Humanities, social sciences, language and literature prepare students for a global future

June 8, 2021

A university education isn’t only about getting a good job; at RIT Croatia it’s also about becoming a more interesting and cultured person – someone who thinks critically, communicates well, and understands themselves and others.

Our General Education courses – foreign languages, natural science, mathematics, philosophy, sociology writing and literature – help students become responsible global citizens who are ready to contribute to society. These courses are often among students’ favorites, providing insight and skills that will serve them well not only in their careers but also in their personal lives.

Psychology, for example, is about learning about yourself and others around you, says faculty member Dr. Ana Havelka Meštrović. "Knowing more from this field enables students to understand their own mental processes like emotions, motivations, stress, personality...and learning about your own self can help you flourish in every aspect of your life. Psychology is not a science about someone or something else, but it is a science about all of us.”

Mathematics and statistics courses, on the other hand, help students develop a problem-solving mentality, which is an essential skill for any business career, while environmental science courses that focus on the human roles in the natural world help students become more responsible citizens who care about our planet. In philosophy and sociology classes, students have engaging discussions and debates and are encouraged to give their own opinions and connect them to everyday life.

Analyzing films, debating controversial current events, or interpreting poems, don’t always seem to be directly related to students’ career paths, but provide an opportunity to explore other areas of culture.

"In high school I used to love reading, so I really enjoyed our course called Literature, Culture and Media,” said HTM senior Jelena Benić. "That course pushed me to read some works from famous writers, which I would never have read on my own. The discussions were really interesting because we had the opportunity to say what we think about a poem, and not just what someone told us we are supposed to think.”

"In the courses that I teach, Critical Reading & Writing and Writing Seminar, I think the most important skill that students get to sharpen is critical thinking,” said Dr. Jakob Patekar. "From reading between the lines (what is the author’s agenda? whose voices are not heard? who is the intended audience?) to addressing opposing views in their writing instead of pretending that their perspective is the only one that matters or is the only one that’s accurate.”

In Technical Writing, students choose creative visual formats appealing to the eyes of their readers, their message is honest, valuable and adapted to the needs of their audience. Above all, they learn how powerful their own words can become if adapted to the purpose and with the understanding of the needs of their readers, said instructor Zrinka Friganović Sain.

These and other General Education courses often provide a great complement and balance to the more specialized and technical career preparation courses that are part of students’ core degree program.

"Being an IT student, I spend a lot of the time throughout the day working with a computer and am commonly gaining knowledge on more technical issues, but courses such as psychology, Spanish, and literature have certainly had a major effect on my emotional and social my well-being,” said student Paula Pufek. "While I adore my IT courses, these General Education courses have given me the opportunity to understand more closely the concept of human nature. Such insights have taught me how should life be lived – how to engage in the flow and to be present in each moment, and consequently get the best out of every day. We learn more about ourselves, and what makes us, humans, who we are.”

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