In the next few articles we will be introducing some new students that are currently preparing for their adventures as international students at VU Amsterdam. Follow them througout this exciting period and share your experiences with them! First up: Juan Ignacio from Spain.
Photo: This is me
This is me
My name is Juan Ignacio Emperador, Juanig, Juan or Emperador for my friends. I am 25 years old, and I am from Palencia (- Oh! Valencia! Paella, beaches, Mediterranean Sea… - No, no, "Palencia" with a "P"), a small, pretty town located in the North of Spain (Castilla y León). There are only 80.000 inhabitants, but there are some nice monuments which are worth a visit, such as "El Cristo del Otero" (to make a long story short, a "miniature" Rio de Janeiro Christ), the Cathedral (called "The Unknown Beauty") and the main street, one of the longest in Spain.
Photo: Cathedral of Palencia (photographer Enrique Sánchez Narganes)
My student journey
I studied law at the University of Valladolid, and I was an Erasmus student for a year at the University of Tartu, in Estonia, which was one of the best decisions in my life and had a lot of influence on this one. Afterwards, I did a Master’s on the European Union in Bilbao, trying to figure out what I wanted to do next but… It didn’t work. Then I was lost for a time, studying labour law, recommended as a "sure option" for my future. It was a dark time, I didn’t like what I was doing, many things were so wrong in my life and my gears started to grind. Law itself is not what motivates me but things related to it and how that relationship works, particularly the link between AI and technology, so I began to look for information about something that would meet those expectations and I guess I found it: Master’s in International Technology Law. In the last years technology, pulling Internet by the hand, has evolved so much that the Law can’t be alienated from it and must keep in pace, which, frankly, might be impossible, but it should at least be attempted.
Photo: Me + friends in front of University of Tartu
Why VU / Why Amsterdam?
In all honesty, there were more options than I expected once you get into it. However, Vrije University caught my eye from the beginning. The information about the programme is complete and clear, letting you know what every course is about, and the application system has been quite intuitive, which is something to be thankful for after facing some problems in other sites. Besides, the staff has been very attentive to me when I had queries about my application status, so I never felt left to my own designs.
Pros and Cons
OK, enough praise. The city also had a lot to do with my choice. I think Amsterdam is an important part of Europe’s heart. It is in its centre, alive, a pure core of business, culture, development, in other words, vibrant. Another fact that fascinates me is the greenness of the country; by this I mean not only the landscape, which I really want to see in spring, but also energy and transport polices.
This last point is actually my main worry about going to Amsterdam: I am not a bike lover, partly because I am not very good at it, partly because it is something dangerous to do on Spanish roads. So, yeah, I am waiting to see how I manage with my child skills on a bike. I wonder, do they make stabilisers for adult bikes?
To do list status
In spite of this, I cannot wait to begin my journey. All the paperwork is done and my studio apartment there is ready (which is a relief). I booked it through the university, since that gives some security at the beginning, and looking for accommodation on your own seems like a real ordeal. What is more, in my case, it is well located, there is the same distance to the University as to the city centre, about 20 minutes by bike (25-30 for me).
I guess that is all for now and, if you have made it this far, I hope you have enjoyed this little prologue.