Join the VU Amsterdam Blog/Vlog Team!

rain in summer

VU Amsterdam is looking for students to run their student blog!

VU Amsterdam is looking for students to run their student blog! Are you looking for a way to show your talents to the world, share your experience of being a student at VU Amsterdam and get to know new people all at the same time? Then keep reading:

The VU International Office is looking for motivated & enthusiastic students that can run our VU student blog together and create a digital space where the world can find out what it’s really like to be a student in Amsterdam. We aim to start with this new team from mid-January.

The current blog ‘study in Amsterdam’ needs a rebuild and hopefully you will be part of the team to do this.


What are we looking for?

– 3 writers;
– 1 photographer; and
– 1 videographer (vlogger).

One of the above people will also be appointed as the Head Editor.

Do note, you can also combine skills, some writers can take a good shot and vice versa. The positions will be filled with a flexible approach.

We aim for 4 articles including 1 vlog per month. As the work is divided amongst 5 people, you should not have to spend more than 5 hours a month on this.


What’s in it for you?

Although this doesn’t concern paid positions, there’s a lot for you to gain from this experience:
– You’ll have a platform (VU Social Media, Advalvas Magazine, etc.) with a reach of thousands of people that will see your work;
– Get guidance and learn from a professional editorial team;
– The experience will obviously be an interesting addition to your CV;
– This will be a great network / social experience;
– We will supply you with an official certificate after having completed your time with us and we can serve as a reference for future job / study applications.


The application assignments

If you want to be part of our team then please pick one of the following assignments, or mix ‘n match:

blog-typewriter

1. Writer’s assignment:
Write around 400-500 words about an ‘odd’ experience or ‘strange encounter’ you’ve had during your studies here in Amsterdam.

blog-video
blog-camera

2. Vlogger’s assignment:
Go on to the streets and get non-Dutch speakers to pronounce the name ‘Vrije Universiteit’. The video should be more or less 1 minute in length.

3. Photographer’s assignment:
Send in up to 5 images that you’ve shot of your favourite place(s) on campus.


4. Additional assignment for ALL:
As you can see we already have an existing blog https://studyinamsterdam.wordpress.com/. Please write down 3 ideas on how you would improve this blog.

In our selection we look for the most original, well written, well edited visual and/or written stories.


There’s a few rules we need to point out

– The contest is intended for VU University students only, with a valid registration for academic year 2016/2017; any VU student is welcome although we do want students to have an international background / experience (exchange, semester in Amsterdam, Bachelor, etc. etc. )
– All footage needs to be recorded, edited and collected by yourself;
– You have until January 15th 2017 to submit your work to: webteamio.soz@vu.nl. Given the size of your files, please make sure to use WeTransfer to send us your masterpieces;
– We do not accept video material that is in any way inappropriate, discriminatory and/or offensive;
– Your videos will be evaluated by a recruitment team consisting of 1 student and 2 VU staff members.
– By submitting your video / written work / photo’s you are agreeing to the possibility of your material being used for promotional activities organized by VU University, our social media channels such as Facebook and YouTube and presentations on studying abroad.

Ready? Set? Go!

Why Study at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Our current students know what makes VU University an inspiring and challeging university to pursue your bachelor, master or exchange studies. Curious to hear their opinion about the lectures offered, the services we provide to international students ánd what makes Amsterdam such a great city to study? We strongly suggest that you check out this video:

The Punishment Wars

The Punishment Wars!

Check out this inspirational inaugural lecture from Toby Kiers who was appointed University Research Chair at our university this year.

toby kiers

Her research focuses on the evolution of deceit in nature. How organisms like bacteria and fungi developed clever strategies to punish their cheaters and most importantly – how we can learn from them.

Well, this is different: My first 30 days on student exchange

VU Campus

VU Campus

Ted Flett, one of our exchange students, wrote a column in Canadian Lawyer Magazine on his first 30 days in Amsterdam.

“Well, this is different,” I think to myself, straddling my bike waiting for the bicycle lane traffic signal to cross over one of Amsterdam’s many canals on my way to class.”
Get the whole article here:

http://canadianlawyermag.com/5768/Well-this-is-different-My-first-30-days-on-student-exchange.html

Higher Education in The Netherlands: Setting a new benchmark for International Students

Café Dissensus

By Laura Smit 

Why study in the Netherlands

In November last year, I was given the chance to visit 5 cities in India to represent the Dutch University I work for: VU University Amsterdam, at a number of QS World Grad School Tour education fairs. One of these cities was New Delhi and there I met this issue’s Guest Editor, Rajdeep Guha, who requested me to write an article on higher studies opportunities in the Netherlands.

After having looked at Cafe Dissensus publications, I realize that having been offered this opportunity is in fact an honor and so, let me not waste more words on this intro and start telling you first about my country the Netherlands, its educational system, the opportunities it offers to young scholars from all parts of the world and finally, give you some tips and tricks on how to be given one…

View original post 1,472 more words

The Festive Season in Amsterdam

Many international students go home to visit their family in friends during the festive season. However, some make sure they have a chance to enjoy at least a little of what Amsterdam has to offer at this time of year. From checking out the magnificent Christmas tree on Dam Square, visiting the Christmas markets and of course, ice skating on one of Amsterdam’s famous squares!

I Amsterdam has compiled a wonderful top 12 tip list from which to choose.

But, what’s is definitely worth staying in Amsterdam for will be New Year’s Eve! Why? Well, here’s our very own top 3 reason:

1. Fireworks – To scare away ‘bad demons’, we set off the fireworks. And honestly, we can promise, you’ve never seen as many fireworks in your life. If you have sensitive ears, wear your earplugs. It goes on for around 3 hours in a row.

Firework in Amsterdam

Firework in Amsterdam

2. Oliebollen and Appelflappen – Delicious hole-free doughnuts coated in icing sugar and wonderful apple fritters which do come with holes!

Oliebollen and Appelflappen

Oliebollen and Appelflappen

3. The Parties – All night long and too many to choose from.

Awakenings New Year Eve party 2014

Awakenings New Year Eve party 2014

But, whatever you choose to do – we wish you the best holiday season ever and a very happy 2015!

The International Student Barometer – A student’s opinion does count!

Your views count!

Your views count!

VU University Amsterdam always works on improving services for students to make sure you are having an amazing international learning experience. Student views about VU are therefore very important to us. The International Student Barometer (ISB) is a worldwide online survey that assists us in finding out what we’re doing things right and where we can make improvements. And of course it gives students the chance to tell us what they really think.

What improvements have we made already?
One of the elements we have improved at VU, based on student views, are our Career Services. VU University has already invested in Career Services for a few of years now. However, due to the current economic climate we noticed that students need and expect more support from us and would like to gain more in depth information to make solid career plans. By renewing our Career Strategy and developing more activities in this field, we hope to meet your wishes. So, what’s new:

Upcoming Career Events:

ITEA - The Amsterdam Career Event

ITEA – The Amsterdam Career Event

November: Zuidas Business Tour
The unique opportunity to have a look into our own backyard where academics and business meet; The Zuidas.

January: Business Exposure Event
One or two successful international companies will present themselves at VU and you get the chance to meet your future employer.

January – March: Workshops on CV writing and Interview training
Learn how to write a CV for a Dutch company and how to prepare for upcoming job interviews.

April: International Talent Event Amsterdam
A full day of workshops, presentations and a job fair.

Soon more information to be found on our Facebook Page.

How can students help us improve our services (and at the same time create a chance to win some great goodies / 1000 euro’s in cash?)
As stated earlier, our student’s views really do count! So, if you are a VU student, please take the time to fill out the ISB questionnaire you received per email last week, and will receive again next week. To thank you for helping us, a €1000,- cash prize will be given away amongst respondents worldwide. VU University also gives away an IPhone and two VU Bikes amongst VU respondents. The prize winners of the Iphone and the VU bikes will be announced during the ‘borrel’ on the 18th of December. The official invitation for this gathering will be sent soon.

Please, keep in mind you have until Friday the 5th of December to fill out the survey (and win those prizes!).

We are very much looking forward to meeting you – at the ‘borrel’ and during one of our Career Activities in 2015!

Amsterdam Summer School – Reasons and Experiences

Amsterdam

For the first time this year, VU University Amsterdam started offering its own summer school programme with wide a choice of courses that range from ‘Anne Frank in Amsterdam and Beyond’ to ‘Crisis and Reform of the European Union’ and ‘International Criminal Justice’ to name but a few.

Needless to say, we are proud of this project but, what would the reasons for students be, to invest and partake in a summer school? QS has done some of the work for us and listed 6 very good reasons why summer schools are in fact a very valid option:

1. For those of you who are not sure about university, summer school will give you a useful taster of attending lectures and seminars. You don’t miss out on the social aspect either, with nights out and various extracurricular activities often organized as part of the course. Meeting and interacting with your fellow students is also a plus point, and will let you get a real feel for the university and what it has to offer.

2. Attending summer school paints your university application in a favorable light. It shows commitment and dedication to the degree you want to undertake. Institutions across the globe award credits for summer school, so do some research if you intend to use summer school as a stepping stone.

3. It gives you better idea of what you want to study at a university. Quite often we choose courses that our parents want us to take or subjects that we are good at, ignoring what we actually have a passion for. This can create quite a dilemma for a student looking to make a balanced decision. At summer school you will be given a choice of courses, without having to commit a full study programme.

4. Courses are often taught by several faculties, at the university campus and at the same level as full-time courses. In case of the VU University Amsterdam Summer School. The courses are taught be several professors with varying backgrounds. On top of that the programme is filled with field trips to organisations relating to the subjects concerning.

5. As an international student, it gives you a feel of what it would be like to study abroad in a particular location; a potentially invaluable piece of research.

6. Meeting people from different backgrounds and cultures is part of the experience. You can make friends from different parts of the world, or for the more business minded, it is great for networking. Summer school is not just for prospective undergraduates – postgraduates and professionals can also apply. The combination of all three provides for a great learning environment for all.

All in all, spending 1 or 2 weeks at a summer school abroad, is a very efficient way to work on your self development and to discover that the world outside your own doorstep, away from friends and family, is in fact not very daunting at all. It can be the first step that will lead you to discover the rest of the world and you place in it.

To find out more about your options at VU University Amsterdam, check these short films about our students’ experiences at Amsterdam Summer School and get some more in depth information on the programme itself.

Best ingredients for the perfect place of study

Every year round about this time, when we find ourselves at the peak of the madness of the application season at VU University Amsterdam, I keep asking myself this question: What drives students to choose our little corner of the world to study in, and why VU University? We speak and meet students from all hidden parts of world, with different backgrounds, religions, colours, shapes and sizes. They have often cross many borders and leave family and friends behind to come to the Netherlands, a country known for its tulips, waterworks, liberal laws, and endless flat fields filled with black and white cows.

Curious cows

Curious cows

What is it exactly that makes students pick this tiny little part of the world, out of the thousands of wonderful places that can be found on this globe? Sara Naqwi is one of the many examples. For her it was a combination of reasons; The availability of a study programme that sparked her interest and maybe the need for something completely different than what she was used to. But, what ingredients does the perfect place for study consist of for most?

I have done some research and in combination with some personal experiences (I was the typical international student once…) I came up with the following list of questions that students most probably try to find the answer for, before making their life-changing decision on where to study in this world:
1. Which country do I want study in?
2. What is the quality of the university?
3. Is the right study programme available in a language that I speak fluently?
4. How much does it cost?

Of course you are interested in how well the Netherlands, Amsterdam and in particular VU University do when looking at the above questions. So let’s have a look:

Country
Quality of Life
How well does the Netherlands do when looking at points like quality of life, climate and matters such like. In Quality of Life index published by the OECD, we score pretty well, number 8 of 34 countries measured within the developed world. And, what’s more, we score extremely high in the OECD’s programme for International Student Assessment with an average of 519 (the OECD average is 497).

Climate
The perfect climate is of course based on personal preferences. The Netherlands has it all: winter, spring, summer and autumn. Sometimes even spread over a single day. All this makes that our black and white cows can however enjoy the greenest fields of the world.

Green backyard of VU University Amsterdam

Green backyard of VU University Amsterdam

Quality of education
When people decide to look further than their own country borders for finding suitable education, all of a sudden, there are countless universities to choose from. This makes it extremely difficult to find out for sure, whether the quality of the education offered (and therefore the value of the diplomas awarded) is in fact of a high enough standard.

In the Netherlands the quality of education is something we are proud of. On the third of December 2013 the last ranking table was published by the OECD*, who charted educational standard across the developed world. And although it was a close call, we made it in the top 10! Listed 10th, scoring better than pretty impressive names like for example Germany (16), Australia (19) and the US (36). Are we proud? Yes, we are a little.

These days, most students will also refer to worldwide university rankings to ensure themselves that they are properly preparing themselves for a successful future. University rankings are being criticized due to the fact that scores can be easily manipulated and there are difficulties in view of the natural sciences and medicine vs. social sciences bias. However, students do need to be able to refer to something when making their choice.
The most commonly used rankings available are:
Times Higher Education (VU – 144)
Shanghai Ranking (VU – 101-150)
Leiden University Ranking (VU – 64)

Study Programme
English taught study programmes can be found all over the world, but maybe not as much as one would expect these days. In bigger European countries like France, Italy and Spain, they are still a rarity. However, in more northern parts of Europe, there is a steep growth in the offer of English taught study programmes. When looking at the numbers displayed on StudyPortals.eu, the Netherlands is in fact the biggest provider in Europe (of the non-English speaking countries of course).

In case of VU University, we offer a wide range of fully accredited English taught study programmes, both on Master and Bachelor level.

Cost of education
For most people in the world, getting an international education is still an unaffordable luxury or at least a serious investment. Cost of education is therefore for most students we meet, definitely an issue. Within Europe the price tags connected to education differ greatly. Studyportals, again offers a very handy overview of the differences in cost per country. In the Netherlands, prices are mid range in comparison to the rest of Europe. For most talented students, very good scholarship options are available that will cover most expenses.

So, by looking at the above indicators it seems fairly obvious that a choice to complete your education in the Netherlands, and possibly at VU University Amsterdam seems to be a perfect one if you are looking to study in a thriving economic climate at a well ranked university. But in the end strong individual capacity in combination with a natural drive to success is what makes students successful, whether they study at a ‘brand name’ university in a popular capital city, or not.

International graduation July 2013

International graduation July 2013

In my case however, it was great to find out that after having spent many years abroad, for me Amsterdam is the best place to live in. A city with a town spirit where people from all over the world have been finding their homes for hundreds of years. I’ve met many international students over the years and in every single case they loved the time they spent with us. I was lucky enough to see them develop from young and curious individuals to self-confident and talented professionals. Many of them went back to use their new skills and knowledge in their home countries but there is also quite a large number of people that found jobs in Amsterdam and surrounding areas. Whatever your personal choice may be; It is a great big world we life in and happiness can be found in many places. Amsterdam most definitely is one of those places.

International Student Barometer for VU Students

International Student Barometer for VU Students
VU University Amsterdam always works on improving services for students to make sure you are having an amazing international learning experience. Student views about VU are therefore very important to us. The International Student Barometer (ISB) is a worldwide online survey that assists us in finding out what we’re doing right and where we can make improvements. And of course it gives students the chance to tell us what they think.

What improvements have we made already?
Career Services
One of the elements we have improved at VU, based on student views, are our Career Services. VU already invests in Career Services for a couple of years. However, due to the current economic climate we noticed that students need and expect  more support from VU and would like to gain more in depth information to make career plans. By renewing our Career Strategy and developing more activities in this field, we hope to meet your wishes. So, what is new:
– Workshops ‘How to write your CV;
– Interview Training;
– Business tour on Zuidas, the international business district of Amsterdam;
– International Career Event with a full day of workshops, presentations and a job fair.

Soon more information to be found on our Facebook Page.

How do you help us improve our services and compete for prizes?
As stated earlier, your views count! So, if you are a VU student, please take the time to fill out the ISB questionnaire you received last week, and will receive again this Wednesday the 4th of December. To thank you for helping us, a €1000,- cash prize will be given away amongst respondents worldwide. VU University also gives away an IPad amongst VU respondents. The prize winner of the Ipad will be announced during the ‘borrel’ on the 19th of December at the VU International Office. The official invitation will be send in a later stage. Please, keep in mind you have until Friday the 6th of December to fill out the survey (and win prizes!).

We are looking forward to meet you – at the ‘borrel’ and during one of our Career Activities in 2014!