A Bachelor’s degree in Business Economics (now: Management)? – That was not on the agenda. I had always wanted to study medicine. This was what I had applied and received approval for. I had to decide between Witten/Herdecke University and another university. The comparison of the universities’ programme structures and curricula quickly brought about my decision: “I don’t want to go to school again”, was my immediate thought. This was clearly not the way I wanted to study.
The Witten curriculum matched my expectations and plans much better. It was more flexible, practice-oriented and closer to the medical research questions I was interested in. Medicine therefore brought me to Witten/Herdecke University and via some detours also to economics.
During the first two semesters I took many Studium fundamentale courses (general studies in liberal arts and humanities, called “Stufu”). These general studies enabled me to expand my horizon once a week. I was able to choose from seminars on cultural and social science topics, philosophy, aesthetics, arts as well as from seminars conveying communicative skills.
This way, I almost automatically developed an interdisciplinary way of thinking and working. There is a great deal of exchange between the faculties and students of different degree programmes in general. A small campus is definitely an advantage. Through this exchange, you learn to see things from different angles as you meet fellow students from other disciplines as well.
The experience that interdisciplinary collaboration can be so precious for one’s own personal development left a decision to me: Either I continue to take many different “Stufu” seminars or I do something more targeted. But what exactly should I do?
It already bothered me during my medical studies’ practical period in nursing that economic aspects affected hospital work. I therefore wanted to be able to have a say in this. I was interested in economics anyway, but also had the feeling that this additional competence would help me along when working as a doctor later on. Therefore, I opted for double degree studies at UW/H.
Double degree studies
Despite such a time-consuming discipline like medicine it is quite possible to pursue double degree studies in Witten. This, of course, is no sure-fire success and requires your entire attention. You have to be very organised and willing to compromise. There was, for example, less time left for free medical elective block trainings in my case.
In economics, selecting the appropriate examination format was particularly decisive. I was always able to contemplate whether I wanted to be present every week or take my exams at the end of the compulsory courses, even if this meant that I had to teach myself a lot.
In retrospect, I can say that Witten is a unique place for personal development – for those who want to experience it. Daily interdisciplinarity makes you scrutinise, take up other perspectives and handle different opinions better. Through frequent interaction with students of other professions you learn how to clearly take your stand.
The courage to voice your own opinion is certainly always important. It will definitely be helpful for my future professional life: No matter whether I have to express my opinion to patients, chief physicians or the management. Economics in particular will teach you how to take a stand, this being another reason why the double degree has enabled me to take a major step forwards.