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EN

'I always dreamed of studying literature, because it reflects our worlds in so many unexpected ways. English is the most internationally relevant language to study. Some writers, like Joseph Conrad, started writing in English and not in their mother tongue. Why? Just in search of a broader public? How does his choice of language influences his books?'

Mees van Stiphout

‘The best part of studying English at the UvA is the way you are treated’

I always dreamed of studying literature, because it reflects our worlds in so many unexpected ways. English is the most internationally relevant language to study. Some writers, like Joseph Conrad, started writing in English and not in their mother tongue. Why? Just in search of a broader public? How does his choice of language influences his books?

Academic approach

‘The level of dialogue is very academic from the start. In my first semester we already did literary criticism and had to do research, so you develop a lot of new skills from the very start. You are also invited to think about the rest of your academic career and that is partly because of the individual approach. The atmosphere is based on an equal status between student and teacher. Here you are invited to give your own opinion during courses, even if it is controversial. But teachers are also very open to share their research background. That helps you to stay involved in your studies.'

First year

'The first year was tougher than expected. Some courses are for example intertwined and you need all the grades on a certain level or else you will fail all the courses. This system puts a lot more pressure on getting good grades during courses. There was also far more attention for literature than I initially thought there would be.’

'I already noticed that my studies are useful: I work for an international website that provides financial news about digital commerce. It’s a very interesting job and I was definitely hired because of my English skills!’