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"A high profile university on your CV gets you pretty much everywhere"

Concordantia helps students choose a master's programme in the field of European Studies
Choosing a master's programme can be difficult. The range of programmes is diverse and the admission requirements vary between universities. Concordantia, the European Studies student association, invited competing universities to present themselves at the European Master Day.

18 February, in the Turnzaal at the Hof van Tilly. Students stroll along information fair stands from ten different universities, including the University of Bonn, Tilburg University, Maastricht University and the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. Brochures are handed out and questions about programme content, housing, language requirements and so on are answered.

This is the second time Concordantia has organised this event: "There are lots of master's programmes in the field of European Studies. We try to give students an overall impression by inviting universities from the Netherlands, Germany and other countries as well", explains Arian Meyer, a member of the organising committee. "Almost 75% of the German students come from North Rhine-Westphalia, which is why we invited three universities from that area."

The University of Siegen is one of them. "This day is a really good opportunity to reach bachelor's students", explains programme coordinator Maria Frindte. Since 2008 the university has offered a two-year programme called Roads to Democracy, which is run in cooperation with Uppsala University in Sweden and the University of Coimbra in Portugal, and includes a study period abroad. The admission requirements are more or less similar to those at UM, although Siegen requires proficiency in both English and German (Maastricht only has English requirements). "High-school level German will do." The tuition fees are €500 per semester.

Meanwhile, the London School of Economics stand is attracting a lot of students. Second-year student Fabian Malms has just obtained some info there. He hasn't decided yet on a master's programme. "The content of the programme has to fit with my bachelor's", he says, but what's most important is the prestige of the university. "A high-profile university on your CV gets you pretty much everywhere."

The neighbouring stand is occupied by the LUISS Guido Carli University, a private university in Rome that offers a one-year Master in European Studies. The programme began only last September, so the university is seeking to publicise it further. "We heard about this fair by chance, via the internet. A lot of students don't know about our programme, so for us it's a good thing that we were able to come to Maastricht today", says academic coordinator and staff member Christian Blasberg.

He doesn't know how many students will actually register after today but he talked to several students who were more than interested: "We offer political history in our programme; a lot of students didn't expect that. They were surprised. I explained to them that for us this historical perspective is essential to understand why Europe is what it is today."

The list of requirements is not long (bachelor's degree) but the tuition fees are somewhat higher than what we are used to in the Netherlands: €6500 (scholarships are available). Housing can be a challenge; students have to look for a place to live on the private market, the number of rooms available is limited and the rent is higher than in western Europe.

 

Irene Smeets

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