As told before, I am currently taking some courses at the Department of Geography at Radboud University. The first course I took was about rapid urbanization and its consequences like the development of slums, which ironically the students have only seen in movies and documentaries. But I could relate to it at as I have experienced slums myself in Eritrea. I hope that someday I can help solve some of those problems with good education.
The opportunity to take classes started with a simple conversation with one of the editors of Vox, Mathijs Noij. When he was distributing the special Vox for refugees at the Heumensoord camp, I went to him and asked if it was possible to attend some courses at Radboud University because life at the camp is boring, where you have to sit down all day doing nothing. He asked me whether I followed higher education in my country. I told him I have a degree in geography. He was surprised to hear this, because he too graduated in geography. Mathijs told me then he would look into it and ask the Geography Department at Radboud University if there are any courses that I could attend.
After one week he was able to find me a course in urban planning with the help of researcher Kolar Aparna and Dr. Olivier Kramsch, to whom I am grateful for providing me this opportunity. I was both excited and nervous at the same time about how the students would react to my presence. My first impression when I entered the classroom was how large the room is. Another thing is that every student has a laptop with an internet connection. The lecture is given using a beamer, whereas in my country the teacher uses blackboards to write notes and explain while the students take notes in a textbook in small classrooms.
Another difference is how the class is conducted. I found it more open here, as the lecturer takes time to listen to some ideas of the students and gives feedback and answers. What I am used to in Eritrea is that the lecturers are like conductors orchestrating what the students study and say. It was a give-and-take relation where the teachers feed you knowledge and you swallow it without complaint. I think the difference in education is like two different worlds aiming at the same goal.