At Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, you develop A Broader Mind. No matter what you study, you will be challenged to take a broader view of your academic discipline, of society and of yourself. When you take the Broader Mind Course, you discover yourself and change the world.
In the Broader Mind Course, you explore what role you want to play in society, both now and in the future. You work with themes that are directly related to your personal development, such as success & failure, happiness & health, living in a digital world, rebellion and philosophy of life. You also link these with important social themes, such as sustainability, poverty or the pursuit of the perfect body. In this way, you learn to connect academic knowledge to your own choices and opinions in challenging and creative ways.
For example, you will search for answers to personal questions such as 'How do I deal with "failures" and what are they exactly?' and to social questions such as 'How can we reduce our dependence on plastics?', 'How can we help eradicate poverty?', and ‘How far should we go with genetic engineering?'.
You will not do this alone, but together with students from completely different study programmes. In the Broader Mind Course, chemists work together with economists, lawyers with historians, theologians with medical doctors, and so on. Later on in your career, you will constantly be looking beyond the borders of your own discipline—this course already gives you valuable experience in doing just that! Having the Broader Mind Course on your CV, therefore, gives you a competitive edge in the labour market!
One of the things that makes the Broader Mind Course special is that students are co-designers of the course. You can join one of the thematic construction teams and help develop the curriculum at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
You will choose one of the two tracks (you can follow the other track in a different academic year). Each track covers four themes. You will approach each theme with a personal question and a social challenge in mind, and will look at it from different scientific perspectives. To give you an idea:
- Theme Success & Failure. Personal question: How can I be successful by learning from my failures? Social challenge: Can we break the social taboo regarding failure?
- Theme Sustainability. Personal question: What is my role in causing, identifying and solving the plastic problem? Social challenge: How can we help solve the plastic waste problem?
At the end of the Broader Mind Course, you present your final assignment to your fellow group members. You will choose one or more themes from the course and indicate what really struck a chord with you and what you want to do with this in the future. You will present this in a creative way—with a video, a vlog, a story, a poem, a letter to your future self—however you can best express your ideas.