Danice Kuijper

Danice Kuijper (23) is a part-time Social Work student. This flexible study programme suits her to a T, giving her a tremendous sense of satisfaction.

"I realised that I wanted a career in which I could make a difference."

Knowing what moves people has intrigued Danice since she was young. “As a little girl I observed other children in my class; I was curious and wanted to know everything about them. So that social aspect of my personality came to me early.” Even so, Danice did not opt for a study programme centred on the social sector. “I was 17 and found it difficult to choose what to study. I made a rational decision to study Communication. It seemed a broad enough subject with a plethora of job opportunities. Six years later Danice decided to follow her heart and enrolled in the study programme that enabled her to indulge her passion.

Prison Break

“I studied Communication, but all the while I had this gut feeling. After graduating, I worked for a time as an intermediary at an employment agency, helping others find work. But people also turned to me when they had a burnout, for example. That social aspect appealed to me, but at the end of the day it’s financial figures that matter for companies like that. I realised that I wanted a career in which I could really make a difference and so I asked myself what comes naturally to me and what makes me happy? Helping people and wanting to understand them better is one such thing; I have had that inclination from an early age. And I find TV series like Prison Break and Vis à Vis tremendously interesting because they centre on mental disorders and treatment. I decided to follow the Online Open Days to see which study programme ties in with my special interest. When I picked up on the broad-based knowledge that the Social Work study programme has to offer, I knew for sure that it was the course for me; it would enable me to help people who suffer mental health problems and I would be able to do something that truly satisfies my passion."

"I decided to ignore those voices in my head and listen to my feelings and I haven’t regretted it for an instant.”

Voices

Danice decided to throw caution to the wind and follow her heart. “All sorts of thoughts ran through my head, of course. Like, I already have a degree so why go back to school for a number of years? I decided to ignore those voices in my head and listen to my feelings and I

haven’t regretted it for an instant. Because I am now doing something that I really enjoy and that interests me, I am finding it much easier to learn the subject material. And attending a part-time study programme also makes a huge difference because you study together with all kinds of people who have also consciously chosen to take the course. You can sense the motivation in everyone and that’s very stimulating."

Flexible and personal

The flexibility of the part-time study programme was the final push for Danice to enrol. “I love that it’s is so flexible and personal. For example, the course involves various modules and you can choose which topics dovetail with your personal goal. One of the modules I have selected focuses on the differences in types of people and interviewing skills. This module teaches interviewing techniques for evaluating clients. Another positive aspect is that you learn or do things that you can apply in practice. I now know, for instance, how to deal with signs of domestic violence and how to report it. It’s also very helpful that you can take time out from your studies when you choose or need to.”

“To help people build a better future and to be a safe haven for people who suffer mental health problems. That’s my mission."

Ambitions

Alongside her studies, Danice does volunteer work at an institution that offers a buddy system for ex-convicts. “When these people re-enter society they are often very isolated from the outside world. I talk with them and see if they are doing okay. That can help to reduce the risk of them relapsing. The great thing is that I can immediately apply what I learn during the course. I have taken up the position of ambulant counsellor through Team050, guiding young people with various behavioural and development problems. The study programme generates lots of enthusiasm for working in the sector and also helps you find an internship. My mission? To help people build a better future and to be a safe haven for people who suffer mental health problems.”