Sonja El Yandouzi and Rumi Renckens

Former student, current student

It has been a year since the interdisciplinary Bachelor’s programme in Clinical Sciences was introduced. The programme is a joint effort between the Faculties of Science, Veterinary Medicine and Medicine. Rumi Renckens is a first-year Clinical Sciences student. Sonja El Yandouzi studied Pharmacy and is now a lecturer at Utrecht University (UU).

What was your first impression of the degree programme?

Sonja El Yandouzi, lecturer at Utrecht University

“The curriculum is broad, so I can quickly see what interests me and what doesn’t,” says Renckens. At first, I wanted to study Medicine, but then I came across Clinical Sciences. I realised that this programme was a better fit for me. With Medicine, you really narrow your focus and gradually work toward being a doctor. But who knows what kind of new interests I might develop in the areas of veterinary medicine or pharmacy?”

This Bachelor's programme will prepare you for one the UU's clinical Master's programmes. Have you decided which direction you want to take?

“Right now, I'm thinking Medicine, but I’m keeping all my options open. This is only my first year, so if, next year, I realise I’m more interested in Veterinary Medicine, then I’m willing to do that Master’s instead.”

Sonja, you are a former pharmacy student. What was the degree programme like in your day?

“I found it pretty challenging! I started the programme with the old curriculum in 1999 and it was mostly a lot of lab work. It wasn’t until later, in the fifth year, that the new curriculum started and the programme began to focus more on professional practice. The student population was also a lot less diverse than it is now. My family has a migration background and when I got to the University, I thought: ‘Where do I fit in here?’ Still, I'm grateful to have earned my Pharmacy degree from UU.”

What made you decide to switch to teaching?

“I worked as a pharmacist at UMC Utrecht for twelve years. That was a great job – but at a certain point, I was ready for a change. So I went into teaching, which is a better fit for me, and I started at UU three years ago. I want to encourage and inspire my students and help them develop intercultural skills.”

Rumi, merk je deze passie ook bij jouw docenten?

Rumi Renckens, first-year Clinical Sciences student

“Our education is not only clinical but socially-minded as well. The lecturers give us space to think freely and engage in discussions with each other. As a result, I’m learning the best way for me to practise empathy with another person or in certain situations. That’s definitely a valuable skill – especially later on, in the professional field.”

You are now at the end of your first year. What moment stands out the most?

“I'm a member of the study association and halfway through this academic year, we organised a weekend trip for first-year students. It was an extra step to get to know each other outside of the classroom.”

Sonja, what advice would you like to give Rumi?

“You’re the one charting the course for your life. By which I mean that every decision you make now will ultimately have more significance later on. At a certain point, you’ll come across something and just know: this is exactly what I want.”