Rafael, or Raf as his friends call him, is native to Graz, a medium-sized city in southeast Austria which boasts one of the country’s oldest universities. Interested in a more international education, however, Raf decided to pursue a degree outside of his native land. The Netherlands was one of several countries in which he was interested in studying, though Raf admits he knew almost nothing about the country other than its bike, cheese and blond hair stereotypes. Since arriving in Apeldoorn in October, Raf’s perception of the Netherlands has already changed in a number of ways.
Raf joined Wittenborg after working several months in Austria in the health care industry. Prior to that, he was a high school exchange student in West Chester, Pennsylvania (USA) thus he brings both the professional and educational experience characteristic of many Wittenborg students. These experiences also made the transition to his studies at Wittenborg quite smooth. Raf says he enjoys the freedom that university life offers and that business classes come quite naturally to him. “Business just makes sense” he says when asked why he chose this particular field; “My family has always been involved in business and I have always been around a business community.” It seems fitting that Raf plans to begin his career in sales or event management, depending on what opportunities his studies and network afford him. Would he like to stay in the Netherlands? “It depends,” he replies, noting that in the business world it’s not just what you know, but who you know. He does like the straight-forward and direct nature of the Dutch, however.
Apeldoorn has proven a bit different than the other cities Raf has lived in. When he first arrived he was surprised to see how picturesque the city is. Apeldoorn is “quite pretty” he says, the houses reminding him of the kind one reads about in fairytales. Raf also quickly discovered the convenient location that Apeldoorn offers in relation to other cities, already having visited Amsterdam, Amersfoort, Deventer and Utrecht. The relative number of students in a city is, of course, a very important factor in choosing a place to live for many Wittenborg students. Raf is no exception to this, and he hopes that Apeldoorn will improve accessibility to student housing in the coming years to attract even more students.
Naturally a bright student, Raf thinks he may also study medicine someday in the UK or elsewhere. A business degree may indeed offer a competitive advantage to students applying for post-bachelor studies in either related or unrelated fields. What is Raf’s advice for students currently working on their IBA degrees? “Attend class,” he advises, noting that classroom hours are a valuable time in which lecturers can elaborate on study materials and provide extra examples to help students with more difficult material. Sound advice from a student well on the path to success.
Interviewer - Andy Fekete, Wittenbrg University's Student Support and Front Desk Manager