Over 3,000 international and exchange students are enrolled at the UvA. See what Elena Mironova and Anastasia Gavrilova have to say about studying in Amsterdam.
Master’s in Actuarial Science and Mathematical Finance
It is a great opportunity to get out of your usual environment, to change your life significantly, to learn a lot and to meet a lot of people from all over the world.
I received a scholarship for the UvA. In fact, without the scholarship I would not have been able to come. Moreover, not that many universities have actuarial science in their programme list, so the choice was quite limited. But also living in the Netherlands, in Amsterdam, matters a lot - it is a wonderful place
The attitude towards students. It seems like everything is here for us. Want to study hard? Here you go, a couple of assignments and a big comfortable study centre to finish them on time. Want to be active and social? Here you go, all sorts of events from career days to study trips and excursions with the International Student Network. Need some help? Whatever question or problem you are facing, there is always someone at the UvA to help you.
The pace here is much faster: 2 courses for 6 weeks, a study week, exams, and then it repeats throughout the year. Back home we had over 10 courses at the same time and an exam session twice a year. Such a fast pace of studying always keeps you alert and prepared, you need to start working hard from the very first class in order to make it all in the end.
Do not be afraid and do not hesitate to ask questions! The staff of the university is very helpful, they will always check whether your documents were received, they will always answer the question or refer to someone who knows the answer, they are always there for you.
An important benefit is an internationally recognisable degree. It is an amazing start for an international career in any field. Moreover, we do not have as many international students studying in Russian universities. I think this is one of the greatest benefits here: you have a chance to meet people from different countries, to get to know about their cultures at first hand.
So far it is the amount of hours I spend at home studying…But seriously, I will remember one professor's excitement when he was telling us about the most recent developments in his field, I will remember the introduction days when the impressions are new and fresh, I will also remember events of the Excellence track organised by the most committed coordinators: they brought together a team of very interesting people.
MSc in Business Studies (now called ‘Business Administration’), Specialisation: Strategy
I have always wanted to get international experience, live abroad, and get first-hand experience of other cultures and ways of working. I think these things are crucial if you study business and wish to become an effective manager.
I chose the UvA because I liked the flexibility of the programme in terms of content and the wide choice of courses. Having worked for a year after my Bachelor’s, I knew exactly which subjects I would like to focus on. Furthermore, the UvA is a high-ranked university worldwide. Lastly, financial factors were of importance for me too and the UvA is definitely great value for money.
I would recommend reading more about the Dutch educational system and finding out about its peculiarities. For instance, I found out that extra-curricular activities are very important here and I tried to elaborate more on those in my resume and motivation letter.
Dutch universities offer far fewer classes than Russian ones do, so the focus here is mostly on self-study. Also, the study programme is usually divided into 6 blocks with exams at the end of each block and this does not let students relax much, even if the work load within each bock might not seem very high. And finally, the grading scale is completely different. In a Dutch university, getting a minimum “pass” grade of 5.5 out of 10 requires only basic knowledge of the subject, but in order to receive a higher grade you have to demonstrate exceptional knowledge. Grades of 9 and 10 are almost non-existent.
Yes, all the staff is very approachable and willing to help.
All the shops close at 6 pm and are often closed on Sundays: plan your time well! This is a huge difference from the ‘Moscow never sleeps’ atmosphere I was used to. Overall, Amsterdam and other Dutch cities are amazing: beautiful, entertaining and 100% bicycle-friendly.
I work at Shell in the Hague as a Finance Improvement Analyst.
Before choosing a particular study programme, you need to have a clear understanding what it is about and how it matches your desired career path. Of course you do not have to have all your future planned, but when it comes to a Master’s, you should have already set a direction for yourself to follow. Read the content of the courses and decide which ones you would like to take in advance. Maybe it makes sense to work for a year or two between Bachelor's and Master's to understand what kind of career and, hence, education would be the best for you.