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Liberal arts and sciences (taught in English): continental Europe, Netherlands?

(23 Posts)
shockthemonkey Wed 04-May-16 18:32:57

I am trying to advise a friend whose DD has a hearing impairment. She is studying in France for OIB, in line to get about 13 out of 20 (roughly equates to BBB at A level).

She needs a small, nurturing environment where she can study a liberal arts and sciences pathway in English. If they can make any accommodations for her hearing then this would be a huge plus.

I have seen some interesting places in the Netherlands (AUC, GUC for instance) that look very promising but don't know their international standing. The family is not too hung up on this aspect but would be interested to know.

Also, the mother wants to know whether Sweden or Switzerland might offer anything. I see nothing in Switzerland for her, and know nothing about Sweden.

Does anyone have any first-hand knowledge?

Needmoresleep Wed 04-May-16 19:01:23

Hi Shock, I don't know about Europe but have heard very good things about pastoral carre at Buckingham, the private university. It is more expensive obviously, but is on a campus and from what I have heard has more of the atmosphere of an American Liberal Arts College. Certainly the person who told me this was very grateful for the one to one support given to her slightly vulnerable child (with a chronic illness) and their willingness to liaise with parents. More importantly the child enjoyed their time there and graduated with a good degree.

shockthemonkey Wed 04-May-16 19:18:26

Thank you sleep! Definitely useful info. Worth storing away if they decide they want the UK.

lavenderdoilly Wed 04-May-16 19:22:26

If your is UK citizen (or her Dd is) they needs to consider the situation if UK leaves the EU (sorry to bring it up).It may be less easy for UK citizens to access HE in EU countries post Brexit.

welshpixie Wed 04-May-16 19:36:09

Hi, my DD seriously looked at AUC, ( also looked at Utrecht but was not as keen) we had a tour around and I was highly impressed with their set up. It is a new college so no real reputation to go on, but everyone we met was friendly and I suspect it would be very nurturing environment. The students live and work in a very small area about a 2 minute walk from halls to study centre ( the library and study rooms were outstanding) I can't comment on the hearing problem not having this issue but I would suspect they would be very accommodating. HTH

shockthemonkey Thu 05-May-16 13:26:11

Thank you pixie, extremely helpful! lavender, she is French/US citizen so Brexit does not worry her (but does worry me!).

I am going to tell the mum that a visit of AUC is highly recommended. I have sent AUC a qn about the hearing thing and they've told me they'll get back to me next week (it's a slow week in France with Ascenscion... maybe in Holland too).

lifeisunjust Mon 09-May-16 20:05:34

I'm sure you could do liberal arts in Scotland where it is fees free for EU students not resident in England/Wales/NI.

There are loads more choices for liberal arts in Netherlands.

shockthemonkey Tue 10-May-16 10:14:00

Thanks, Life. I will certainly look at Scottish unis if they decide they'll consider UK unis too.... and since I get the feeling that funds won't be a problem, I will also throw in Buckingham as Sleep suggests.

I have seen the studyinholland site, thanks again. There are quite a few liberal arts colleges in Holland yes, but we want just the smaller ones that can offer a nurturing environment. AUC as well as the smaller colleges attached to Maastricht, Utrecht, and Middelburg... plus Roosevelt look to be the obvious short-list.

olympicfan Tue 30-Aug-16 19:44:12

My DD has looked round a couple of Dutch universities this summer- AUC and Utrecht UC - and was very impressed by the Liberal Arts courses, accommodation and university colleges in general.

Are Liberal Arts courses highly regarded and how will employers view a degree from a European university? We are really struggling how to advise her. We would like to pay the tuition fees and living costs up front. 3-4K plus living costs is doable, but the UK 9K plus living costs is not. So she can have a debt free degree, but will it be worth the paper its written on?

Dunlurking Wed 31-Aug-16 07:38:35

olympicfan it is difficult to answer your questions as Liberal Arts degrees aren't, as yet, established in this country. The first graduates in it from UK universities haven't hit the jobs market yet as these courses have only just been started in many universities here.

Maybe someone else can answer the question of the worth of a degree from a European university and those you've linked to.

My ds starts the new Liberal Arts degree course at a top 10 UK university in a few weeks time. They are promised internships and lots of projects and presentation work with UK companies and the university has researched thoroughly what employers are looking for from new graduates. We are just keeping our fingers crossed that the reputation of the university and the content of the degree will help sell the graduates to employers. I can say that the course director sang the praises of manyEuropean Liberal Arts courses to us at an open day and said, indeed encouraged, the prospective students to take up offered opportunities for exchanges to these universities. I'm afraid I can't remember specific universities mentioned.
Hope that is helpful.

olympicfan Sat 03-Sep-16 08:13:49

I have a friend whose DS has a place at Bristol to do Liberal Arts. The course structure looks very different to the ones on offer in the Netherlands. The entry requirements are very high too, so they must be aiming it at high calibre students. It will be interesting to see how these degrees take off in the UK.

bojorojo Sat 03-Sep-16 14:47:50

Just to clarify - Buckingham is not a campus university. Accommodation and faculties are spread around Buckingham, but are no great distance apart. They just call them 'campus' on the website. The university does not have a separate campus on the outskirts. The courses there are full time with no long holidays and normally 2 years duration. As I grew up in the area I can assure you it is boredom central and really offers a limited student experience (no cinema, no theatre, no fun) and the vast majority of the 6th formers from the local grammar school give it a big swerve! Depends what you want but Bristol would win hands down over Buckingham for most students but I don't know how flexible Buckingham is on grades.

SolomanDaisy Sat 03-Sep-16 14:54:37

The liberal arts programmes at Dutch universities are mostly pretty new, but the universities themselves have good international reputations. I'm not so sure about the pastoral care element. In particular there isn't a tradition of halls where you'll be guaranteed accommodation in the first year. It might be worth looking at Twente, which has its own campus and on campus accommodation.

Bountybarsyuk Sat 03-Sep-16 15:43:00

I know two people who went to Buckingham, one for an UG degree, one for PG and both loved it. It's very quaint as an area and may be small/self-contained, but if you are from another country and want to make friends with people from around the world and get support for English Language if you need it, then it's great. Milton Keynes is fairly nearby for entertainment.

Bountybarsyuk Sat 03-Sep-16 15:45:31

It also appears to top the student satisfaction rankings and is the Times/Sunday Times uni of the year this year.

I don't work there, honest! I work at RG uni, but I think small can be beautiful if additional pastoral care is needed.

dotnet Sat 03-Sep-16 16:21:16

It wouldn't hurt to look at the website of the University of Malta? I believe all their courses will be in English; you could see if there's anything which would suit. The Maltese are lovely warm people, and probably would be supportive if this student were accepted on to a course there.

olympicfan Sat 03-Sep-16 17:42:27

AUC and Utrecht guarantee accommodation for all 3 years. Interestingly, AUC give you a room with an en suite and a small kitchenette- but that is it! You have to buy your own bed, desk, wardrobe, tin opener etc. Most students get an IKEA delivery and then have fun helping each other to assemble it. Utrecht has a more traditional hall of residence set-up.

SolomanDaisy Sat 03-Sep-16 20:10:43

That's interesting olympic, is that just for Liberal Arts? I've been told by lots of people that there are accommodation problems at most universities.

olympicfan Sat 03-Sep-16 20:33:05

Yes - Liberal Arts is offered at the University Colleges that are slightly more expensive 3700 euros a year rather than 1900 euros. They are academically selective, whereas universities are not (as long as you get the minimum requirement Dutch unis have to accept you- however for medicine etc a weak student would not get an offer- it is similar to the old system at Oxford, where you were an excellent student and they wanted you you would get a minimum offer... 2 grade Es)

The university colleges are part of the universities and share a campus, facilities, etc but require students to live on campus for most of their studies. (This is what I have gleaned from reading the websites)

SolomanDaisy Sat 03-Sep-16 20:45:47

I knew all about the new Liberal Arts courses (live near one), but I had no idea about the different accommodation requirements.

olympicfan Sat 03-Sep-16 21:12:48

Do you live in the Netherlands?

haybott Sat 03-Sep-16 21:23:35

The university colleges are mildly academically selective. They still don't get that many strong applications so the selection criteria aren't particularly strict. Dutch students get in with grades we would equate to Bs, although many of the Dutch students going there do have stronger grade profiles. By contrast, although the regular Dutch university courses are not selective on entrance, they can often have high standards and push students out after failing the first year. It would not be true to say that academic standards are higher at the colleges than at the parent universities (the opposite, in general).

It is however the case that the completion rate within 3 years is higher at the colleges - there is not the culture of retaking particular lecture courses another year, taking a year's worth of credits over two years, that is common at the universities. I.e. The colleges are much more similar to US colleges, and to the UK system, that to the European system.

One thing to be cautious about with Maltese universities is that they are very low ranked by international standards, which strongly affects the quality and content of their courses. The wealthiest/most educated Maltese often don't themselves study at home for this reason.

SolomanDaisy Sat 03-Sep-16 21:36:39

Yes I do olympic.

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