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EXCHANGE EXPRESS For exchange students

The exchange express is a newsletter for all exchange students. This newsletter contains interesting information which you can us during and after your exchange. In this edition you can find more information about; your transcript, homecoming blues, student testimonials and the announcement of the new You Tube competition. In this newsletter you can also find the winners of the previous photo contest. The photo on the front of this newsletter is the winning photo. It was taken by EsmÊ Cartens who studied in New York. On page 13 you can find the story behind this photo and the other prizewinning photo’s. If you would also like to win a prize go to page 3 quickly and find out more about the details of the new You Tube contest. Enjoy reading! International Student Affairs

1 see: www.english.uva.nl/international

Exchange Express | November 2010


For their specific events and dates, see your own faculty and programme websites

CONTENT 2. Important dates

Christmas holiday

Monday 27 December - Friday 31 December 2010

YouTube contest (see page 3 for details)

Deadline Monday 10 January 2011 12pm

ISN Introductory days (international students)

Thursday 27 January - Saturday 29 January 2011

End of semester 1

Friday 28 January 2011

Semester 2 (2010-2011)

Monday 31 January - Friday 1 July

Summer holiday

Monday 4 July - Friday 2 September 2011

3. Exchange Express YouTube Contest 5. Your Transcript 7. The Homecoming Blues 10. Erasmus / STUNT reports

International Student Network Amsterdam

16. IMPORTANT - Don’t forget to ...

Colophon: International Student Affairs - UvA www.english.uva.nl/international

2 see: www.english.uva.nl/international

Exchange Express | November 2010


Your video could be worth

300 Euro! Join the contest organized by International Student Affairs and faculties of the University of Amsterdam and send us your very best video of your ultimate exchange experience! Be creative Send us your very best video which captures your exchange experience in a truthful manner. Be creative and original and show us what an exchange is like for you. The video should last between one and five minutes long and will be judged on creativity and concept, not the level of professionalism. The deadline for sending in your entry is 7 January 2011. Entries on YouTube Put your film on YouTube and email the link to exchange-sts@uva.nl including your name, the name and country of your host institution and your country of origin. The videos will be placed on the Exchange Express You Tube channel: www.youtube.com/user/exchangevideocontest. The winner will be announced on the website on 17 January 2011.

Please note that International Student Affairs keeps the right to withhold videos from the contest if we think the video is inappropriate

3 see: www.english.uva.nl/international Telegraaf 1 maart 2010

Exchange Express | November 2010


Boğaziçi University

‘...spectrum of active clubs that can help you integrate among the Turkish students.’

Studying at Boğaziçi is like a breath of fresh air. You take this breath every morning you walk alongside the Bosphorus to your classes. In these classes you will receive the best education available in Turkey, since only the very best students in Turkey can enter. The professors are top of the

bill as well, all renown specialist with broad (practical) experience within their expertise. But studying abroad is not just studying. Next to the educational part you will live in a vibrant city with an incredibly rich history and culture. This culture is probably the most interesting feature of the city. It is a culture of

contradictions: Modern versus conservative. Western? Eastern? Hard to define but fascinating anyway. Boğaziçi accommodates a very broad spectrum of active clubs that can help you integrate among the Turkish students. From paragliding, via playing chess, to musical singing. It has often been said,

but the best thing you will keep from your exchange period are the friends you will make from all over the world. This all together makes studying at Boğaziçi an experience you shouldn’t want to miss. Tan Tunali Universiteit van Amsterdam 4

see: www.english.uva.nl/international

Exchange Express | November 2010


Universidad Autonoma Barcelona   The live of an Erasmus student in Barcelona is one big party, with of course a bit of the studying included. I am in Barcelona for over two months and I have seen so much wonderful things, from the creations by Gaudí to have experienced a typical Catalan holiday, Feste de la Mercè. I have done things that I would have never done back home, like learning the Spanish language, walking for two hours up hill to see a church in Tibidabo, and visit a football game from FC Barcelona. I hope by the end of my stay I have seen a bit more from Spain and look back without any regret. Quinyne Albertzoon Universiteit van Amsterdam

‘I have done things that I would have never done back home...’

Your Transcript After you have completed your time abroad, your host university should issue you with an official transcript. This is a record of the courses you have taken and the grades awarded. In most cases, however, you will not receive it automatically: you have

to request a copy from the international office or registry responsible for the course(s) taken. In general, the transcript is sent to the International Office at your faculty in Amsterdam about two months after the end

see: www.english.uva.nl/international

of the semester. There are exceptions, though. For this reason it is important to ask your host university about its specific arrangements before you come home. Once you are back in Amsterdam, you must

apply to the Board of Examiners for your programme to convert the details recorded on the transcript into UvA study credits and grades. To do that, the board will usually require a detailed description of

the courses taken – from the student handbook, for example – as well as a conversion formula. You therefore need to make sure that you obtain an explanation of your host university’s credit and marking system. Its

international office or registry should be able to provide this. Once again, remember to do this before you return to the Netherlands. That will save you a lot of inconvenience and possible disappointment!

‘How to get it, what to do with it’

5

Exchange Express | November 2010


Internship in

New York During Fashion Week I became aware of the fact there were no Dutch designers showing their collections, presenting their work in pop-up galleries or doing anything in this fashion capital at all. So I came up with a plan to link Dutch designers with New York, presented it to the Dutch Consulate in New York and within a few weeks I was actually working for the Dutch Foreign Ministry at Rockefeller Plaza. For three months I interviewed the Dutch and American fashion elite and researched the possibilities of organizing projects with upcoming Dutch designers and the new generation designers in New York. The research report I wrote is now being published and hopefully soon will have its effects.

New York, New York. The Big Apple. I arrived in New York as a nobody, a tourist. I didn’t know anybody, had no clue where to go, didn’t like the food, the music I was dancing to and thought about going back to Amsterdam as soon as my studies were over. After three weeks being more used to the hectic concrete jungle I was living in, I became a grad student at the New School. The following months I fell in love with New York City and I knew I wanted to stay as long as possible, which for me was only possible through “academic training”, a way to extend your visa through your university. see: www.english.uva.nl/international

Before I started with my internship I only knew the city as a student. I was not truly aware of the 24/7 schedule New Yorkers have. Through my internship I realized that through hard work, being enthusiastic, open-minded and always willing to meet new people you can actually become whoever you want to be. Every New Yorker works at least 10-12 hours a day, but still there is so much energy in the city, because everybody is chasing their dreams. Unfortunately, my visa expired in September and I had to go back to Holland. But one thing I know for sure: I need to get back to the Big Apple ASAP! Esmé Cartens Universiteit van Amsterdam

6 Exchange Express | November 2010


The Homecoming Blues The Homecoming Blues is the name we give to the “reverse culture shock” which many people suffer after an extended period abroad. In itself, coming back home is an exciting moment. You have many stories to tell and experiences to share. And to start with everyone is keen to hear them. They’re curious, wanting to know what it was like “out there”. You’re happy to see familiar faces, and only too glad to recount all you have seen and done.

But after a while things can change. That’s when the Homecoming Blues set in. You start to miss being abroad – the people, the climate, the country, the city... You want to go back! Home doesn’t seem quite as exciting as you’d expected. Everything appears the same, plodding along at its own sedate pace. But while nothing seems to have changed, in fact a lot has happened while you’ve been away. Friends have moved on, found new partners or split up with old ones. People have had babies, married, died... You start to notice that friends and family are no longer quite so enthusiastic about your stories. They’ve heard them all before. Life goes on just as it always did, and you have to pick up where you left off. Just as you probably experienced a culture shock some time after you first arrived abroad, now the

same thing is happening in reverse. The euphoria of being back home gives way to a more negative frame of mind. If you find yourself feeling morose, lethargic, tired and restless, then you may well have the Homecoming Blues. But at least you can take comfort in the fact that most returning students go through this phase sooner or later. So how do you beat the Homecoming Blues? Q Keep in touch with the friends you made while you were away. Q Write regularly about your experiences – in your student report and, for example, on your own website or for student magazines. Q Take part in activities on the theme of international studies, like the Study Abroad Fair. They give you the chance to talk about your experiences at length, to a new and interested audience. And don’t worry. They will eventually fade away, that longing to be back where you were, that irritation with life at home, that restlessness or listlessness. Your life will return to its “normal” rhythm. You will never be quite the same again, though. Your experiences abroad have changed you. Perhaps you’ve grown emotionally. Perhaps you’ve become more independent and self-confident. Perhaps your view of the world has changed. Perhaps you are clearer now about your personal and professional goals in life. Nobody can take that away from you, so make the most of it! Q

7 see: www.english.uva.nl/international

Exchange Express | November 2010


‘I really enjoyed the student participation and activities available to me at...’

Pontificia Universidad Católica In June I left the Netherlands to travel to Chile for a student exchange program with the Pontificia Universidad Católica in Santiago. During my stay in Chile the most important news that captured the media was about the trapped miners in northern Chile. They were on the news daily in Chile, but after they found out the miners were still alive, it became global news. At a certain point the news about the miners transformed into a ‘reality show’. After they were freed from the mine it was like a national party

in all of Chile. Everyone was happy that the miners were rescued. However, during my experience the largest national event was in September during the bicentennial independence day. I spend this day in La Serena which is in the north of Chile. Each year Chile’s independence is always celebrated during the weekend while they have barbeques in parks and they dance the national dance: the Cueca. Additionally, the week before the independence day there are a lot of festivities. At my University, for

example, they organized barbeques, played traditional games and held a Cueca competition with live music. There were many students organizing activities on campus from salsa classes to a wine tasting. I really enjoyed the student participation and activities available to me at Pontificia Universidad Católica. Rosanne Dorrepaal University of Amsterdam

8 see: www.english.uva.nl/international

Exchange Express | November 2010


‘Illustrating literary that everthing does go (well)’ As I sit in the iconic double-decker bus to visit the town center of Canterbury I take a glimpse of the historical city in which Orlando Bloom was born. If there is one thing I have learned from my stay in England is ‘everything goes’. I have met people from different countries – Mauritius, Saudi-Arabia and China – but they don’t call themselves Dewadasen, Abdullah or Xiaoxu. It fits in the English attitude of ‘everything goes’: no-one asks why and everyone accepts that they are Angelina, Jimmy and Elena. While my friends and I are guessing how old some buildings must be, we come closer to Westgate (a sixty-foot-high gate of the city wall build in 1379). Although it is the largest surviving city gate in England and is listed Graded I the double-decker bus slowly passes through it leaving only a few inches between the bus and the gate. Illustrating literary that everything does go (well). Nusrut Nisa Bahadur University of Amsterdam

University of Kent at Canterbury

see: www.english.uva.nl/international

9

Exchange Express | November 2010


Erasmus/STUNT UvA students who are going abroad on any of the UvA exchange programmes can apply for an Erasmus or a STUNT scholarship. They can use this scholarship as compensation in exchange expenses. The Erasmus scholarship is paid in two instalments; the first instalment is paid prior to departure after signing the Erasmus contract and the second is paid after the exchange upon the submission of the Erasmus report and Statement of Host Institution/Enterprise. These last two documents have been sent over the email after International Student Affairs received the contract. The STUNT scholarship will be paid upon your return to the Netherlands after you handed in a copy of your transcript and the STUNT report. The deadline for submitting this (academic) year’s Erasmus report and statement is 1 July 2011, for the STUNT report the deadline is 1 September 2011. These deadlines apply even when you are still abroad on that given day. Please note that the two dates are absolute; a delay of even one day may have serious consequences and can even result in a reclaim of the entire scholarship. Compared to last year there is one big difference. UvA students who are awarded with a an Erasmus or STUNT scholarship in academic year 2010-2011 can now find more information and key documents on the Erasmus and STUNT blackboard page. If you are receiving a Erasmus or STUNT scholarship and you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact ms. Carine de Wilde of International Student Affairs at erasmus-sts@uva.nl. see: www.english.uva.nl/international

I

nternational

S N tudent

etwork

Amsterdam

Studying abroad. It will probably be the highlight of your student life, and certainly an experience you never forget. The chance to discover another culture at close hand, to meet people from every corner of the world and to learn in an entirely new environment. Guiding you through this opportunity, so that you can really make the most of it, the Erasmus Student Network has been established to assist exchange students with social and cultural integration in their host countries. International Student Network Amsterdam is part of ESN. We organise activities for all overseas students at the UvA and HvA, ranging from excursions to parties and from sports days to a canal cruise through Amsterdam on Queen’s Day. By getting involving with ISN – on the Executive, as a coach or by joining the Activities Committee, for example – you can stay in touch with international students and their life here in the Netherlands. To find out more, e-mail info@isn-amsterdam.nl. Or come along to our weekly “borrel” at Café Heffer (Oudebrugsteeg 7, on Tuesdays from 9.30pm) once you are back in Amsterdam.

10 Exchange Express | November 2010


Please introduce yourself I’m Max Dalton from Australia, where I study Law and International Studies at UNSW. I arrived in Amsterdam on the 21st of August 2010. I am 20 years old. Hi! I’m Thomas Lambrechtsen but you can call me Tommy. I’m studying Media and Culture at The University of Amsterdam. At the moment I’m finishing my bachelor degree at the UNSW in Sydney. What was your first reaction upon arriving in Amsterdam / Sydney? Max: My immediate thoughts were that Amsterdam was one of the most beautiful cities I’d ever seen. Walking through the streets, I was immediately intoxicated with its vibrant yet laid-back atmosphere, and it’s rich culture. Thomas: Actually I just wanted a bed to sleep. After a 24 hour trip without sleep I was so tired I slept through my entire first day in Sydney. When I woke up it was 4.30 in the morning, and I had to hurry because the World Cup match between Holland and Uruguay was about to kick-off. So I actually saw Bondi Beach, and a lot of the city highlights for the first time when they were completely deserted. That was a cool experience. What was the biggest culture shock? Max: The bureaucracy is outrageous. Trying to process any sort of administrative thing like a bank account, phone account etc. has been really difficult, and I am constantly referred by one person to another person, who refers me somewhere else, who again refers me to someone else. I have found this quite confronting, but it is a minor issue. Thomas: There are so many differences I don’t even know where to start. Driving on the left freaked me out a couple of times. But it’s probably the way see: www.english.uva.nl/international

SWITCH University of Amsterdam

people are sometimes so kind you think they are joking.

■ University of New South Wales

Thomas Lambrechtsen

What is the weirdest thing you saw in Amsterdam so far? Max: A girl fall off her bike and lose a tooth, followed by three hours in the emergency room. Thomas: It was probably myself, working out in a gym. I hate working out but the city beaches here are packed with the best-looking bodies in the southern hemisphere. Everybody there just looks like a bodybuilder or star-athlete, and I certainly don’t. I think there’s no place where you are forced to be self-conscious more than Bondi Beach at summer.   What is the biggest difference between your city and Amsterdam Max: The organisation of the city. Sydney is an unplanned, chaotic mess of a city. Amsterdam is

11 Exchange Express | November 2010


small and easy to navigate. The bicycling everywhere is wonderful, and saves me a lot of money. The services of the city (public transport, bike rails etc) are outstanding, and make life very easy. Thomas: Ozzies love sport, but they love betting on sports (and gambling) even more. In Sydney you can throw a coin in any random direction and it’ll probably land in a ‘pokie’ machineThe lack of history is a second massive difference. There’s just no old building or church to be found. What is your favourite class/course? Max: Public International Law. Challenging, fascinating, with a vibrant and enthusiastic Professor. 

Max Dalton

Thomas: ‘Media Tastes and Value’s’. Because a lot of subjects in the course were culturally defined I actually got to know how Australians make sense of things and how they make meaning out of something. It was like having a inside academic look at how Australians live, and backed-up by personal experience from other students it made the whole extremely interesting. What is your favorite spot in Amsterdam / Sydney ? Max: De Nieuw Anita bar. It’s an old squat house which has been transformed into a two-story bar. It’s fantastic for a drink, live music, and a dance. Thomas: There’s a hamburgerbar in Clovelly with a blue facade. I keep forgetting the name of the place but the burgers there are absolutely delicious. The rocks above Coogee beach are a solid second, because you look over numerous bays and the beach.   What do you miss most about Sydney / Amsterdam? Max: The weather and the Australian sense of humour. But again, these are minor things - I wouldn’t change anything about Amsterdam, it’s all part of the experience. Thomas: I miss my bike! Transport isn’t the best

in Sydney, so you’re not very easily tempted to go to different suburbs. In this way I actually miss Holland’s flatness because riding a bike here is just too hard with all the hills! What are you definitely going to bring back from Amsterdam / Sydney? Max: Amsterdam has already been enriching for me. When I return to Sydney, I will have made amazing friends and learnt a lot in the context of a brilliant city. I plan to return.  Thomas: I hope I can bring back some of the openness and kindness of the people you meet. Australians are just really nice, and so open to interact with different people. I hope I can be like that back in Holland, where people are more individual, and groups of people act more isolated. Do you have any advice for the current exchange student in Amsterdam / Sydney? Max: Above all, have fun. But as soon as you arrive, it’s important to try and tackle the bureaucracy (banks, phones etc.), as it can be stressful for those who leave it too late. Thomas: Don’t worry to much, don’t plan everything ahead so there’s room for impulses and surprises you’ll bump into along the way. Oh, and dont get an Arc membership because it costs 80 dollars and so far its given me nothing but a 30% discount on a pack of chewing gum. 12

see: www.english.uva.nl/international

Exchange Express | November 2010


Photocontest for exchange & international students

us Thomas Mockun iversity Chulalongkorn Thailand

Esmé Cartens

The New School Verenigde Staten

Nathalie Muurlink

McGill University Canada

“Is there a better place to study than on this amazing rooftop in Greenpoint, Brooklyn? I don’t think so! During finals I used to come here with friends to read, write, talk and think. The view of Manhattan is the best, since the building in Brooklyn is at the exact opposite level of the Empire State Building. When I would stand on that roof, I always felt like I was on top of the world. An American dream come true, so to speak. I spend many hours looking at this amazing view. At nighttime, there were always people on the roof. Many artists live in this building and they would give the most amazing parties on that rooftop. The half mannequin that is standing next to me in the picture was one of many weird attributes that stood on the roof. Although studying was hard during finals and I didn’t leave Brooklyn for about a week (which is a long time!), I will never forget these afternoons. We had a lot of fun on that rooftop.”

‘Brooklyn can be so much fun!’ 13

see: www.english.uva.nl/international

Exchange Express | November 2010


‘ The courses are great...’ Studying abroad isn’t all fun and games: getting all the paper work in order, get your finances straightened out and get a visa, which for the US is like a mission almost impossible. After all this, your entire summer wasted working to collect enough money to survive in the city, you arrive in the city of dreams… And then you have to find a place to live that you can afford, ensure that you can take the courses that you signed up for, which you can’t so you have to figure out what else you want to take, get some weird insurance, get your vaccinations… No studying abroad is not all fun and games…

Or is it?! I live in one of the most amazing cities of the world, in one of the coolest neighborhoods . I attend one of the greatest universities of this country, a university that taught great people like Spike Lee, which to me as a cinema studies student is a big thing. The courses are great, shopping-heaven is right around the corner, there’s culture, there’s film, there’s life! It is home away from home and it is a tremendous experience, worth the hassle a thousand times… I heart New York and I heart this time abroad! Sophie de Graaf Universiteit van Amsterdam

New York University

14 see: www.english.uva.nl/international

Exchange Express | November 2010


Ganga Barrage

The Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, India

Me and my new brother

‘The word student is derived from student dying.’

Antaragni Student festival

In the Netherlands I used to like that sentence, but little did I know how true it was. Until I came to the Indian Institute of Technology. As one of the very best institutes in India, two years of studying are required to pass the maths entrance exam, after which only 0.3% to 0.4% are accepted. Therefore students here study in the fullest sense of the word. When I tried to live up to that, something started dying in me.Luckily I was saved. Since everyone lives on campus the people you become close to, become your family. India even has festivals with ceremonies that bestow that bond, after which you are brother and sister for life. So my family got expanded with two new brothers, and their friends became my friends. At any time of the day or night, we visit each other, roam around the campus, drink cold coffee in canteens that are open 24 hours a day, exchanging stories and dreams, teasing, joking and always helping each other when needed. Odile Basedow Universiteit van Amsterdam

see: www.english.uva.nl/international

Ceremony 15 Exchange Express | November 2010


Winner Nuffic Photo contest Every year the Nuffic (The Dutch organization for international cooperation and education) organizes the Erasmus photo contest. The contest is open for all students who studied or did an internship in Europe with an Erasmus scholarship. A student from the University of Amsterdam won the contest this year. She studied in Paris at the Sorbonne Nouvelle last year. This photo shows here studying in her small studio in Paris, with a great view. The UvA congratulats her with the price!

16 see: www.english.uva.nl/international

Exchange Express | November 2010


have your credits validated

register for individual modules

register for your Master’s programme

volunteer as an ISN coach

have your credits validated

register for your Master’s programme

sign up for Students meet Students have your credits validated

sign the learning agreement

register for individual modules

sign the learning agreement arrange accommodation

register for your Master’s programme

arrange accommodation

volunteer as an ISN coach

enter the photo competition

re-enrol at the UvA

sign up for Students meet Students

have your credits validated

IMPORTANT arrange accommodation Don’t forget to ...

arrange accommodation

re-enrol at the UvA

enter the photo competition

arrange accommodation

register for individual modules

have your credits validated

arrange accommodation

volunteer as an ISN coach

sign the learning agreement

enter the photo competition

sign up for Students meet Students

register for your Master’s programme

re-enrol at the UvA

enter the photo competition have your credits validated

have your credits validated

volunteer as an ISN coach

register for your Master’s programme

arrange accommodation

sign the learning agreement

sign up for Students meet Students

register for individual modules 17 see: www.english.uva.nl/international

Exchange Express | November 2010


Exchange Express - November 2010