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Skype: VU Amsterdam Summer School - by appointment, email first
Telephone: +31 20 59 82944 (if we are unable to answer your call then please send us an email)
Currently the VU Amsterdam Summer School team consists of Bianca van Putten, Eduard Pasma, Eva Janssen, Ilin Sen, Jan Kostelijk, Mayke Jildou and Rachel Bornstein
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.”
Jan was born and raised in The Netherlands. During his Bachelor’s degree in European Studies he moved to the Czech Republic 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 graduation Jan worked at the Anne Frank House for some years. But he never lost his interest in academic internationalization and in 2016 he started working for the VU Amsterdam International Office.
“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.”
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.
After graduating in Marketing Studies, Eva worked for over 6 years as a freelance communication manager for different organizations. Focusing mainly on cultural and social events, sustainability and women’s rights. She started at the VU Amsterdam Summer School in 2014 being responsible for the recruitment of students, new course proposals and practical matters. Since 2016 she focuses on the overall development of the summer school.
“I find it an incredible idea that students from all over the world come to our university to learn about a specific topic, and that they take this knowledge back with them to their home country. I feel honored and lucky that I help in making this possible. The drive that I feel from the students that participate with us gives me great inspiration and energy."
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”.
Mayke Jildou was born and raised in The Netherlands. During her Language- and Culture Studies degree she became passionate about different languages, countries and cultures and went on to major in Language, Communication and Diversity. Her exchange with Kent University in the UK and travels around the world were the icing on the cake! Besides finalizing her Master degree, she is thrilled to work for the summer school. She is adamant to make this experience an amazing experience abroad for you, and excited to meet you soon.
“I once read the following from David Foster Wallace: There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, “What the hell is water?” To discover your own ‘water’ I think you need to get out of your comfort zone and experience other cultures so you can really understand your own. Trust me, just do it! Besides having completely and utterly fallen in love with Amsterdam (like I do every day), you will go back to your homecountry with a completely different point of view.
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."