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Choosing a Master at the UM

25 February 2006, 15:52

Jan Majkowski (26) could also have done the Masters study of Health Policy, Economics and Management in Poland, but there it would have taken twice as long, two years instead of one. And this does not mean that you learn more, he says. "It is just organised less well there, more bureaucratic."

Jan Majkowski (26) could also have done the Masters study of Health Policy, Economics and Management in Poland, but there it would have taken twice as long, two years instead of one. And this does not mean that you learn more, he says. "It is just organised less well there, more bureaucratic."

The strength of the Maastricht Masters study of Health Policy, Economics and Management (Faculty of Health Sciences), which deals with the organisation of health care, is the international approach to the subject matter. "It deals not only with worldwide developments such as ageing populations, but also with the ways in which countries organise their health care systems. Stories from fellow-students from China, Greece and Germany on this subject are very interesting."

He also finds the experiences of students who have spent time in developing countries fascinating. "The Polish don't do that. They want to come to the Western world in order to learn how things are done here. The Dutch health care system is known as one of the best in Europe, and it has new solutions for managing costs. The discussions on current reforms are exciting. We follow the news and try to predict whether the system will be successful or not."

He has nothing but praise for his fellow-students. Some work in the hospital and know more about new health care regulations than their lecturers. Many of them speak fluent English and write sophisticated papers. "It is remarkable that Dutch students' papers have a different tone, often theoretical. In Poland, we give our opinion in no uncertain terms about what should happen.

I suggested that in the case of the bird flu, doctors and the military should join forces in order to prevent an epidemic. All of this by decree of a powerful government, which in such a case should assert its power. The members of my tutorial group looked at me with surprise and found my solution too radical. Maybe Poland's communist past coloured my views."

His experience with tutors is less favourable. What happened? Majkowski wanted to become a tutor but had trouble during the training sessions because these were in Dutch. Especially because of Majkowski, the faculty suggested that four meetings would be in English, but other tutors did not want that, because then they couldn't express themselves accurately. As a result, two of the sessions were in English. "Things just didn't feel too good. I would automatically have had consideration for a foreign person who did not speak the language."

Anyway, it was the right choice not to do this Masters programme in Poland, but in Maastricht. The programme is a perfect preparation for the job he wants: a traineeship with the EU, at the department of Health and Consumer Protection in Luxembourg. However, those jobs are not just there for the taking: few vacancies, lots of candidates and a tough selection procedure.

It was also the right choice to go abroad, to Maastricht, to the heart of Europe, he says. "It was not my intention, initially, but now that I have found my niche here, I intend to spend a number of years living and working in the West. My life has taken a turn and has opened up a broader perspective."

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