Many of you, who’ve already heard of colleges, may have already asked the same question. What is Liberal Arts and Sciences? Well, it actually isn’t a subject. Universities like Harvard and UChicago have this type of curriculum. It’s a certain type of curriculum where you are required to take courses outside your major discipline. You are essentially giving up specialized knowledge for a broader viewpoint on the workings of society. In other words, range over accuracy. I believe doing so has been one of the best decisions in my life. It is only in LAS curriculum that you understand how complex and interrelated all sectors of society and fields of study are. Being involved with different fields shows you how different yet similar the thinking styles of the different disciplines are, and this is something that changes your view of life.
I must admit, coming to the Netherlands to get a Liberal Arts and Sciences degree from a College that’s in its third year of operation isn’t the first idea that came to my mind. It is all too common for people to overlook possibilities in Europe out of fear of having to learn new languages. But this is a much smaller problem than being in a conservative community with few international students, which is usually what happens in countries like the US. I can gladly admit I was welcome with open arms and have managed to blend in surprisingly well. The number of international students is remarkable in places such as UCG. The courses are diverse and the management is friendly and cooperative. There is really nothing more I could ask for.
If there is anything I would like you to take from my writing, it is don’t be afraid to go with your gut. Learning a variety of subjects in a Liberal Arts environment has given me more time to think critically about what direction I want to go in life. It is not always a good decision to jump into a specialized program if you are not sure it is what you want to study. You might end up making the worst decision of your life. Furthermore, specialized educations usually have little value until you master them, but LAS can allow you to take a broad range of Masters (assuming you took the correct courses in your bachelor). If you feel that you’d rather see what’s out rather than specializing early, you should do so. Although this isn’t a curriculum everyone will enjoy, it is something that is worthwhile to have a look at!
- Jovana Plotnikova, first year ambassador at UCG