Ready… Set… Study!

Its been a whole week since we started our studies at Van Hall Larenstein and we have already had so much fun. Although the university here is quite a bit larger than we are used to back at SAMS, we have been happy to discover the atmosphere is very much the same. We can’t express enough how lovely and welcoming everybody has been to us, making sure we have everything we need and are understanding what we need to do.

Our class size is just 15 students, even smaller than back home! This means the lectures are really interactive and there’s already a great relationship between lecturer and students. Classes involve a lot of chatting and discussion, meaning you actually pay attention to what is going on!

Danielle working hard in one of the study huts

First class kicked off with introductions and then they jumped straight into setting all our assignments.

One of which is a group report comparing aspects of two Caribbean islands, such as environmental issues, economy and legislation. What we have been surprised about is how much feedback we have had from our lecturer; we have already had multiple one-on-one progress meetings to discuss where we are going with the report. This has been so useful considering we are new to their system and reassurance that we are on the right track is definitely needed, we have these progress meetings scheduled every week up until the deadline which is a VERY good way of making sure we don’t write the entire thing a week before…


The second assignment we have been set is to create an informative ‘poster’ which we have to present to the class about an island of our choice and the difficulties it faces. We have discovered that they are quite big on group work and presentations within this course which although daunting is probably going to be great practice for the future. (dissertation presentations we’re talking to you)

Because we are taking the minor in Sustainable Island Management we don’t have defined modules, but instead have various classes on different topics. Some of the topics we are covering are Life Histories, Tropical Ecology and Socio-Economics and we have been pleasantly surprised how well our two years at SAMS have set us up for what we are learning.

Being such a small class we thought it necessary to go for some introductory drinks with everybody, which was a a really great idea at the time. But when sat in a lab hungover cutting the guts out of a fish? maybe not. We took all sorts of measurements from our fish, then took out the gills and opened up the abdomen. Danielle’s opened up her Plaice to find two whole sackfuls of eggs which we looked at under the microscope!!


If you are a SAMS student reading this and are at all interested in coming to Van Hall, feel free to find us through the alumni page and send us a message to ask any questions!!

Until next time

Danielle and Ivy







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