After a hectic period of exams, January was a welcome break. Passing all necessary theoretical courses in December, I’ve since taken “Academic Skills and Research Proposal,” a ten-unit practical course designed to prepare students for our upcoming internships and thesis writing.
The other day I visited UM Hospital’s NICU. A NICU is a neonatal intensive care unit, aka a ward which specializes in the care of premature and/or sick newborns. This ward was split into three units: intensive care (for those who need constant care and monitoring), high care (those who need less care) and medium care (those who need only a little extra attention or medication).
In the last quarter I’ve been following two courses: Perception and Infancy. This trip supplemented our Infancy readings on prematurity and neonatal development. It was a unique experience to talk to a doctor and see an intensive care unit first-hand. The babies were very small and most were in incubators. We are learning about the neurological impacts of prematurity, but the physiological impacts were most apparent. Many infants were hooked-up to multiple machines which helped with breathing, monitored heart-rate and provided nutrients. Although the machines were all very high tech, my favorite thing in the ward was that each child had a toy octopus in their bed. Apparently the octopus’ tentacle feels like an umbilical cord and this soothes them!
As some of you may know, in September 2016 I am moving to Maastricht to pursue my MSc Psychology. Specializing in developmental psychology, I hope this opportunity will allow me to gain critical research skills and continue working at the intersection of information and the behavioral sciences. For more information about the program, check out this link.
Last weekend I took advantage of a British bank holiday weekend to go to the Netherlands. There I completed my application, checked out the university and generally explored with a friend. For more photos from our trip, click here. While the process was a little stressful (admissions are a lot more lax in the Netherlands than in the US, so a proactive attitude is necessary), I managed to complete everything that needed to be done.
Maastricht is a very quaint European town, probably most known for being the birthplace of our current, integrated EU (see: Maastricht Treaty). While it did rain for the entirety of the 30-odd hour trip, we managed to explore the city on an American school bus. One of the highlights definitely was Boekhandel Dominicanen (an ancient Dominican church renovated into a modern bookstore).
We were lucky enough to find a great deal on train tickets which included a night at a hotel close to the psychology faculty. The university campus is split by the river, with the neuroscience, psychology, health/medicine and business faculties on the quieter, more recently developed campus. Connected to the university hospital, the psychology faculty is modern, with a comfortable looking library and extensive cafe. While there did not seem to be many classes being taught while I was there (perhaps it was exam season?), I did picked up many fliers and even the school newspaper to get a feel of the campus and student life.
Overall the trip went well. I am excited to return in August and begin my studies. Hopefully I’ll learn a little Dutch too! I am grateful for this opportunity, and realize how lucky I am to hold UK citizenship and be considered European in terms of fees and travel. Hopefully this stays the same after the June 23rd vote!