Sunday, October 27, 2013

Graduation Ceremony

During the last three weeks the Bachelor and Master graduation ceremonies took place. They were held at the beautiful academie gebouw (academic building) in the heart of Utrecht, right next to the Dom. There were small-scale ceremonies each night and I was happy to hear that I had mine on one evening together with some of my closest friends.

Already a couple of weeks before the actual event we had to hand in our CV, a short description of our thesis and some personal information on which the individual speeches would be based.
On the day itself I was quite excited about the evening, since my parents and my grandma would come from Germany and my grandma has never been in Utrecht so far. Also two of my best friends from my Bachelor studies, who continued their Masters in different countries, came back. Therefore I am glad that USE is one of the fewer faculties that actually still offer traditional evening ceremonies at one of the most beautiful locations that the University has to offer.
On the evening we first got our cap and gowns and had to line up, while our guests already took place in the hall. It is a great feeling to enter the ‘Senaatzaal’ (senate hall) surrounded by your fellow students, who you got to know well over the last three years and your family and close friends awaiting you. Shocked by all the flashlights (yes, even video cameras) it was almost a celebrity-like moment, even though the big, black gown made you more feel like a Hogwarts student.

All the graduates took place in the first row and when your name was called, you stepped in front to receive a more or less personal speech followed by the signing of your Bachelor diploma. The whole ceremony took around one hour and afterwards more celebrity shots were taken, while there was a reception with drinks and little cheese (what else?) snacks. Some people took a bit too much advantage of the open bar and you would expect that especially students, who can be excused due to lacking financial means to be overly excited about anything offered for free, were the first ones in line for the drinks. However often they were beaten to the punch by a thirsty grandma or professor.
The reception was also the moment when everybody met each other’s parents, which was entertaining; since resemblance was often so striking that there was little doubt to whom everybody belonged. Some guessing games were already played during the ceremony before you were officially introduced, next to finding the only three ladies on the paintings in the Senaatzaal (which was quite a challenging task, since they were all wearing long-haired wigs).

In case you are concerned about your outfit, I can only say: Choose your shoes wisely, since that is more or less the only thing which is still visible underneath the gown you are wearing for the ceremony.

Now I am going to dive back into my study books and I will soon report about my current exam preparations: Exams are coming up!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Utrecht University: Good choice!

Welcome and hello to all of you out there!

In the upcoming months I am going to share my personal Utrecht Experience with anybody who is interested and willing to give up some precious minutes reading my blog. I hope to compensate your time by offering you insights into the exciting live of an international student at Utrecht University.
My name is Jana, I am 24 years old! (!yes I do feel old around here, but later more on that)  from Cologne, Germany. I am following the Master at the Utrecht School of Economics (USE) in „International Economics and Business“ and I decided to specialize in „International Management“.

Before I started the one year Master Program, I already completed a three year Bachelor study in “Economics and Business Economies” also at USE.  The questions I hear the most when I tell people that I am from Germany are: Why did you come here? How come that you decided to study in Utrecht?
Well, let me explain once more: After an High School Year in America, I realized that I want to follow a study completely taught in English. However, there are not many English Bachelor studies to be found in Germany and having been staying abroad once before, going again seemed appealing. Having been so far from home for already one year, this time I wanted to keep it close. Well, it ain’t getting much closer than going to your neighbor country. I like to have the option to be home fast and relatively cheap, while still being in a foreign country and “doing my own thing”.  Of course the academic aspect was not unimportant either: Dutch universities always score top positions at international rankings. After considering Maastricht University (with around 60% Germans, I felt that there are more German ‘Bier’ drinking habits and ‘Schlager’ songs than a small city and its citizens can handle), Utrecht University proofed to be the right choice. 
Tot snel! Bis bald! Talk to you soon!