My name is Dominik and I am currently in the Master of Science programme of Finance at VU University Amsterdam. There were several reasons why I started my master here in Amsterdam. But first things first, I was born in Germany and obtained my bachelor’s degree in Vienna (Austria) at the Vienna University of Economics and Business. The four main arguments why I decided to study in Amsterdam were the high educational level in the Netherlands, the duration of the master program(1 year), the study fees, which are really affordable compared to the UK, and last but not least the beautiful city of Amsterdam.
One of the most important things to do long before your arrival is looking for an appropriate flat or room. When I received my admission letter and offer letter from the student office in April 2012, I directly applied for student housing via DUWO and within one month I received the confirmation that I can live together with my girlfriend on the campus in Uilenstede. The people from DUWO were really supportive and it was even possible to get a nice flat, although my girlfriend is not studying in Amsterdam. It is also really nice to live for example in De Pijp or near the city center but drawbacks are the prices and the limited supply of private flats.
When we arrived in the mid of August, Amsterdam showed its brightest side. In the first three weeks the weather was really nice and Amsterdam is perfectly located for short trips to the beach and the beautiful area around Amsterdam. Moreover other big cities like Rotterdam and The Hague are not far and you are also in Brussels, Paris or London within a few hours.
At the end of August we had the introduction week organized by ESN. Within this week we did all the administrative things like registering in the town, for the studies, opening a bank account and so on. These institutions were represented in the sport hall of the VU Sport center. Those tasks weren`t difficult at all because the student office provided us with every help and information you can think of. Additionally, every time when I had a ask for information about my studies or something else, the two student officers of the economics faculty FEWEB replied within hours and had always a solution to hand. My recommendation is to attend under any circumstances at the introduction week due to meeting a lot of new friends and building up your personal network that will help you during your studies.
After the first two weeks I realized very fast that if you want to have good grades in this master programme you also have to put a lot of effort in it. In the majority of the courses we had practical exercises such as valuating different companies (Harvard Business School) via case studies or finding an innovative investment strategy. Those tasks had to be handed in every week or every two weeks and we had the possibility to work together in groups from 2 to 4. With these assignments you have the possibility to improve your exam grade because those exercises count up to 30% of the whole course grade. To sum up, I really enjoyed the way how most of the courses were thought. Almost every professor encouraged the students to think critical and made it possible to have lively discussions among the students and with the professor. My recommendations for all future students are:
- Attend every single class even it is not that interesting for you!
- Find nice and smart people with whom you think you can work with!
- Try to do all your stuff (assignments) during the week!
If you follow these three rules you will definitely succeed in your studies and you will have enough time during the weekends to enjoy one of the most livable cities of the world.
If you have any questions don`t hesitate and contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org