Why did I choose to study in the Netherlands?
During my studies at the Saint-Petersburg State University of Film and Television I was already a proactive and ambitious student, but I wanted something more in my life. Driven by the desire to develop myself and realize my potential, I have decided to apply for a master programme in the Netherlands. I felt that this is the right country for me to reach my goals. Getting to know Dutch people, visiting this country and starting learning Dutch at the Netherlands Institute in Saint-Petersburg made me completely fall in love with this country, its culture and its people.
The most difficult part of the application process for me was…
I can characterize my application process by just one word “uncertainty”. It was uncertainty about how to present myself, how to persuade the application commission to believe in me, in my true motivation to become an excellent student of the VU University Amsterdam, and simply be patient. As for many of us my education to a great extent was depending on a scholarship. For me this was creating the greatest stress and uncertainty about the likelihood of realizing my dreams. So now you will probably understand how madly happy I was when I was awarded with the university scholarship (VU Fellowship Programme).
My first impressions of the Netherlands and the VU University Amsterdam
First the Netherlands felt like home as it was constantly raining, but it saluted me with friendly and caring people, new friends, fresh see air and tasty stroopwafels. I am not going to talk about the amount of bicycles around. See my university for the first time was very exciting. I had a feeling that I just moved from one small house to a very big one where I had to figure out my new way of living (thanks to all who helped me). I was impressed by the atmosphere of freedom, creativity and innovation. Everywhere you could see students chatting, studying, promoting something or checking their e-mail. There was a feeling of vitality in the atmosphere, which you can immediately want to be part of. Despite getting a bit lost in different buildings and its wings, I think my process of first adaption went quite well.
I would describe my process of study at the VU University Amsterdam as…
For me, my studies at the VU University Amsterdam did not only exceed my expectations, but they also made me even more motivated and more open minded. Next to the career-related importance of the disciplines and the quality of classes, they also brought a lot of fun and creativity as we were continuously working on different projects in teams. Lectures were clever connected to the practical exercises, giving us an opportunity to apply own knowledge solving real practical problems. For all ambitious students there was also an Honours Programme where we were busy expanding our horizons even further.
How did I get used to the life in the Netherlands?
This was quite challenging for me as I was not a big traveler before I came to the Netherlands and this was my first time living so far away from my family and friends. To survive and be happy in a new country you should start by making friends. During my studies I noticed that international students are getting along much faster with other international studies than with Dutch students. This is probably due to sharing the same experiences of being away from their home countries. So it is nice to have support and together discover the Dutch way of living.
A funny moment from my studies at the VU University Amsterdam
Every year the VU University Amsterdam organizes a VU Multicultural day. During this day all the international students from all over the world are invited to represent their country and win a prize for the best country. Despite that in my master studies there were just me and other two Russian girls, I think we did quite a good job: printed a big “matryoshka” from carton, made salad “Olivier”, and brought some vodka and caviar. The only thing: we could not find the traditional costumes. It was so funny to give a try of all of this to the dean of the faculty and the jury together with smiling and signing Russian folk songs. At the end the jury unexpectedly said that if the criteria for choosing a winner was “who are the loveliest and the cuties girls in the world” we would have certainly won. We were so excited!
My advice for prospective students planning to study in the Netherlands
First, if you decide to apply for study programme in the Netherlands, be ready to work hard from the start. For some of you this will be the first experience of studying in English, so it will take extra effort from you to study at the same tempo as other students. Second, be open-minded and do not be afraid to say something wrong. The Dutch culture is a very open one and everyone is welcome to share his/her thoughts. Third, try to make useful connections with people working in the international office as well as other potentially helpful people.
I see myself in 3 years…
I have finished my master programme 2 years ago, then became a junior researcher at the faculty and this year I was accepted for a PhD position at the faculty. I must say that I never planned it, but I just got very involved with the university and the research. I felt that building up a scientific career is the right thing for me to do at the moment. I hope that in the coming three years I would be able to successfully defend my dissertation. I would like to create opportunities for me to share my thoughts, contribute to science and practice by presenting my work at international conferences. As a PhD candidate I also have to teach, so in the coming year I would like to develop my teaching skills, which I can further use for my career would it be in university or in the business world.
MSc in Business Administration, specialization in HRM (2010-2011)
- MSc Honours Programme in Business Research (abri.vu.nl)
- Apply for a PhD position (feweb.vu.nl)
- Working at VU (vu.nl/en)
- Studying MSc Marketing at the VU – The road to success (studyinamsterdam.wordpress.com)