At University College Groningen (UCG), there are a few courses that you mandatorily have to follow. This is to give students a broad basis of academic skills to make sure they have the perfect basis in order to follow other bachelors and masters in the future. In this mandatory curriculum, there’s courses such as Research & Methodology (conducting basic research), Academic Workshops (for example, debating and team building), and Project Work. This Project Work is a vital part of the mandatory curriculum at UCG, because UCG is very passionate about teaching students how to work together in (interdisciplinary) working groups and learn how to conduct research whilst working in groups. Therefore, project work is a big part of the every-day academic life at UCG.
In the first year, you begin your project work with one 8-week project in Block 1 during Challenges of Modern Society. This entails projects concerning three subjects: society, economics, and sciences. You can choose in which subject you would like to do your project in and then the work begins. It only lasts eight weeks, so it is a small project. This gives you the chance to get acquainted with the art of project work and learn how to properly work in teams. Working in small groups for a longer time is really something you have to get used to and this first block gives you the opportunity to get introduced to this way of doing projects and team work.
The second project you will do will be in the rest of the first year, so during the second, third, and fourth block. This is a 30-week project, so the first long-term project of your bachelor. This is a very fruitful experience that gives you an enormous amount of new insights and experiences. A long-term project is something special you really have to get used to, but when you’re doing it correctly, the results are amazing. Subjects of the projects are, for example, helping refugees in Groningen, understanding Groningen via research, improving the health of citizens, making an understandable game about the energy transition to sustainable energy, solving world problems through genetic manipulation, and investigating nuclear waste. Same as in the first block, you can choose in which project you would like to participate and how you would do it. UCG really focusses on giving students ownership about their project work, so any additional changes or ideas about projects are always welcome. This gives you the opportunity to customize the projects and, in fact, the entire curriculum to something perfect for you. If you like the idea of investigating nuclear waste, you can do that. If you’re more interested in social sciences, you can follow the project concerning refugees or Groningen citizens.
Right now, we’re at the end of our first year, so we’re working really hard on finishing our project for the presentation day. At this presentation day, each project presents their project to the other students of UCG and show everyone what they did during the year. I’m currently in the Energy Transition project about making an understandable game about the energy transition towards sustainable energy and we’re finishing the game in order to be able to present it to everyone in a few weeks. The game is meant to make people more aware about the complexity of the energy transition and hopefully bring some insight into the many actions needed in order to achieve sustainability. We first had a research phase, in which we obtained knowledge about everything concerning the energy transition, such as the policy, the technology, the consumer behaviour, and possible risks in that area. Afterwards, we tried to conform this into something applicable in the game. Now, we have developed a game in which all of this knowledge is used to display a realistic mirror of the energy transition game. The end result, which is the game, really shows the effort and research put into the project, which is very fruitful and rewarding to see. Project work is a very useful experience which provides you with a lot of experiences and skills. I’m very excited for the presentation day to present our game to everyone!
By Josien Scholing