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Meet the students

Over 3,000 international and exchange students are enrolled at the UvA. See what Brazilian students Gustavo López, Lucas Mountbatten and Jayme de Castro have to say about studying in Amsterdam.

Gustavo López

New media and digital culture

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Lucas Mountbatten

Philosophy

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Jayme de Castro

Master’s in International Finance

Jayme de Castro
Jayme de Castro

Why did you want to study abroad? 

I’ve always enjoyed meeting people from different nationalities and with different life stories, to listen to their points of view and share ideas. I graduated from the University of São Paulo in 2010 and I had been working in international banks for three years when I decided it was the time to interrupt my career and resume my education.  I decided that studying abroad would be a good way to experience a radical and exciting change in my lifestyle, while taking my career to the next level.

Why did you choose the UvA?   

I chose the UvA because of the very interesting curriculum of the Master’s in International Finance, and because of the strong reputation that the Netherlands and the UvA enjoy in terms of education and in the field of finance. The characteristics of Amsterdam itself, and the combination of a cosmopolitan global metropolis with the coziness and scale of a small city, also played a role in my decision.

How was the application procedure?

The application procedure was extremely well organised and clear. After being admitted, the University assisted with absolutely every step, from the visa application, to housing, to opening a bank account in the Netherlands.

Is the education system in the Netherlands different from in Brazil? 

The quality and level of education was very good, and those who think Amsterdam is all about partying will be surprised to see the library and study rooms busy until late, even on Sunday evenings. 

I did not a feel a huge difference in the teaching style compared to my university in Brazil. However, the lecturers in Amsterdam were constantly asking students’ opinions and were easily reachable outside of class or by email. In my programme, the small number of students permitted individual attention from the professors, who frequently knew the names of students and their professional backgrounds.   

Were you satisfied with your experience at the UvA?

My experience at the UvA/Amsterdam Business School was excellent and more than met my expectations. The environment was very international, and the facilities and activities allowed me to interact with colleagues from other programmes and fields throughout the year. I felt integrated as a member of the UvA community from the first activities of the introduction week. 

What are you doing at the moment? 

While writing my thesis over the summer, I was offered a job at the Rabobank (a Dutch bank), so I have continued living in Amsterdam since graduating. I intend to stay for some years more since the city still excites me both personally and professionally.

What would be your #1 tip for prospective students?

My #1 tip is to maintain a disciplined and productive schedule from the beginning of the academic year, in order to have enough free time to fully enjoy all the activities offered by the University and the student associations: courses at the student cultural centre CREA, parties and trips with the international students association (ISN), sports at the University sports centre, etc. The summer in the Netherlands has a fantastic atmosphere that impresses even Brazilians, and you wouldn’t like to miss it because you have exams to retake or your whole thesis to write.

Guilherme von Zuben

Master's in Economics: International Economics and Globalisation

Guilherme von Zuben
Guilherme von Zuben

Why did you want to study abroad?

I wanted to study in another country because it broadens your horizon, both personally and career-wise, and I wanted to meet new cultures.

Why did you chose the University of Amsterdam (UvA) in particular?

I am from Brazil and completed my Bachelor’s degree in Germany but I wanted to pursue my Master’s degree somewhere else. One of the reasons why I chose the University of Amsterdam is that it ranks highly in international rankings, both generally and in specific areas. During my Master's degree at the UvA I have come into contact with highly qualified professors and lived in an international environment with people from all over the world.

I also really like the city.  Amsterdam is gezellig (cosy) and has a nice atmosphere. It is well connected and has a lot to offer. There is always something going on here, it’s a capital city with lots of art and culture - a real melting pot. 

Are you satisfied with your choice? 

Yes, definitely. I've learned a lot, both academically and in terms of discipline. The programme is very intense. I have had to put a lot of effort into it. It was also really nice to meet so many new people. 

What was your most memorable experience as a student in Amsterdam? 

The whole experience of living here, going to the park by bike, meeting friends, going to class. I very rarely use the public transportation. I would rather bike because everything is close by. Sometimes biking is even quicker than public transport. 

People here are approachable, although there can sometimes be a language barrier with Dutch people. Before I arrived, I learned some Dutch during the summer at the Institute for Dutch Language Education. 

What’s your opinion of the UvA? And what differences are there between the UvA and your home university?

The UvA is very similar to my university in Germany, but I cannot really compare it to Brazil. At the UvA, it is easy to interact with others and very easy to approach people. 

Here, I have had less freedom in choosing electives and there is a higher expectancy of class attendance, but that could also be the difference between a Bachelor’s versus a Master’s programme.  The Master’s is really intense and fast-paced, but it is doable if you put enough effort in. 

What do you find funny or surprising about Dutch culture?

Everyone plans everything in advance, while in Brazil things are really flexible, more relaxed. Dutch people also eat bread for most meals. 

Do you have a tip for new students?

Be prepared to realise that it takes time to adjust to the tempo, especially in the beginning. It can be overwhelming, but it’s doable. Just focus. And invest the first few months that you are here in your study, your social life will come later.