Cian O’Mahony studied Neuropsychology at Utrecht University
"I completed a Bachelor’s in Applied Psychology in my hometown of Cork in Ireland. One of my supervisors there told me that the Neuropsychology programmes in the Netherlands are known for having an outstanding reputation, particularly with regards to the universities’ neuroimaging facilities. Out of the universities I considered, Utrecht had the best credentials; as such, the institution became my primary choice for my Master’s studies. However, I also chose to study at Utrecht because of the city, which is small enough not to be too overwhelming but simultaneously is a city teeming with activity which has a lot to offer.
What I particularly enjoyed about the Neuropsychology programme at Utrecht University was how practical the courses were. In our first classes we were already examining videos of patients and learning about differential diagnosis, moving away from theory and learning how to apply our knowledge. We also had apps such as Brain Tutor, that allowed us to look at MRI images of the brain, so you could take out your phone in class and look up the section of the brain being discussed. It was very hands-on, interactive, and practical, and I felt we were learning skills as opposed to just theory.
As my primary interest was in research, I pursued the Innovative Research Track as part of my internship. I believe this internship track provides a great opportunity to international students, since for them it may prove difficult to find a medical internship without being fluent in Dutch.
I thoroughly enjoyed living in Utrecht: it was very easy to settle in and to navigate the University and the city. Furthermore, the standard of spoken English in the city is outstanding and I had no trouble building a social life here. As such I have decided to stay here to pursue a PhD and am currently interviewing for research positions in the Netherlands."
Carlijn Speelman studied Neuropsychology at Utrecht University
"The brain is só interesting to me—that something so small could have so much influence on everything a person does. There are so many things that can go wrong in the brain, including non-congenital brain injuries. There are many different types of brain damage, and I think it’s fascinating to see what kind of influence each of them has.
The most surprising thing about this Master’s programme for me was the course Neuropsychological Rehabilitation. I think that many people with non-congenital brain injuries underestimate what they are able to learn after the injury. The course Developmental Neuropsychology teaches you how the brain develops in young children, which I also thought was interesting.
I did my internship at the nursing home Regina Pacis (in Dutch) in Arnhem, at the rehabilitation department and the department of gerontopsychiatry. That may not sound very challenging, but it definitely was. I had plenty of time to learn the steps in the diagnostic process, and I got plenty of practice; more than I would in a large hospital, in fact. I was fortunate in that I could stay on after my internship, and now I work as a psychologist at the rehabilitation department. After my Master’s, I want to continue my education with the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy study programme and then the Health Services Psychologist programme."