After my initial plans for the summer fell through I began to think of alternative ways to spend my summer and soon decided that I wanted to try a summer school. Once I had my mind set on going to Summer School the next task was to decide on a University and a Course. As a Human Geography Student I was keen to find a course that would not only help with my current degree but would also be useful for the future and provide an exciting new experience for myself. As soon as I came across the Qualitative Methods Summer School Course at Radboud University I knew this was the course for me!
In August I set off to The Netherlands for the start of the course. I was slightly nervous because I didn’t know anyone else going, or what to expect, but also excited for the opportunity that lay ahead.
On arrival in Nijmegen, I was greeted by student helpers at the station, and along with other summer school participants we made our way to the university to register, collect bikes and settle in to the accommodation. On the first evening there was a Welcome Reception for the summer school, where we were able to meet other participants and the lecturers for the week.
The following morning they hosted an Opening Ceremony and then we began the course. I found the course really interesting and it definitely provided me with a greater understanding of Qualitative Methods, such as Interview coding and visual analysis. On my course there were people from all over the world and at all different levels of education, ranging from Undergraduates like myself to PHD students. I really enjoyed mixing with such a diverse range of people and hearing about their different educational backgrounds and current research.
Each evening there were organised activities or we were able to explore Nijmegen as we wished. I really enjoyed being able to explore and found that Nijmegen was a lovely city to walk around. One evening, myself and one of the other students on my course spent a lovely evening walking around the city centre and the river bank.
Prior to leaving for The Netherlands, I had found some lovely looking parks with ruins, towers and water features that I really wanted to explore, so one evening I went out to find these parks. The parks were lovely and peaceful and offered beautiful views of the river!
On the final day we had the Closing Ceremony were we were all given our certificates followed by farewell drinks. This was a lovely way to end the week and also talk to the lecturers in a more informal setting, which provided me with some useful tips for my dissertation and also further study. Following this, myself and three of my friends from the course decided to go out for pancakes and beer. Since we were in The Netherlands and had not eaten pancakes at all during the week, we decided that this was an absolute must, and despite the rain we had a great time!
My return flight to the UK did not leave until the Saturday Afternoon, so I decided to leave Nijmegen in the morning and spend the day exploring Amsterdam. Having spent a week in Amsterdam for fieldwork back in March I was keen to experience different parts of the city and I found a lovely park and juice bar to the North West of the city. I also found a lovely floating walkway on the river where I spent an enjoyable time watching the boats go by.
I really enjoyed my time at Radboud Summer School and making lots of new friends. I would really recommend the experience to anyone!