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Oliver Callaghan

Student experiences

'I love living in Amsterdam. I have lived and worked in several countries prior to studying in Amsterdam and I can safely say that Amsterdam is my favourite city to live in.'

Oliver Callaghan

Oliver Callaghan is in his second year of the Bachelor's in European studies. He tells us about his experience of the programme, the city and learning Italian.

I went to St Bedes Senior School in Sussex, England. I was unsure about what I wanted to do after university and though I was interested in subjects such as history and literature, I did not necessarily want to specialise in them. European Studies in Amsterdam offered me a chance to explore a new city and a new culture as well as an array of different subjects and courses. Honestly, I had no real expectations other than the good reputation of the university as it was the first year that the University of Amsterdam was offering the programme in English. I thought that the courses were arranged in such a way as to take you on a basic journey through the processes of European integration in the form of economics, law, literature and history. 

The program coordinators are always very clear about what they expect from us and there is a helpful tutoring system. For my language course I chose Italian. We were advised by our tutors and by our programme coordinators to be as creative as possible in our choosing of language, as our repertoire of languages would set us apart from others later in our studies and in the work place. So I figured that there can’t be that many people who speak Swedish – my native tongue – and Italian. But I also love Italian culture and the language, every word sounds like it is made up by someone in order to confirm the Italian stereotype that every word has to end with a pronounced vowel. 

I have chosen to major in history, because it was the subject (Turning Points in Modern European History) which I enjoyed most in the first year of the programme. Then later in the year when all of the different majors were pitched to us first years, the major in History really stood out to me. 

I have recently been accepted into the honours programme for European Studies, so I will be concentrating on keeping my average above a 7.5 and completing all of the honours courses. I will also be pursuing a research practicum as part of the honours programme, so I will be staying in Amsterdam for the duration of my studies to concentrate on that. 

I love living in Amsterdam. I have lived and worked in several countries prior to studying in Amsterdam and I can safely say that Amsterdam is my favourite city to live in. There is always something happening in Amsterdam, always something to do or places to explore. It is the perfect size city where nobody is in a rush anywhere (apart from the cyclists) and everywhere can be reached by bike. The beer isn’t bad either.