The Semester in Amsterdam team consists of team leader Eduard Pasma and International Officers Bianca van Putten, Ilin Sen, Jan Kostelijk, and Rachel Bornstein. Should you have any questions about the Semester in Amsterdam programme please feel free to contact us.
Skype: semesterinamsterdam (by appointment, please email us first)
Telephone: +31 (0)20 59 86506 (Ilin); +31 (0)20 59 84717 (Jan); +31 20 59 82192 (Rachel)
Eduard was born and raised in the Netherlands. At the age of 18 he spent a year working and travelling in Australia. After completing his Bachelor’s degree in International Development Studies, he did his Master’s internship at the New Zealand Tourism Research Institute in Auckland. Besides working at various International Offices in the Netherlands, Eduard worked as the General Manager of a remote lodge in Malawi, after which he joined the VU in 2017.
“From my own travels I have learned that living (and studying or working) abroad can be a life changing experience. That is why I always encourage students to spend at least a few months abroad and challenge themselves in a new environment, making new friends and learn from all different kind of people and cultures.”
Bianca was born and raised in Haarlem, the Netherlands. During her studies Bianca had the chance to follow an internship in Sweden, go on exchange in England, and complete a minor in Bali. After graduating she decided to work for a hostel while being able to travel several months per year. When she was ready for a new challenge her mind was set on working for the International Office of VU Amsterdam where she has happily been working since October 2017.
“In my opinion internationalisation is truly important for an individual’s personal development, global cooperation, and solidarity. I believe that each individual should go abroad to gain international and cultural awareness. A true cliché, but these are experiences I will never forget myself. It excites me to work as an International Officer to assist others in gaining this wonderful opportunity".
Having grown up in a different country every three years, Ilin is truly a world citizen. He finally settled in The Netherlands and, having a background in fine arts, has worked at Amsterdam's Museum of Contemporary Art as well as the Arts faculty of VU Amsterdam. Here he became more involved in the support and guidance of international students, so working at the international office was an obvious step to take.
“My passion lies in the contact with foreign students, from the moment they ask for information about studying abroad, the application process, and their stay in Amsterdam to when they return home. Guiding them in their choice of courses, helping them settle in, and making sure they have a life changing experience is rewarding in itself. I try and make world citizens of all students that I support”.
Jan was born and raised in The Netherlands. During his Bachelor’s degree in European Studies he moved to the Czech Republic for one year. His time abroad not only showed him the importance of complementing academic studies with international experience but also inspired his passion for internationalization. After graduating Jan worked at the Anne Frank House before joining the Semester in Amsterdam team in 2016.
“Studying abroad brought me so much, not only in the area of expanding knowledge but also on a more personal level. I think learning from other cultures and developing intercultural qualities are the most valuable things students can give to themselves.”
Rachel, originally from Portland, Oregon, USA, first came to Amsterdam as a study abroad student in 2009. After completing her bachelor's degree in English literature, Rachel traveled to Thailand to teach English for six months before returning to the Netherlands to be an au pair in the south of the Netherlands near Eindhoven. Rachel joined the Semester in Amsterdam program in the fall of 2017 after completing her research master's degree in English literary studies.
"Studying abroad in Amsterdam taught me the indespensable value of learning in an intercultural classroom with many different nationalities. I am incredibly enriched by the oppurtunity to now create and improve the study abroad experience for others."