Running to help ambitious young people achieve their ambition to study at EUR

Atakan sitting on a wall

Although the award of an Erasmus scholarship was good news for Atakan Dizarlar, it was bad news for the banking sector in his home country of Turkey. Had he not secured two years’ support from the Erasmus TrustFonds, Atakan admits he might now be working for a bank in Ankara, instead of pursuing his dream of researching philosophy and economics at one of Europe’s best universities.

Now Atakan has graduated with his Master’s, he is resolved to play his part in ensuring the next generation of talented and ambitious young people from across the globe can take their place at EUR. He has signed up for the 2024 Erasmus Charity Run to pound the streets next April for ten kilometres to finance future scholarships and is looking forward to joining the other runners in making a difference. 

“It’s a big decision to study abroad, especially if you live outside Europe,” he explains. “There’s still a tradition in many countries that you should stay with your family until you leave to get married but if you want to go to a leading university to achieve your potential, you need to take the plunge. It’s quite a challenge and not everyone has the means to do that.” 

Atakan sitting on a bench on campus Woudestein

The right choice

While there are many scholarships in Europe for bachelor's degrees and plenty of paid PhD opportunities, it can be difficult to find support for a two-year research master’s. Growing up in Türkiye, Atakan knew it wouldn’t be easy to get together the money to finance his studies in Rotterdam, but he was determined to get there. 

Atakan studied for his BA and (taught) MA in Economics at Bilkent University in Ankara and saved towards further study but needed an extra boost. Researching EUR online, he was delighted to hear about the scholarship and applied for it alongside the degree programme. 

“I was super happy to study at Rotterdam. I wanted to come here so much I only made one university application and was so pleased I got accepted.  It’s hard to find universities that specialise in both economics and philosophy, but Erasmus University Rotterdam was the right choice and it turned out to be a great experience,” he says. 

“Living and studying abroad means you learn a lot about yourself. You have to arrange a visa, find somewhere to live and sort out the paperwork so you’re ready to concentrate on your studies when the academic year begins. There’s plenty of support but it’s up to you to make it happen.” 

All the money raised from the event will help young people like me in the future

Not an experienced runner

Many of his friends at EUR have graduated and moved on to other countries, but Atakan is still in touch with many of them. He is now deciding whether to stay in education and study for a PhD, probably remaining in the Netherlands, or start his career. In the meantime, he is working at EUR as a teaching assistant, supporting the lecturers and students. 

One thing is certain. Atakan is keen to encourage other young people thinking of studying abroad to seize their opportunities and investigate if they are eligible for a scholarship: “The Erasmus Run is going to be a challenge for me as I’m not an experienced runner. I’m planning to improve my fitness, first by hiking with friends, then stepping up the pace in the winter, and I’m sure I’ll be OK. All the money raised from the event will help young people like me in the future, that’s why I want to get involved.” 

More information

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

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