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‘I like that students trust us and share their stories with us’

The student navigator ‘Find your way’ helps students find their way around the university. Student advisers can also be found on the roadmap. JanPieter, study advisor at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs (ISGA), explains what a student advisor does.

What does a study advisor at the Institute of Security & Global Affairs do?

JanPieter: ‘Our formal task is to inform students about the study programme. We also monitor students' study progress. We try to remove as many obstacles as possible from students that prevent them from completing their bachelor's or master's degree within the allotted time. We also give advice on BSA and, when changes are made to the study programme, we check whether the consequences are manageable for students.’

With what questions do students come to you?

‘In the period surrounding the BSA, students mainly ask questions about what happens if they deregister on 1 February. Students then mainly wonder what the consequences are for their study financing.  

Students can also come to use if, for example, a parent or caretaker has suddenly died. When that student has regained some peace of mind, we will look at how studies can be resumed and what the student needs further, so that the student eventually gets to the point of graduation.  

At ISGA, we are also authorised by the examination board to give postponement for deadlines, for example. If there are personal or medical circumstances that prevent someone from meeting a deadline, students can apply for a postponement from us.’

What do you enjoy most about your work as a student adviser?

‘So many different questions come in which makes the work unpredictable, but that also ensures it doesn't get boring. Every time you are surprised, which makes my work fun and challenging. I do like variety.’

How do you handle it when students share though stories?

‘I like that students trust us and share their stories with us, even when intense things have happened. When students share intense stories with us, we sometimes discuss them with each other as student advisers. We always have the conversations in a closed room, because all conversations are confidential.’

What would you like to pass on to students?

‘We as student advisers are there to help you. We can always think along with you, but unfortunately, we do not always have a solution for everything. Do not hesitate to ask your questions. If we do not know the answer, at least we know who to contact within the university. There are no such thing as stupid questions: not asking questions and then doing it wrong does you no good. 

In addition, I advise students to inform the student advisors in time and not when it is already too late: we regularly see students' buckets overflowing during the exam period. Even if you are not currently suffering from certain problems, at least we are aware of what is going on.’

Text: Annemieke van Es 

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