What's the Master's Geo-information Science and Earth Observation about?

I am Martijn Kuik, I am 23 years old, and I come from the southern province of the Netherlands. I studied Future Planet Studies at the University of Amsterdam, now I am following a Master in Spatial Engineering at ITC.

Why did you choose ITC?

I first came across Spatial Engineering at a master's market at the University of Amsterdam. I believe Victor Jetten was there, promoting the programme. 

I was very interested because my bachelor was very interdisciplinary, which was one aspect that I really liked. It was something that I looked for in a master's, but at the same time, I am a little bit more specialized, so a little bit more focused. Spatial Engineering offered just that, and with a focus on GIS which I found very interesting.

The international aspect also caught my attention because it differs from what I had before in high school and my bachelor's, and I was curious about what ITC could offer.

How do you like it so far?

I like it a lot. The first year is a little bit different than the second year. The first year you work a lot with each other on the projects, and that's when you get to know the international aspects, the way people from different countries work and how you have to adapt to that as well. 

The second year you work more by yourself, especially when Corona hit, you spent most of your time at home, and you didn't talk to other students that much, which was unfortunate, but it's just the way it is.

Why is it important to have multicultural classrooms?

The most interesting part of this master, because everyone works differently, is to see how people adapt to each other and how people grow over time; I think that’s really good.

People from different cultures were educated in very different ways, and that’s also something I learned. I didn’t realize the difference would be that big, but it’s very interesting to see because they all work differently.

How have you adapted to a multicultural classroom?

If you look at it from an academic perspective, in my bachelor I did a lot of English, so in that regard, it was not that different. Still, all students were Dutch, so during my master’s, I also had to adapt to how different people from different cultures operate.

There can be differences in communication or the way they handle projects or deadlines, and that is something you have to be open to. You don’t want to impose your way of working. 

The way of working at ITC and especially Spatial Engineering is to be open to giving what you think is right but also to receive from the other students and their perspectives and their specific way to do things because more often than not, it can benefit the way you work

What impact do you think this experience will have in your future career?

There’s definitely an influence. I see this master's as a training to be able to work in these very multicultural, very multidisciplinary environments. It has definitely encouraged me to be more open and accepting and understand why people work differently.

I think this experience can not only make you a better Spatial Engineer but a better person and a better professional in your career and your future.

What are your future plans?

I’ll see where the path takes me. I am open to a lot of things, and I’ll keep an open mind and see which opportunities arise.

I do have things that I would like to do. I like disaster and disaster response, disaster management which is also something that I am doing now for my internship and I did for my thesis.

Those are things that I am really interested in, but I also think you shouldn’t be too restrictive on the things you want to do, so that’s why I will see what comes my way and then I’ll start from there.