Nieuwe website voor Delta

Een nieuw collegejaar, nieuwe studenten, dus een mooi moment om de nieuwe website van Delta te lanceren. Frisser, actueler, socialer en uitgebreider.

Op de nieuwe website ligt de nadruk op het laatste nieuws, met daarnaast natuurlijk alle artikelen uit de papieren krant. Voor grotere nieuwsthema’s maken we dossiers, die je vindt op de homepage of in de navigatiebalk onderaan iedere pagina. Wil je het nieuws in beeld zien, bekijk dan onze fotoreportages en video’s in de sectie In Beeld op de homepage.

De rubrieken in Delta zijn voortaan makkelijker te vinden. Halfway, apps, what’s cooking, om er een paar te noemen, vind je in respectievelijk de secties Science, Lifestyle en Internationale studenten. Ook het grote interview en het nieuwsinterview zijn apart terug te vinden, net als onze columnisten en brieven van onze lezers.

For the students and employees who don’t understand Dutch yet, we have made life a little easier. In the upper right corner of the website you can select ‘english only‘. This will show you only the articles on the Delta website that are written in English.

De Delta website is socialer geworden. Reageren op artikelen kon al, maar nu kun je een artikel direct delen op Facebook of Twitter. Op de homepage vind je een link naar de Facebookpagina en het Twitteraccount van Delta. ‘Like’ en volg ons!

De komende weken wordt nog gewerkt aan het goed overzetten van de oude website naar de nieuwe. Mocht je problemen op de website ondervinden of fouten tegenkomen, laat het ons alsjeblieft weten op delta@tudelft.nl of via de contactpagina.

Frank Nuijens, hoofdredacteur

If Qiushi Zhu’s TU Delft academic career were a Formula 1 race, then this young man was ‘pedal to the metal’ all around the track and finished in the winner’s circle. Having left his home in Shenzhen, China, to enroll in TU Delft’s BSc aerospace engineering program at age 17, Zhu not only tore through his BSc degree in three years but also won a faculty scholarship to fund his MSc studies, which, unsurprisingly, he aced, graduating cum laude last summer at age 21, making him one of TU Delft’s youngest – if not the youngest – ever MSc graduates.

Zhu (22) is now a first-year PhD student at Eindhoven University of Technology, focusing on dynamic reliability analysis and inventory logistics. Meanwhile, a great debate rages in Dutch higher education: the government wants to save money by forcing Dutch university students to finish their studies quicker. Many students say no way, impossible. 
But given Zhu’s impressively rapid and successful academic progression, he’s a veritable ‘Poster Boy’ for those arguing that Dutch university students can and should graduate faster than the 7.2 years average it currently takes Delft’s Dutch students to complete their BaMa degrees.

Why were you awarded that MSc scholarship from TU Delft?
“The scholarship was given to a non-EU student who not only displayed excellent academic performance but was also involved in other activities besides studying – so not just for book nerds. I was on the BSc honours track and also participated in the famous ‘Super Bus’ project.”

What was a highlight of your TU Delft academic career?
“Being invited to give a 30-minute presentation about my MSc graduation project in front of academic leaders and industry gurus at the 2010 Air Transport & Operation Symposium. My project contained dynamic reliability and cost-effectiveness analysis, logistics and inventory optimization, which is very innovative. I did my project at Fokker Services, and now Fokker plans to use my project’s results and model to change its technical strategies. That definitely had a big, positive impact!”

Leaving home alone at such a young age must’ve been hard.
“It was hard in the beginning. All alone in a completely strange environment – you feel helpless. I’ve been through lots of difficulties, but they made me grow up faster, become more mature and responsible for myself.”

What drives you to succeed so quickly?
“I’m a goal-oriented person. When I have a goal, nothing can stop me from achieving it. Moreover, for internationals students paying 9,000 euros per year tuition, the financial burden is heavier than for Dutch students who pay only 1,500. That’s a reason to finish as soon as possible.” 

Do you feel that one should generally achieve as quickly as possible?
“It depends. Some people enjoy student life more, partly owing to the government’s financial support – student grants, free OV-transport cards, etc. But life is short. I feel I should maximize my youth on something more meaningful than drinking beers all day. I also drink beers, but not as much as some other students do. Maybe I’m a bit utilitarian, but epicurean isn’t my interest at this young age.” 

Do you think Dutch students are right in wanting to devote lots of time to social activities, thus slowing their academic progression?
“It’s not a question of absolute right or wrong. Education is diverse. The definition of a good student isn’t only passing exams with high grades, but also about being good observers, problem-solvers and team players. But long study duration is indeed a major financial burden for the Dutch government.”

Some Dutch students say their social lives – joining fraternities, clubs, etc. – are vital aspects of student life, helping them to network when entering the job market?
“I also had good social life at TU Delft. I have friends, drink beers, but also know how to prioritize and organize my life, know when to party and when not to. It’s all about achieving balance between social life and study.”

Any advice for Dutch university students?
“Use your time more effectively. Prioritize your activities. But of course balancing one’s life is a big ‘study’, which may take an entire lifetime to learn.”

Are Dutch students ‘slow’ because the government is paying the bill?
“Dutch students do benefit from this financial support; they can afford to be more relaxed, take student life for granted. If the government cuts student grant duration to seven years, for example, Dutch students would work harder and graduate in six years.”

So for international students, financial pressure drives academic progression?
“Yes, finances are a big issue for us, but not totally dominating. My parents had sufficiently prepared a fund for my education, so I felt no great financial pressure. But still, 9,000 euros per year only for tuition is huge for any family.”

What’s the situation like in China?
“Financial support for university students is very limited. Most students are self-funded. Nevertheless, top students always get scholarships; hence, better academic performance leads to less financial pressure.”

If a university student in China took eight years to graduate, would employers hold this against him?
“Definitely, employers would be very curious about the reasons behind this ‘abnormal’ study duration. If you couldn’t come up with a good ‘story’, you’d have serious problems finding a job.”

If someday you’re hiring, how would you regard such ‘slow’ studying students?
“If I were hiring fresh graduates, I’d definitely choose the ‘fast’ students, since they’re more goal-oriented, pressure-bearable and aggressive.”

Does the Chinese government penalise students who don’t progress quickly enough?
“The government doesn’t penalize students, but society does. Again, employers are much less interested in fresh graduates with 7-8 years study duration.”

Are the Chinese students studying abroad harder workers, better students than those studying at China’s national universities?
“Most Chinese students studying abroad are the ‘above-average’ students in China. There are indeed many ‘less smart’ students in China, but China’s university entrance exams are very difficult; therefore, the students allowed to enter university after passing these exams are already better than average.”

Any advice for the Dutch minister of education?
“Perhaps raise the standard of Dutch university entrance exams, so that the overall quality of students improves and they’ll graduate faster.”

Redacteur Redactie

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