my day.

Now, during the Corona pandemic, not much has changed other than the fact that I have fewer tutorials and I don't commute to class or the gym. Instead, I usually have 2 zoom classes per week which I need to prepare for and another written assignment for either skills or academic writing that I need to submit. You'd think that classes would have become easier but they aren't, There is a lot of work to do, like writing papers, preparing for exams, zoom presentations, etc but I do have more time to jog in the morning, enjoy some of my hobbies at home, learn how to bike (finally!) explore Maastricht more and play tennis with my friend.

What has been the biggest difference you have noticed in your learning since entering the FP?

Independence/self motivation/self reliance! It's probably the biggest change I have developed. In high school obviously my parents had a huge role in encouraging me to study and yeah to pass my classes but in the foundation programmme now that I have to be my own cheerleader and time manager, to ensure I can have meaningful and interactive tutorials and ultimately pass all my exams; Even more now, when we have switched to online learning, I need to set up my own schedule and stick to it to meet up with my deadlines. I have as well become more confident and open to asking for and giving help. I have a weekly group study session with my friends, and it’s so helpful to motivate each other, teach, and learn from one another.

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