You know, it’s true what they say; absence doth make the heart grow fonder – and here I am, back at Fontys International Business School ( Fontys Venlo ) (http://fontysvenlo.nl/en/) ready to tackle the final year of my degree in International Business Economics; with a fresh energy and impetus to succeed.
I’m really glad to be here, which is a sentiment that seems to break the mold set by many of my peers. Sure, it’s a bit glum to be back in familiar surroundings after an exciting year spent traveling the world as part of our studies, but in life it’s important to see the positives in every situation. I’m psyched to be back and eager to take on fresh challenges. It’s also important to utilize every opportunity that you’re presented with on a day-to-day basis, and one such opportunity revolves around the amazing location of Venlo. It feels like we’re right in the heart of Western Europe with great transportation links to many major cities.. From here I’m just a stones throw away from Paris, Brussels, Geneva, Berlin, Copenhagen and many other popular destinations – so there’s always that! For this upcoming semester I’ve got my fair share of travel booked into the diary. As well as a couple of scheduled trips that I have to the US, Hong Kong and Japan, I plan to travel more within Europe and visit the remaining countries that I’m yet to set foot in (Portugal, Ireland, Scandinavia and the Baltic region).
Another of the main reasons I’m so excited to be back in Venlo is that it’s so incredible to finally be able to connect with all the people who I haven’t seen for well over a year. One of the best things about the program of study here at Fontys is that we get to spend a whole year abroad (if we choose to) studying both a minor at one of the dozens of partner university dotted around the globe and also we get to complete a work placement at a company of our choosing. This opportunity just blows my mind, because not only does it afford us some magnificent experiences – paving the way for our respective career paths and futures – but it also allows for some insane travel related fun, hitting the open road, often with nothing but your backpack and your unique sense of adventure. Comparing the available options provided by a university like Fontys, to a university in the UK, is just crazy. When I studied in the UK I found it really hard to find information about study programs abroad or about internship openings – yet here at Fontys it’s not only actively encouraged, it’s actually compulsory!
It’s really refreshing to see that since I embarked on my year abroad, Fontys Venlo has improved their services for students even more than they did before, offering great sporting activities and brilliant discounts in the city centre through student cards – as well as numerous organized parties throughout the semester. The housing situation has also tightened for the better, with a new checkpoint outpost proving to be a huge success when helping new students settle into their surroundings and get everything tied up in terms of jobs they need to complete upon arrival. An influx of new lecturers and a revised program of study for many of the universities courses has also lead to an improved levels of teaching – which is another refreshing change.
So what are my plans for this semester at Fontys Venlo?
Well as I mentioned before, I intend to travel as much as my studies allow – and of course, I intend to continue to document these adventures on this blog. Late last year I set myself a target of visiting 15 new countries annually and so far this year I’ve already been to 17. I’m hoping to get this country count up to about 22 or 23 by the end of this year, which would take my overall country tally up to 43 or 44.
Also, I’ve signed up to become a student mini-company coach for the semester, which if I am successful, will mean I would be present during some second year students mini-company project – offering my advice and ‘expertise’ as a previous General Manager of my own mini-company period two years ago. I do hope I’m selected as I think it’s a really valuable aspect of student life here and gives every student attending the university a chance to learn what it’s like to create their own business. Acting as a coach would in many ways feel like being a business consultant – something which might be nice to have on my CV.
Another cool thing which I aim to be working on for the entirety of this semester is that I will be collaborating on a regular basis with my friend Thanasap (Bank) as we seek to create lots of video content. We’ll be featuring videos on Fontys life, as well as funny shorts about random stuff that we think we might like. This will also give me the confidence to also produce travel related videos on some (if not all) of my upcoming trips. Time to ‘bite the bullet’ and really put myself out there. I’ve been nervous about the hate I might receive, but I guess it’s true about that old expression that ‘there’s no such thing as bad press’ and if people want to be negative then it’ll all count towards growing my brand!
Anyway, that’s enough from me. I’m off to attend one of those aforementioned parties! I’ll let you know how it goes ;).
If you’d like to see a short video about Fontys and why it’s so awesome, please feel free to click one of the following link:
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