MALVINA SKENDO (MBA student)
Having completed my bachelor degree in London and experiencing an incredible year on the Erasmus program as an exchange student in Spain, I was determined to expand my horizons further and discover a new country while completing my master degree. Dutch universities offered me with top quality education at great value for money. VU University Amsterdam won me over with its high university ranking worldwide, its proximity and links with the Zuidas business and finance district and excellent career prospects. I was truly enthused having learned that inspirational leaders such as Wouter Bos the Finance minister, Jan Peter Belkenend the former Prime Minister and Henk de Vries the CEO of the luxurious yacht making company Feadship had all studied at VU Amsterdam. Furthermore, receiving the VU Fellowship Scholarship was a great achievement for me and it allowed me to focus on my studies without the financial worry.
Being taught by some of the leading experts in their fields really opens your eyes to a lot of externalities and prepares you for the world of work. With friendly staff, small classes and interaction with group members, studying at VU Amsterdam is fun. It is important to note that all Dutch speak perfect English however I would recommend learning Dutch as a little effort goes a long way and they will appreciate this. VU Amsterdam offers a wide variety of diverse programs taught in English, many of which have the choice of specialization in the area of your choice.
A big part of student life at VU Amsterdam is social activities. Be sure to take advantage of its numerous state of the art facilities, sports center, cultural center, café’s, bars and restaurants all of which are located on campus or at Uilenstede – by far the best place to live for international students, where there is a party every day of the week allowing you to get to know most of your neighbours. VU Amsterdam offers a service to find your accommodation making it easy to settle in hassle free.
Joining leading student associations such as ESN, Aureus, FSA and MAA will ensure you integrate yourself fully in academic, professional and social aspects of life in Amsterdam. By being a member of such associations will not only allow you to have the most fun possible but also meet as many Dutch and international students. Participating in the incredible events arranged by these student groups throughout the year will enrich your experience deeply. Activities in the past have ranged from city excursions, international weekends, hitchhiking competitions cruises, dinners and lots of “borrels” (Dutch version of getting together, drinking and partying).
Amsterdam is a truly unique multicultural city defined by its canals, rivers, bikes, relaxed ambience and outdoor lifestyle. One of the most important events of the year is Queen’s Day on April 30th where everyone takes to the streets of Amsterdam wearing orange to the largest street party.As the result of being centrally located within Europe, Amsterdam is home to many of the largest multinational firms in the world and career opportunities for English speakers are endless. At the same time, travelling between major European capitals is easy and cheap. VU University is conveniently located close to the airport which is suitable for frequent flyers like myself and close to the center of Amsterdam.
Some of the biggest career orientated events are held annually in Amsterdam, from the prestigious International Banking Cycle, Amsterdam Academic Conference, Accountancy Tour, and Traders Trophy all of which present excellent prospects for meeting future employers and learning about international companies.
EU students who work for at least 8 hours a week, receive a grant (approx EUR 300 per month) from the Dutch government DUO (it used to be called the IB-Groep for more information visit the site – www.ib-groep.nl).
It is no surprise that I have absolutely fallen in love with Amsterdam and I will possibly start my career here after graduation (as I do not want to leave). A final word of advice is to not miss the introduction week. It is the most fun packed event with numerous competitions, concerts, sports and trips. If you have any queries I would be happy to help, just reply to this blog! See you in Amsterdam!