Charlotte Veenstra: ‘Studying hard and, fortunately, also dancing a lot’

What’s it like, studying in times of Corona? We have asked our students. This time: Charlotte Veenstra.

Charlotte Veenstra (23) from Tiel is a first-year student of the study programme Dance in Education and she also studies ‘Health and Life Sciences’ at the Vrije Universiteit. Recently, she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Medicine. In addition to studying, she works on a Covid-19 ward. ‘I love dancing and I’m very glad to have started at Codarts.’

Why did you choose Codarts’ Dance in Education?

‘I have always wanted to do something in dance. I have been on ballet since I was six, aspiring to become a prima ballerina. In year five of secondary school, I did the Schakelklas at Codarts, which was super fun! All the same, I started university first, letting go of dance altogether. But the urge came back and so last year I finally auditioned. Codarts is a very technical school and that suits me. I’m a great fan of ballet but I now also enjoy modern dance very much.’

You are combining multiple studies. How does that work out?

‘Over the past three years I have taken two study programmes: a Bachelor in Medicine and Health and Life Sciences. The Bachelor Medicine is now in the pocket. Much education is online now, but Codarts is practical education, so dancing is still possible. I get up at 6 AM and then often do an online class on the train. I then do my day of studying at Codarts. Around 6 PM I travel back, arriving home at 8:15 PM. I am currently still living with my parents in Tiel, but by the end of this year I want to be living on my own.’

What is studying in times of Corona like for you?

‘It doesn’t inconvenience me very much, so far. The dance classes at Codarts continue as usual and many other things I do from home, on Zoom. It actually rather suits me, as I like to dance at home and try out things without the large mirrors of the dance studio. The lack of space is an issue of course, when you want to do a solo on a few square metres. It is a huge adjustment to then be able to make large strides doing modern dance at school!’

In addition to studying, you also work on the Covid-19 ward in Nieuwegein. What exactly is it you do there?

‘Since May last year I’ve been working on a special Covid-19 ward, which is a separate part in a hospital for patients who have the virus. Fully protected and wrapped up, my main tasks are measuring the patients’ blood pressure and oxygen level. These people are really very ill, with temperatures of 40 degrees and higher and they are often very short of breath. What strikes me is that the patients are increasingly younger: we see more ‘healthy’ sixty-somethings coming in. They could be our parents! I have the impression that many people my age are thinking that it won’t happen to them. This worries me. The best approach is to regard everyone as potentially contaminated. Then you are sure to keep your distance.’

Charlotte working at the Covid-19 ward

What are your dreams for the future?

‘No idea, really. As long as I do things that make me happy, I’m sure that I will find a job that suits me. Having said that, a combination of teaching dance and being a doctor would be nice. Perhaps at the Medical Centre for Dancers & Musicians in The Hague. For now, however, it is studying hard and, fortunately, also dancing a lot.’