Why choose VU University, Amsterdam? To provide you with some answers, we asked the experts. International students share their experiences and tell you their fascinating, personal stories about satisfying their ambition and individual dreams.
“Studying in Amsterdam completely changed my academic trajectory. I took an MA module, ‘Visual Art and the American Poet’, with Prof. Diederik Oostdijk, which introduced me to the interdisciplinary study of the New York School, a group of avant-garde poets and painters in mid-century Manhattan. This is now the subject of my PhD thesis at University College London, where I study under a full research studentship and am investigating the European networks and influence on poet and curator Frank O’Hara. Diederik’s enthusiasm and expertise, alongside lively debates and discussions with classmates, really instilled a sense of academic vigour on the subject – without which I would most certainly not be in the position I am in now. The unique opportunity to interpret texts in your own language from an international perspective enabled me to understand and experience Anglo-American works anew, and I was also able to take modules on Dutch cultural history which was advantageous to informing encounters with Amsterdam, the city.” Matthew Holman, University College London, UK
“Moving from Ireland to the Netherlands was not a difficult decision for me. Any hesitance was quickly alleviated by the resounding question from my friends and family: who wouldn’t want to live in Amsterdam? The answer is just as clear now, after eight months, as it was when I was waiting for an acceptance letter and it was simply an exciting prospect. […] This city ensures that you’re never short of something to do, regardless of what your interests may be. There’s something for everyone, as cliche as that may sound. […] I am a master’s student of Literary Studies: Literatures in English. For many months I remained quiet when it came to class discussions, continuing with the shyness I had become accustomed to during my bachelor’s. However, as a friend so eloquently put it, over the course of the past few months I have “blossomed”, and am now completely at ease voicing my opinions and even (sometimes) disagreements in the classroom. This is undoubtedly due to the comfortably small class sizes (15-30 students) just as much as it is the exceptionally friendly and helpful teachers. I have never been hesitant to ask a teacher for help in any way. The only thing more helpful than the teachers, would have to be my fellow classmates, without whom I would not be succeeding as much as I tell myself that I am today. It’s incredible, the genius that can come with discussing a text or film over coffee and a cigarette.” Shannon Maher, master’s student of Literatures in English.
“To date I have taken courses with Prof. dr. Oostdijk and Dr. Roel van den Oever. Their teaching, organizational skills, motivation and passion for their fields are truly admirable. My class sizes have not exceeded thirty students in lectures and seminars and this makes everyone feel comfortable to voice their opinions and ask questions. You are really treated more like an equal or correspondent in the classroom instead of there being an obvious lecturer/student barrier. What I have been most appreciative of has to be the in-depth feedback that I received explaining why I received the grades that I did, entailing what I did well and what I can improve on. Students simply cannot be expected to learn or better themselves unless it is explained to them and in full.” Lorna Horgan, University of Limerick, Ireland.
“Studying at the VU was a truly incredible experience. Spending time with people from every corner of the globe in a place as unique as Amsterdam is something I will remember for years to come”. Cole Capsalis, Bachelor’s student, University of Utah, USA
“VU is an excellent university beyond my imagination. Not only can I enjoy good education but also experience the Dutch life here. I have studied hard this semester and I also attended several events held. Although I have only one semester here, it will be a magnificent memory that I would be grateful for all the time. Nice people and nice place! Thank you all!” Anon, Bachelor’s student, Sun Yat-Sen University, China
“The excitement of life in a city as beautiful as Amsterdam has only been further heightened by my pleasant time at the VU, and through the wonderful friends I have made there. I will forever appreciate the picturesque canals, cycling everywhere, the open and friendly atmosphere, and the feeling of being at ‘home’. All the challenges I have faced have been positive character building experiences, such as being alone, having to make friends when I knew no one, and relying on only myself in a foreign city. These challenges are now exciting for me as they have changed my outlook on life.” Dymphna Van Der Leij, Bachelor’s student, Australia
“I enjoyed studying at VU and found the staff to be of a high standard. I was particularly pleased with the International department and the care they took to ensure foreign students enjoyed their time at the University.” Josh Henebry , Bachelor’s student, University of Limerick, Ireland
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