Student Ambassadors

Get to know our students ambassadors! We have VU Amsterdam Summer School alumni from all over the world who will be able to answers questions that you have about our programme. They can give advice about the courses, excursions, social programme, accommodation, and living in Amsterdam from their own perspective. If you have any other questions about the programme that they cannot answer you can also contact us.

Maria Rast

Switzerland | Maria

Hello, I am Maria, 30 years old, and I am from Switzerland. I participated in Hands on Anthropology – The Role of the Ethnographer in 2019.

Connecting with (PhD) students from all over the world
As a PhD student at VU Amsterdam who’s living in Amsterdam, I did not really participate in the social activities and excursions of the Summer School (except the goodbye drinks), however, our class was quite social and we had lunch together several times. We also went to a festival together in the weekend. Even though I am used to the diversity of Amsterdam and the VU, I still enjoyed the connections that emerged during these two weeks with the other (PhD) students from all over the world. The intensiveness of the course and the sharing of our stories actually made it impossible not to connect!

The Challenge of writing about myself
One of the aims of our course was to reflect on and write about our own positionalities. This kind of reflexivity is crucial for researchers to become aware of and try to set aside their assumptions, which is in fact an important part of my own PhD research. Even though I reflected on my own story and positionality quite a lot, I never wrote it down. I guess through my studies, I got used to a more distanced kind of writing and keeping myself and my emotions out of it. So this summer school helped me to push myself to finally start engaging with this challenge.

Tip for future students

Really take your time to fully engage with others and the course! I think what made this experience so special to me was that I put aside my regular work for two weeks and really engaged with the other students and the course. Only then you can reflect on yourself, doubt yourself, be critical about yourself, ‘lose’ yourself, discover new things about yourself and finally invent a new self.  

If you have any questions, you can contact me via [email protected]


Italy | Chiara

Hey, my name is Chiara and I’m from Naples, Italy. I am currently doing my Master’s degree in Political Philosophy at the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona. Right after graduating in Comparative Literature from King’s College London, I attended VU Amsterdam Summer School to pursue my interest in contemporary issues, also in view of my postgraduate course. When browsing on the VU website, the course “Governing Climate Change” immediately caught my attention. During Fall 2018 semester, I took a class in environmental ethics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. That was my first exposure to an in-depth study of climate change and its present and future consequences. Having become really passionate about the topic, I did not think twice about applying for the 2-weeks course offered at VU Amsterdam, and the course completely met my expectations. “Governing Climate Change” was, in fact, highly intellectually stimulating and it enriched my understanding of the problem, giving me the opportunity to focus on it under the guidance and expertise of Professor Pattberg and Dr. Widerberg. Moreover, the intertwining of theory and practice, alternating and combining classes with excursions and games, made the course very dynamic and it had a positive impact on my overall learning experience. I also had a lot of fun being the photographer and social media manager during Session 3. In this respect, in case you are passionate about photography and/or video-making, I highly suggest applying for a photographer/videographer scholarship, as it is a great way to meet students, work with an amazing team while also being able to express and share your own experience through creative shots. Finally, VU Summer School gave me the opportunity to exchange ideas with people from all over the world: from Africa to Australia, China, North, Central and South America ⎼ even from Trinidad and Tobago!
It’s been an exciting, fun and insightful experience. 

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me in English, Italian, Spanish or French via [email protected].


Brazil | Maria Thereza
Hey, my name is Maria Thereza and I am currently a law student at Federal University of Minas Gerais - UFMG in Brazil. I participated with the photoghapher scholarship during the first session in the course of International Criminal Justice during the VU Summer School of 2019. This was a real life-changing opportunity for my professional career, the course showed me a whole new perspective of International Law that made me really enthusiastic to improve my studies in my university and to find the right master program. Also the experience of living in Amsterdam with all these new international friends and studying at the VU University (that has this amazing team and structure!) just made me more excited to do everything again, so I think this is an opportunity that everyone should have and I´m here to answer all your questions about the program and what should you expect in this journey! 

You can contact me via [email protected]


Syria | Tamam

Hey! I’m Tamam from Syria and glad to tell you a little about my experience at Amsterdamsummerschool!
I’m doing a master in Health Social Work in Hungary so I started learning a lot about health and social policy, public health, disability and rehabilitation. When I realized that I need to learn something broader than public health, I applied to the Global Health program here in Amsterdam, which it turns out it was the right choice! At VU Amsterdamsummerschool I found openness, passionate teachers, interesting materials and of course a lot of cool students from allover the globe! Amsterdam is really good at that time where you can join other students in boat trips in the magnificent canals, or maybe you ride the bike to explore the charms of the city. Aren’t you interested? Send me an email whenever you feel like you have more questions!

You can contact me via [email protected]

Armenia | Silva

I am Silva from Armenia. Currently I am a law student at Ghent University specializing in International and European Law. The VU Amsterdam University International Criminal Justice summer course has had a profound impact on my career and was one of the rewarding experiences of my life. Lectures taught by the professors of VU Amsterdam University, hearings at the International Criminal Court, as well as meetings and discussions on different issues of International Criminal Law with the lawyers from the Office of Prosecutor and Defence gave me both theoretical and practical knowledge and, meanwhile, shaped and solidified my career goals. While summer course lasted only two weeks, it covered a wide range of topics on current developments and challenges of International Criminal Justice and International Criminal Court. Another rewarding experience was lectures taught by ICC Judges on the achievements and challenges of the International Criminal Court. International Criminal Justice course is a perfect choice for both lawyers and those who have an interest in International Peace and Justice. Would you like to learn International Criminal Law in the Center of International Law, International Peace and Justice? VU Amsterdam University summer school is a perfect choice for you. Feel free to contact me and ask any question you want. I will be happy to answer all your questions!

You can contact me via [email protected].


Australia | Amy
Hi, my name is Amy and I am completing a Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. I was fortunate enough to travel to the Netherlands and attend the Vrije University’s amazing summer school this year (2019). I highly recommend their classes to anyone who is looking for something extra with their studies! It is an invaluable and exciting opportunity to develop, gain and engage with new knowledge, and be exposed to unique academic perspectives — while immersing in Dutch culture, exploring the beautiful cities in the Netherlands, getting outside your comfort zone, and creating new friendships with peers from around the world. Due to my interest in psychology, I chose two classes called: Global Health, and The Beautiful Mind: Global Perceptions of Mental Health. These classes definitely gave me a chance to gain deeper insight in global health issues, while learning about mental health education and clinical systems in other countries. If you have any questions about the experience, always feel free to ask! I wish you all the best. 

You can contact me via [email protected].


India |Greeshma

Hello! I am Greeshma and I have majored in Biotechnology from Manipal University, India. My experience at the Vrije University has been really wholesome, in terms of classes, the people I met and of course Amsterdam as a place. I pursued Data analysis in R and Single Cell technology. Both of these courses were well curated covering all the needed topics, the professors were really insightful and approachable. And these courses have really helped me add to my skill sets. And have been a great bridging program for the master’s degree, that I want to pursue.
I have a lot to take from Amsterdam and from its Dutch culture and it was largely plausible because of the social gatherings and visits planned by the VU summer school team. We got to go to a lot of places and make new friends because of these sessions. My experience was well balanced between social and academics. 

You can contact me via [email protected].


Indonesia | Wilhelmus
It was a great education adventure attending summer schools 2019 at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam! I learned a lot from professor Enno Masurel who taught us about New Venture Creation and Entrepreneurship. We did not only study in class, but we also studied outside such as in the park. We also visited a company and a startup village to feel the atmosphere of a start-up company. My project at VU Amsterdam that I did with my fellow students from New York, China and Hongkong was actually selected as the best pitch! Now my project can be implemented in my country Indonesia and I am waiting for pitching invitation from Amazon, Alibaba, and other venture capital. However, we have also had a lot of fun as we visited historical buildings, museums, the parliament and did other outside activities. It will be unforgettable memories. I also made and documented photos and videos to share to all students and people from around the world. I hope to inspire them to come, to study and have fun with Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Summer School.

If you need information or have any questions regarding the summer school please feel free to contact me by email via [email protected]. See you!


Egypt | Justus
Hey, am Justus, a Ugandan by nationality but currently living in Egypt where am pursuing my bachelor's degree in Agricultural Sciences at Alexandria University, I am a senior student.
First of all, I am so thankful to VU for organising such a tremendous and impactful summer school and also availing some scholarship slots for this program were I was able to be one of the academic excellence scholarship winners. While at the summer school, I experienced one of the best moments of my life. Speaking about Amsterdam city, the beautiful sceneries and serene atmosphere were so amazing. Cycling with new friends around the city was an experience that will live to last in my memories. I met people from different parts of the world and gained cultural experience. Moreover, the social activities and excursions were informative and fun as well. In reference to the course of my choice, 'Feeding the Billions : Challenges and Innovation in Food and Water Security' I can earnestly say that it was comprehensively well taught and informative giving greater and deeper insights of food and water security concepts. The class comprised of students from different nationalities and different academic disciplines as well as invited guest's lecturers from other top elite institutes. I can confidently say that the VU Summer School has given me a solid foundation in my long term ambition of being an active driver and advocate for food security in my country and the rest of the world. 

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the program via [email protected]


Nigeria | Oluwaniyi

Hi there, I am sure you're doing amazingly well. My name is Oluwaniyi. I am from Nigeria and currently on the verge of completing my Master's degree in Engineering at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa where I am a Graduate Teaching Assistant and also the Secretary General of the Society for International Students. In addition, I am a certified Project Management Profesional, PMP.

I was opportune to be a participant at the 2018 VU Amsterdam Summer School Programme where I learned the fundamentals of Data Analysis in R. The Professor who facilitated the session demonstrated that she is highly Knowledgeable with top notch teaching skills. The learning environments are very neat & quite conducive as well. There is high speed free wifi to help you research anything that can make solving your assignments easier. There are also many interesting social activities to help spice up your stay at VU and make you feel more relaxed. In addition, the summer school team are super friendly and make us feel at home - They are the best!

At the end of the programme, I was able to gain competencies in data analysis using R, make new friends & have a memorable experience that I'll forever cherish. Amsterdam as a whole is a magical city with beautiful sceneries, enthralling public transport system coupled with people from diverse cultural background. If you're looking for a world class summer school programme where you'd learn new things, make new friends and discover yourself, VU Amsterdam Summer School is the place to be!
I wish you massive success in all your endeavours, cheers! 

In case you have any further enquiries, kindly contact me at: [email protected] and I'd be glad to respond to you.


South-Africa | Robert

Hi, my name is Robert. I am currently at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa and am studying a degree in accounting.
I attended the Foundations of International Business course in the summer of 2019 at VU Amsterdam. We learnt about the challenges of doing business abroad, how culture influences business, how to identify countries for foreign expansion and the different strategies a company
can use when internationalizing. Our professor was highly knowledgeable about these topics and very approachable. The classes were interesting and very interactive. The class discussions we had surrounding various business topics were very enlightening.

Being part of the VU Amsterdam summer school was an experience of a lifetime. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting people from all over the world. Exploring Amsterdam and the surrounding towns with fellow students in this truly wonderful city was great fun!

I chose to stay at De Boelelaan which was one of the university accommodation options. Its proximity to the university was perfect. My room was spacious and the kitchen we had access to made residing there easy. The cafeteria on campus is amazing and the food is well priced.
I feel very blessed to have been able to attend this summer school. I learnt a great deal and made friends and memories that will last a lifetime.

If you have any questions about the program you are welcome to send me an email via [email protected].