Justina studied Clinical Psychology at Utrecht University
"I applied to a number of Clinical Psychology programs in The Netherlands but my biggest priority was Utrecht University. After watching the webinar, and reading testimonials and descriptions of the programme, I knew I wanted to study here. Of course, Utrecht University’s place in Shanghai ranking played its part in that decision as well.
I moved to Utrecht months before the study started, and that ended up being one of my best decisions. It gave me time to sort out organizational things like registration, housing, cycling and job search. It is much easier to get everything situated when the town is not full of fellow students yet. Before starting the Master’s, I attended summer school classes in Psychodiagnostics and Multivariate Analysis. This was a great experience in terms of getting to know fellow students, the University, and some professors. So, if you get conditionally accepted, don’t worry, taking extra courses beforehand can turn out to be a great experience!
Even though the programme is really well structured, I felt the freedom to pick and build my own portfolio through the elective courses, topics of assignments, my thesis project, and the internship. These choices added up to a feeling of control over my studies: I could let the programme meet my personal preferences and requirements. The internship is an especially pressing matter for the internationals in the programme because of the language barrier. I chose to do my internship in my home country – Lithuania. I don’t think I could have done as much as I did in any other country, so the internship abroad was not a downside to the programme for me at all.
I was surprised by the quality of student-teaching staff relationships at Utrecht University. The teachers here are always willing to help and accessible, and I could feel the open door policy being executed to its fullest. Most of all, I definitely learned a lot from my instructors, who are true professionals of their field. I would like to congratulate everyone who got into the program and encourage those who are still hesitant. Utrecht University is a great university not only because of its professionalism and expertise but also because of its great atmosphere of mutual respect and egalité!"
Justina Pociūnaitė, from Lithuania, studied Clinical Psychology (class of 2019)
Marilon studied Clinical Psychology at Utrecht University
"I never imagined I would experience so much personal growth during my Master’s. Not only did I get the opportunity to test an idea on how to improve mental health care in a solid research project, I also had the privilege of doing an internship in which I experienced what it entails to be a psychologist. My passion for psychology, my desire to help people, and my interest in the human mind, behaviour and emotions were the main reasons to choose a Master’s in Clinical Psychology. In this past year, my passion was cultivated, and my academic and practical competencies were expanded in many ways.
During my internship I provided several treatments and conducted full diagnostic processes with individuals with severe psychological disorders. I learnt to level with clients, with an awareness that almost everybody on occasion struggles with problems in their life. This awareness was one of the reasons why I focused on the question of how to decrease psychiatric clients’ (self-)stigmatisation in my thesis. Utrecht University supports creative ideas for scientific research, and supervisors guided me through the entire research process, from the application of my proposal to the Faculty Ethics Test Committee to a full-blown contribution to a recent world conference in Spain.
I discovered more about myself during this year and my self-confidence increased, as well as my professionality. I gained substantial experience in a short period of time. It’s a lot to process, which made this year one of the toughest and busiest in my life. My Master’s in Clinical Psychology is probably best described as a roller coaster, but it worked out well, not in the least because of the close contact with and support from fellow students. Additionally, the university held a perfect balance in providing guidance and encouraging independence.
Having finished my studies, I see a positive future ahead of me. I will start working as a psychologist for the organisation where I did my internship, I will travel the world, and face my next challenge, becoming a licensed health care psychologist. The Master’s programme in Clinical Psychology has a lot to offer if you really go for it. I hope it will bring you as much growth, joy, and knowledge as it brought me."
Marilon van Doorn, from the Netherlands, studied Clinical Psychology (class of 2017)
Sahaj studied Clinical Psychology at Utrecht University
"I have always wanted to know how people function, how the brain works, and most of all, how people respond to events in their lives and cope in difficult times. That’s why I applied for my Master’s in Clinical Psychology. Coming to study at Utrecht University was an easy choice because of its prestigious history and renowned academic reputation. One of the things I appreciated most is how close lecturers and supervisors are to their students. At first, I chalked this up to the move from undergraduate to postgraduate studies, but I have come to realise that the Dutch culture of egalitarianism and straightforwardness adds to this experience as well.
Being an international student, it was not possible for me to get a clinical internship in the Netherlands. However, I got the opportunity to do a research internship. The areas I interned in were fear conditioning, exposure therapy, PTSD and EMDR. I participated in numerous projects and learnt about different aspects of research: I supervised Bachelor's students, I collected data from a non-student population group, and I wrote two papers for publications. The most important thing this internship taught me is that I would definitely like to go into a career that involves research next to my clinical practice. After I graduate, I hope to start working as an assistant clinical psychologist while I apply for a doctorate/PhD.
I have three tips for future students:
1) Start looking for housing as soon as possible. I cannot stress that enough.
2) Start looking for an internship as early as housing! If you are an international student, try your best to find a clinical internship in the Netherlands or elsewhere, but also be practical and realistic if you can’t find one. If you like research, doing a research internship is a great opportunity.
3) If you ever have a problem, speak your mind and voice your concerns. I was incredibly impressed with the initiative taken by the department in taking our concerns seriously and constructively working towards making changes for the upcoming year."
Sahaj Kang, from India, studied Clinical Psychology (class of 2017)