November 30, 2011

Help, I have to present

Tomorrow I have 3 presentations at one day! Since I do not like to present, Im not looking forward to it. I hope that day will go by soon..

But I do not understand why I do not like to present. Or do not like, I better say that I am scared to death of presenting. The fact that I have three presentations tomorrow is keeping me from sleeping for almost week now.

I was wondering whether this would go away, or will I stay nervous when talking in public forever. (hope not!) How do I solve this? How do you deal with speaking in public? Guess I have to practise until I know it by heart, and than nothing can go wrong. But what if it goes wrong? I always have many notes with me, because I am so affraid of getting a black out. Here we go again with my worst case scenerios (I already have posted a blog on this topic) I have to stop thinking about worst case scenarios, and just go for it. Think about the best case scenarios! How hard can that be?

Today I have decided that I will approach it differently. I will only take bullet points on small cards with me tomorrow, for the very first time! Hopefully it will go so well that in the future I do not feel insecure or affraid anymore.

November 29, 2011

Challenge Day

Yesterday I gave my PD5 workshop with my team. Our workshop was called 'HES Challenge Day', after the MTV program. Our aim was to get everybody to share themselves more with our class, and to understand each other more.
We did funny warm up activities, a game called 'Cross the line' and one called 'If you really knew me'. It was very beneficial, as even if people don't talk about their most intimate secrets, you always find out things that you did not yet know even if it is as random as past jobs or hobbies.
I enjoyed myself, and I would encourage others to organize a similar event for their class as well. It might be nice to do so earlier in the year, as most people in my class are leaving for exchange soon and we will not be able to reap the benefits of our Challenge Day.
It could also help your class in improving cooperation during the teamwork activities.

November 25, 2011

Different culture different perception

As a matter of the fact, I do not want to go on exchange. I have been living in the Netherlands for three years, and I think staying in the Netherlands gives me more opportunity to learn something from European countries. I am coming from Asia and I have traveled to lots of countries over there, my country is Afghanistan located in the heart of Asia, I have gotten a bachelor in field of Macroeconomics and currently doing four years IM study in two years with some exemption of subjects. For me it is much better to learn about different European cultures. I probably would like to travel to some other part of the European countries for study or internship. I think in this world everyone is looking for different challenges, “Different culture different perception” some European like to travel to Asia and see the differences over there, whereas, most of Asian like to also travel to see what is going on the other part of the world and taste the cultural differences and social behaviors of other people. It is quite interesting to travel all over the world and think out of the box. There is an old Dari saying “ Be friend of someone who traveled a lot instead of being friend of someone who has money’’ it may not make proper sense when it is translated but it means ‘’ those who travel may have more experiences, of those who are only looking wealth and think in the box’’.

November 23, 2011

The new Intranet

Change is not always better. Maybe I'm just a little adverse to change.
however, the new Intranet (SIS) is not what I would call an improvement. I have not yet heard anyone say anything at all positive about SIS, which is not surprising to me.
The system is utterly confusing to me and no sufficient exaplanation has been given yet. Once the enrollment period had begun we received emails on how to enroll, all because nobody could manage it. No further information on the use or usefulness of SIS has been given as of yet, and it seems that proof of enrollment is not received until the enrollment period has closed, ensuring that when you find out that something has gone wrong it is subsequently too late to do anything about it! Anyway, enrollment closed last weekend and I still haven't received a proof of enrollment... Most teachers must be going crazy as well as they are being overloaded with emails from students who don't understand the system, whilst most of the faculty have not got the hang of it yet either.
I'm still wondering what was so wrong with the Intranet, as at least I had found my way around there!

November 20, 2011

Evaluating on teamwork

For PD5 we had to organize a clinic with teambuilding as topic. I had to organize one with two other classmates. The teamwork in our team was not good, I felt responsible for everything, while the others did not. They did not come up with ideas, even though I had asked them several times. I had arranged the venue, the equipment, made an invitation for the class, and so on.

Afterall the clinic went well, and my teammembers did a great job at the actual clinic by presenting well and keeping everybody enthousiastic. But I was the one who did all the organization and made up most of the teambuilding activities. At the actual date of our workshop one of my teammembers came up with one himself.

And now I have to hand in a reflection tomorrow. They are my classmates, and at the clinic it seemed like they did a lot of work as well as I did. (for the teacher & outsiders) So Im in a dillema. Do I go for a higher grade (which I think I deserve, because they only followed what I had come up with) or do I just write down that we did a great job, and everyone participated? The teacher asked us to deliver our reflections together as a team. We have to write them individually, but need to bundle them together. If the teacher want honest reflections, she must not ask for a bundle of reflections, because I do not want my fellow classmates to think that I want to let them down itentionally.

But on the other hand, my presenting skills are not that good, and at the clinic my teacher told me to improve those. So I do not want to get a lower grade because of my presenting skills while I did almost all the work for the clinic....


Exchange @ Singapore!

Finally a message from far Asia; Singapore! Lets begin with a small intro; who I am and what I am (currently) doing. Well, my name is Gregor Hogetoorn, only 20 years old and a third year International Business and Languages (IBL) student at the HES. As some of you might know you have the chance to go on exchange. Currently I am on exchange, studying at the Nanyang Business School (NBS), to be found in Singapore. If you want to get to know more about my school, you can visit the following website:

Unhappily there was no place anymore on the campus and that’s why I’m living outside of campus. I’m a bit disappointed about the fact they gave all locals a place on campus while (some) exchange students had to find a place on their own. I managed to find a place together with three other Dutch students from the HES. The room rates outside campus are four times as expensive as the rooms on campus. And I can use that money so good for other things over here. Our room is located about 45 minutes from campus and we travel by the well-regulated public transport. During peak hours you have to be patient because sometimes you have to wait 1 or 2 buses. There are three different shuttle bus services (free) on campus because the terrain is huge ( It’s like a small village in a big city.

The NBS, a well-known business school and part of the Nanyang Technological University (NTU). I’m following four courses:

1) Compensation & Benefits;

2) Strategic HR & Consulting;

3) Services Operation Management;

4) Strategic Management.

The teaching approach is different from my home university. To start, all different subjects have, next to the ‘normal’ (home)work, a group project which needs a lot of time and attention. Back home I only had one bigger group project. I’m off on Mondays and Thursdays but these days were used for homework and group meetings (and travelling). Group meetings were held on the craziest places, ranging from picnic benches in gardens to McDonalds.

Next to that, a lecture hour is four (clock)hours, quite long. In the beginning it was hard to concentrate that long but at the end it was easier. (I’m not saying easy!) The school is more demanding and the students are far more serious and motivated than students on the HES (sorry to say this). I have so much respect for the students here and this gave me a new look at my study. It might sound weird, but I’m going to miss this school so hard.. Everything is perfectly organized and the schoolbuildings, shops, teachers/professors, students, etc are all great! And because the studying is more demanding doesn’t mean I’m not enjoying besides school! Everyday is a party

Singapore on its own is just a great city! Everything is planned very well and everything runs perfectly! They thought about every detail, on school as well as everywhere! The first few days I had to get used to this city (compared to Amsterdam) but for now; I feel like a local.

Realizing my school period is over in ten days makes me a kind of sad. I had such a great time here, although there were some stressful periods as well. My first exams will start in only two days, which means that I’m studying my ass of now. After my last exam (29th of November) I’m flying to Hanoi and will travel around SE Asia for two more months. Will be back in Singapore at the end of January to say goodbye to the city, the people and the life for the ‘last’ time. But I’ll come definitely back here!

For all students, please study hard; get the best out of it so you can go to a great place (like Singapore) for your exchange! Saying goodbye to your fellows and family back home is hard, but I’m sure you going to have a wonderful time on your exchange!

Wish you all the best and if there are any questions/comments don’t hesitate to mail me:

And of course, for people who are planning to go to Singapore; I’ve got some insider tips as well! Just let me know!

Ooh and last but not least, if any of you got some tips for travelling around SE Asia, please let me know!

Take care!

November 15, 2011

Miniature Ice Age

Cold, colder, coldest.
Usually the Dutch winters come gradually, a jumper one day, winter jacket the next, and then the gloves arrive. Not this year, it went from Autumn to extreme Winter in a week!
This results in busy trams and metro's, no sitting down in the mornings for a short nap ;)
I am interested to see how the NS and other public transport companies will cope with the extreme winter this year.
One word of advice: as soon as the frost and snow arrive, be sure to leave home early! Depending on where you live and what forms of transport you need to take to get to school, it is a good idea to take some extra time, especially during exam periods as it is such a pity to have to miss an exam!
An also, wrap up warm guys!!

November 12, 2011

Unenthusiastic students...

What if you are working with some students who are not doing their task properly which has been divided among the group members? I would like to share some of my little experiences to make this less happen to you. At the HVA I have faced this problem many times while doing projects with unenthusiastic students. I do not like to go into details of which students and which group but in general the characteristics of these students are; they are not responding their emails, often late or response when dateline is over, complains about general problems and finally not very interested to finish school on the regular bases. To avoid this; you have to always try to find the most motivated and talented students to work with. This can give a better opportunity to pass your exams and fulfill all your assignments on time. I have worked also with talented and motivated students as well; the result was tremendously different and i didn’t have to do a lot. Only my part and that was it.

November 10, 2011

Worst case scenarios

I'm in the third year of the IM program now, which means that I go on exchange in March. I'm going to study in Lima, Peru! I just cannot wait! It is not sure yet, but it seems unlikely that they will not let me go there. (I was just working on my homework for EC5, using future verb forms, it appears to be useful in my blogs as well)And if you are wondering why Im so eager about doing homework, we get an 0.5 added to our final exam grade if we hand in our homework!

However, this blog was meant to be about my study abroad, not about my English homework. It is not that I have been so exciting from the beginning of. I love latin America because I already have lived in Costa Rica for several months, to learn Spanish. That is why I decided to put only latin american countries on my ranking list, so there was no chance of going somewhere else.

When I got the news that I was ranked for Peru I was in doubt. This country was my first choice, but this means Iam leaving in March already. How will I be able to finance this? What about my boyfriend? It will probably be too expensive for him to come and visit me there, and besides, he has a full time job. Studying in Peru seemed perfect for me, but suddenly it began to feel like a nightmere.

I started thinking of worst case scenarios which could happen to me. Scenarios like, what if they forget to pick me up at the airport in Lima? What if I cannot find the university? What if I do not understand the schedual? What if I cannot speak Spanish anymore? What if there is no one to talk to, no one like me?

But hey, just when I was feeling very depressed, I got an message that turned all my negative feelings into positive ones! The message was an email with information about the university in Lima. And it was adressed to me and three others from the HES. Fortunately one of them is a girl, and I saw that we had mutual friends on facebook. I decided to send her a private message, to let her know Iam going to Peru as well.

Guess what? She told me that she was so happy that I had send her an message. She had the same worst case scenarios as I had, and now we could sit in the airplane together, share a room, go out together, travel together... We are saved......

Las Vegas International Academic Conference

This October I attended an International Academic Conference in Las Vegas. It was organized by Clute Institute, which promotes academic research and annually organizes academic conferences in different countries such as Thailand, USA, Italy. The institute publishes 14 academic journals including Journal of Applied Business Research, Journal of Business and Economic Research, Journal of College Teaching & Learning, Journal of Business Case Studies to name a few.

40 different countries were represented by 300 participants who came to Las Vegas to attend 3 days full of sessions on Education, Business, Management, Marketing and Health Education. As I found out, a lot of people regularly attend conferences of Clute Institute to present there on-going or completed research work and to get some suggestions and advice about it from the fellow academic and business practitioners.

As I teach marketing and management disciplines, I attended sessions on education, marketing and management. Some presentations were interesting and engaging with inspirational and knowledgeable speakers. Topics like e-health and a trend of people researching their health problems and symptoms online and its impact on healthcare was a topic that everyone in the audience could relate to. Another interesting presentation was about arrogance in advertising of Apple’s iPhone and its impact on the brand perception. Several papers examined various social media use. One of them was about social media use by educational institutions to promote themselves. Out of various social media channel blogging composed only 9%, which I find to be very little. Also an interesting finding for me was that small and large institutions are making more use of social media compared to medium-sized schools.

November 7, 2011

Amsterdam's Markets

Waterlooplein, Albert Cuyp market, Noorder market and many more.
These are the places for students to find all their bargains.
Waterlooplein has second hand bikes, which are a must in Amsterdam as no bike will last for a very long time so spending a lot on one is useless.
Albert Cuyp market has a large variety of fresh foods and also has markets selling everything from the Etos and Kruidvat, but cheaper.
Then there's the Noorder market, a real treasure trove of leather boots, jackets, antiques, etc.
Big bike chains are also sold everywhere, which are definitely good to have if you want your bicycle to last a little longer in this city!
The thing to remember is: where can I get it cheapest? Of course, when shopping for clothes or a laptop it is best to do so in a good shop. However, saving a little of shampoo's, food, bicycles, boots (and many other items) is a good step towards having more money for rent and social activities, of which there are many in this city!

November 6, 2011

Eid-al adah

Today is Eid – al Adah and I am far away from my family. In the Muslim world this day is very important. All families gather together and celebrate this especial day. Besides rich should slaughter sheep, cows etc… and distribute the meat among the poor people. The question is why Muslims do this and what does Eid al- Adha commemorate? During the Hajj, Muslims remember and commemorate the trials and triumphs of the Prophet Abraham The Qur'an describes Abraham as follows: "Surely Abraham was an example, obedient to Allah, by nature upright, and he was not of the polytheists. He was grateful for our bounties. We chose him and guided him unto a right path. We gave him good in this world, and in the next he will most surely be among the righteous." (Qur'an 16:120-121)

One of Abraham's main trials was to face the command of Allah to kill his only son. Upon hearing this command, he prepared to submit to Allah's will. When he was all prepared to do it, Allah revealed to him that his "sacrifice" had already been fulfilled. He had shown that his love for his Lord superceded all others that he would lay down his own life or the lives of those dear to him in order to submit to God. Why do Muslims sacrifice an animal on this day? During the celebration of Eid al-Adha, Muslims commemorate and remember Abraham's trials, by themselves slaughtering an animal such as a sheep, camel, or goat.

Today is such a special day and I am sitting in front of the computer and doing all my assignments for school while I know that the rest of my family just enjoying welcoming each others and celebrating the Eid together.

November 4, 2011

mission impossible

Today we hand to hand in an assignment for import and procurement. We get an assignment each week, a question that we need to answer and hand in. It does not matter how long your answer is, as long as it answers the question.Easy you think.. Well, yes most of the time it is, just reading the corresponding chapters, and you have the answer... This time it was not that easy...

Because of the break we had two weeks to hand in the assignment, instead of one. Altough we had more time, I decided to start early, instead of the day before, like I usually do. During the break I finally managed to actually open the book and look up the question. I did not understand it, and started doing other things, things you always do when you do not understand something, or when you get derivated by other things.

Next to me was standing a big cup of coffee. And you always see this things coming in advance. It already had crossed my mind that it could happen that it would fall over. And ofcourse, I made a stupid move and the book I needed, supply chain management, was soaked in coffee.

Well, I thought this must be a sign, it is not the right time of beginning with this assignment, I have to enjoy my break, and relax. Tommorrow there will be another day to finish the task.

And as you already expected, I did not do anything until yesterday. But since I find this course very difficult, it is the best option for me to make all the assignments and get a high grade for it so I do not need a very high mark for the actual exam. Yesterday (luckily the book was dried up) I saw the question for the second time, looked up every page in the book, and did not know what to answer on that question. I started to panic, because I had to hand something (sufficient) in, but there was nothing in the book, nor on the internet about this subject.

It was already very late and my eyes were slowly closing. I decided to go to bed and set my alarm on '6 o clock in the morning, hopefully something would pop up in my mind. The next morning I was exhausted, but I did had some information on my paper. It was not the answer ofcourse, but a four is higher than the one that I would receive when I would not hand in an answer at all.

The teacher came in, and he said, 'my apologies guys, the question that I asked you was too difficult for you', because there was no information on this topic in the book. Well that explained everything....