Signing up for the Erasmus Charity Run was an easy decision for Derman

Student Umut Derman Tacyildiz stands by the first-floor balustrade in the Polak Building.

Only a few weeks into his Masters in Philosophy at Erasmus University Rotterdam, Umut Derman Tacyildiz faced a problem. Settling into his new life in the Netherlands, everything was going well but he had to make an important decision. He had to pick two courses in his first semester, but there were 18 to choose from and it was almost impossible.

“I really wanted to study them all,” explains the enthusiastic postgraduate from Türkiye, “But that’s not an option as there aren’t enough hours in the day.”

Much easier was his decision to take part in the Erasmus Charity Run, running 10.5 kilometres along the streets of Rotterdam and raising money to support other future talented students to achieve their ambition of studying at Erasmus Univeristy Rotterdam.

This scholarship makes dreams come true

“Without my scholarship, I wouldn’t have been able to travel to one of Europe’s best universities for a taught Masters degree. I know there must be many students who want to continue their studies in another country but find it’s just too expensive. My Erasmus Trustfonds grant covers both my tuition fees and living expenses so I can concentrate on working hard. I’m very grateful for the award and want to do my part to encourage future students to come study at EUR.”

Student Umut Derman Tacyildiz looks seriously into the camera.

Derman grew up in Sivas in central Anatolia and took his undergraduate courses in the coastal city of Izmir. Once he realised that philosophy was his passion, he knew the best way to achieve his potential would be to study overseas. Choosing exactly where to go took time as there were more than ten universities that offered postgraduate degrees in Philosophy. 

The difference at Erasmus was personal: “I wrote emails to all of the universities but most replied by just cutting and pasting facts from their websites. I felt the admission office at EUR really understood me. I was just an ordinary guy from abroad, knowing nothing about the Netherlands, but they were very patient and took the time to answer all of my questions. They also told me about the scholarship which turned my hopes and dreams into reality.”

Running for scholarship students

“That’s why I want to take part in the Erasmus Charity Run. It’s a quarter-marathon so it’s not too challenging and I’m looking forward to it. I’ll be training hard to get a good time and am hoping people will sponsor me.”

In 2023, the Erasmus Charity Run raised a record €21.447,00. The 2024 event will be held on Sunday 14 April, as part of the University’s Lustrum events celebrating its 110th anniversary this year.

Meanwhile, Derman is enjoying being part of a community of students from all over the world who are equally committed to their academic studies. “I’m not the only foreigner who’s new to the Netherlands, not sure about things like when you put the garbage out for collection,” he says. “Lots of us are getting used to living in a new country, I’m making friends, and the scholarship of the Erasmus Trustfonds Scholarship Programme is a great help.”

He is already thinking about a subject for his Masters’ dissertation and is considering delving into the works of the political philosophers Nietzsche or Foucault. Looking further ahead, Derman is considering staying in academia and taking a PhD, ideally in Europe. 

More information

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

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