Saxion University of Applied Sciences is one of the biggest and the best universities of applied sciences in the Netherlands. It offers its students practice oriented education. The program Creative Media and Game Technologies, which is a combination of digital technologies, game design and animation is very popular and demanded among international students. That is why we present you an interview with an international student in this program, Rania Zouganeli. Rania will tell you more about the core of the program, what can you study in it, is it easy to find a job after graduation and all tiny details which of course worry you before going to the Netherlands :)
Can you tell us more about yourself? What do you study?
My name is Rania and I am from Greece. I am 20 years old and studying in the Netherlands. I am a person who has always been interested both in the arts and social sciences. Two years ago, I started studying social sciences at the UK, but I quit after one semester. I realized that I wasn’t satisfied neither with what I was studying, nor with where I lived. That’s why I decided to take a gap semester and try to figure out what I am passionate about. I knew that I had to make use of my creativity and that’s why I started researching about the opportunities of studying art. However, as the world evolves, I was interested in taking my art one step further and integrate it with technology. This is why I ended up at Saxion University of Applied Sciences, studying Art and Technology.
How did you find out about the program Creative Media and Game Technologies?
As mentioned above, when I started looking for Fine arts degrees in the Netherlands, I thought that it would be interested to integrate technology with art. However, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to specialize in something like digital design or photography. Therefore, I just googled “art and technology studies in the Netherlands” and then I found out about Saxion, since it was the only university which provided such a course, with such a title (part of the program was named Art&Technology before).
Fun fact, 4 years ago, I had visited Enschede because I went to see the University of Twente. So, Enschede was already familiar to me and at the same time, my two best friends were studying in this city.
What do you like most about your program and university?
What I love the most is that my studies are very practical since Saxion University embraces problem-based learning. In this way, I can actually practice what I am learning and gain experience. I don’t have to learn things by heart and personally, I find it more efficient when I learn by doing. Furthermore, I like the fact that every 10 weeks we start new courses and so we get to learn many different things in a small amount of time. This might be scary sometimes because one can feel that he/she doesn’t master any skill, but on the other hand one can become great in many different things because he/she has the necessary knowledge to do so. Lastly, I love that I have the freedom to choose the concepts of my projects. I like that because I can implement my interest of social sciences in my work: e.g. I am interested in education and I create interactive experiences which can make the process of learning more fun and efficient.
As far as the university is concerned, I like that the scale is small, i.e. in my class we are usually 15-18 students and maximum sometimes 30. Professors know our names and are close to us. They help us and guide us all the time. Moreover, it’s a university with many international students, which is something that I was looking for.
Why do you think your program has big perspectives in the future?
I believe that technology dominates the world in which we live in. Art also plays an important role in society, since it exists everywhere. If we are talking about gaming, the concept design, the creation of the characters and the creation of the visuals, is art and technology is the means which realizes those ideas. If one wants to talk about social media, he/she has to combine persuasion techniques which could be related to the design of an app, with coding. Therefore, technology and art exist within everything. It’s a field which is never going to fade out.
How did you choose this course among others?
As I said before, it was a course that combines many different disciplines. I realized that since I didn’t know – and I still don’t know – what it is that I actually want to do, it would be better to experiment with different fields. Art and technology was the only degree that I found offering what I wanted. It gives students the opportunity to learn many new things in 2 years and then emphasize on what they want by doing internships, a minor and a major.
Do you have any plans for your future career? What would you like to do with it?
I have SO MANY PLANS! I can see myself in many different industries. Ideally, I want to own my own business. However, there are so many things I have to explore in order to be able to do so. For the time being, my plan is to work in various different companies around the world, do a minor in fashion, communication and management and step by step, realize my dreams.
Imagine you are choosing a place to study now. What would you share with future students to convince them that your program is number one?
Well, to be honest I wouldn’t say that creative media and game technologies is the number one program. Everyone has a different opinion about it and everyone is looking for something different. For me, yes it is number one. That is because it suits my character. I enjoy working on projects, both individually and with others. I love to experiment with many different subjects, techniques, materials etc. I want to create concepts that trigger my interests and develop my ideas. I like the freedom that the University provides me. I am creative, but I also believe in science. I believe in art and technology, innovation and tradition, authenticity and passion. I believe that this is the right degree for me. If you share the same beliefs, then please, join this program!
Can you tell us more about job statistics in the field of digital media, art and technology? Is it easy to find a job?
Well, the demand for knowledgeable digital marketing professionals is growing exponentially. I haven’t worked anywhere yet, so I am not sure about how easy it is to get a job. However, I am currently looking for companies to apply for one and I realized that there are many opportunities around the world. Organizations which are looking for innovative, art and technology students.
What is the structure of the program? Do you have any internships?
As mentioned before, I am currently looking for a job because next year, I will have to do an internship for a semester. For my graduation project, instead of writing a research thesis, I will have to do a project in a company. Thus, when studying art and technology, one gets to spend 1 year in a real working environment. Along with that, we have the option to do a minor on our 3rd year after our internship. However, if one wants, it’s possible to do a second internship.
Is it difficult to study Creative Media and Game Technologies? Was it difficult for you to apply?
I believe that all studies are hard. You cannot expect that you will go to the university and relax. However, if you are passionate about your studies, your experience will be much more pleasant. It can be hard, because I need to be really motivated, well organized and disciplined. That is because you have to work on a lot of projects at the same time, within 8 weeks. It seems like a lot of time, but it actually isn’t. As far as the application is concerned, I didn’t face any difficulties. It was a very different application because I had to create a digital portfolio and do a skype interview, but it was an exciting experience.
Can you tell us more about the student life in Enschede? Are there many international students?
Enschede is the perfect city for a student. There are three universities located in this area making it a vibrant and multi-cultural community. It offers everything a larger city would offer but at the same time, it’s much smaller, very safe and calm place.
Do you work as a student? Do you know anyone in Enschede that has a student job? How did they find it?
This year I started working as an ambassador for Saxion which is a very flexible job. Many students are working in restaurants and delivery companies and some even do a part time job in companies. It might be challenging if you don’t speak Dutch, but if you really want to work, you will be able to find something.