On Thursday, 5 October, the UvA held a special ceremony in the Aula to honour this year’s UvA scholarship recipients.
The students attending this special evening in the Aula included recipients of the Amsterdam Excellence Scholarship, the Amsterdam Merit Scholarship, the Amsterdam Science Talent Scholarship, the Orange Tulip Scholarship and the Holland Scholarship. As Rector Karen Maex pointed out in her opening speech, nearly a hundred scholarships were awarded this year to students from all over the world. Welcoming speeches by the Rector and Anouk Tso, Director of International Affairs, were followed by several speakers, including UvA professor Richard Ronald who spoke about the spatial and geographic development of Amsterdam over the centuries.
In her speech, UvA rector Karen Maex welcomed the new scholarship students to the university and spoke about their future importance to the UvA and society at large. The rector advised the recipients to focus on their studies but also take the time to reach out to fellow students and take part in the university’s many associations and activities. These, the rector said, are part and parcel of what it means to get a university education.
The keynote was subsequently delivered by Richard Ronald, professor of Housing, Society and Space at the UvA. In his speech, Ronald focused on the spatial and geographic development of Amsterdam since its founding up till the present day. Winding his way through major urban developments like the Bijlmermeer and more recently Ijburg, Ronald concluded his speech with a reference to the current high demand for property in Amsterdam and the difficulty in finding affordable housing.
The following speech was given by Andrew Sandahl, a Master's student in Ecology and Evolutionary Science and an AES recipient. In it, Sandahl, who hails from Southern California, described the scholarship as a life-changing event that will allow him and those present to pursue their passion for knowledge and research. Sandahl also thanked all the donors for investing in young talent.
James Kiiza, an AMS recipient from Uganda who will be taking an LLM in International Law, said he was looking forwarding to broadening his knowledge within his field. ‘My faculty has some of the leading scholars in that area and I want to benefit from their expertise.’ Kiiza was also impressed with the UvA’s mixed student body. 'The university is very diverse and has a beautiful mix of international students. It’s a melting pot of many nationalities and that’s what makes it so great to study here.’
Another student excited about her study was Mridula Shobinath from India. Shobinath, who is an AES recipient, said she was grateful for receiving the scholarship and the opportunity to work towards her goals. ‘Not only has it allowed me to be financially independent, but also given me a platform to network and meet like-minded people. Over the coming year I will use this opportunity to add to the field of research that I’m interested in, namely human trafficking.’
The University of Amsterdam (UvA) aims to attract the world’s brightest students to its international classrooms. For that reason, it has established several scholarship programmes specifically designed to offer talented and motivated international students the opportunity to pursue a degree at the UvA.