How scholarships are helping Europe to become more sustainable

Joanna Siembida

Scholarships hold the key to supporting talented young people from across the world to study at leading universities and play their part in solving the planet’s most difficult problems. That’s the view of Joanna Siembida from Poland, a postgraduate student of International Public Management and Policy (IMP) at EUR, whose ambition is to support countries in making the transition to renewable energy. She speaks from experience as she has been awarded a scholarship from the Erasmus Trust Fund to fund her tuition and living expenses in Rotterdam.

After graduating from SGH Warsaw School of Economics, Joanna decided she wanted to change her focus from finance to the practical challenge of public policy, with focus on sustainability and energy transition.

“Those changes have to happen in the next few years as we tackle climate change, although it won’t be easy,” she says. “It’s becoming a controversial issue in many countries as some people might experience negative effects and even lose their jobs, but sustainability is gaining momentum.”

Joanna Siembida 2


Joanna first heard about EUR from friends who had studied here and spoke highly of the experience. After online research and discovering IMP, she wanted to enrol but admits it would have been near-impossible to fund her year in Rotterdam, without the generous scholarship. She had worked for two years while saving for the masters, but the post-pandemic economic slowdown made it a real challenge.

“The scholarship has given me the opportunity to develop my knowledge and skills in policy-making in both European and international environments and broaden horizons on sustainability. Appropriately, I’m about to start a course on governing sustainable transitions and I’m thinking of writing my master’s thesis on the subject.

Becoming part of the solution

“I’m enjoying life in the Netherlands, although it was a little strange to start with. Warsaw is a vibrant city and Rotterdam is much quieter but I’m finding it easier to concentrate on my studies and that’s what we are all here for.”

Studying alongside young people from many countries has given her insights into the issues surrounding sustainability outside Europe. An earlier student exchange programme in Singapore, unfortunately cut short because of Covid, sparked Joanna’s interest in travel and she is now seizing the chance to explore the Benelux region.

Despite the challenges related to sustainability, Joanna remains positive: “I’m optimistic. After all, we Europeans have faced many challenges in the past and have overcome them so I’m confident we will find solutions. I’m looking forward to becoming part of the solution, thanks to what I’ve learned at EUR.”


More information

Do you also want to help fund scholarships for talented students like Joanna? Support one or more participants of the Erasmus Charity Run via this link.

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