"...Make the most of this special time..." The most important reason I had for coming to EUR to study economics was that that’s how you get the chance to develop, and to broaden your horizons. But that’s not all: you can also decide later on what exactly you’ll do with economics, when you know more about it professionally.
The time I spent as a student here was both interesting and instructive, partly because of the study itself, but also because of the student clubs. I was a member of one of them, the RVSV as it was known in Dutch, a really small club of between 20 and 30 women. In the second year I was Secretary; in my third, Chair. Student life in Rotterdam was fantastic. I learned a lot and had great fun. That period contributed significantly to my development, precisely because you got the chance to be so active in a student club but at the same time had to finish up your studies. That means you learn to manage your time and organise things properly. In addition, you also learn how to build up a network. I was often in touch, for example, with professors such as Tinbergen, the Nobel Laureate. And I was able to extend that network in university cities abroad later on, when I was doing internships. When you’re doing an internship like that, you have to get a lot of things going and look for a lot of things yourself, but then you’re also making invaluable contacts.
In a nutshell, Erasmus University Rotterdam is a stimulating academic environment where you can pick up a lot that will stand you in good stead later on in life. Here’s what I’d say to first years: enjoy this special time, put together the best course of study you can, and take advantage of the study-abroad options. Remember, the world’s your oyster—but you have to go out and get it.
Neelie Kroes - Netherlands
EU Commissioner for Competition and EUR alumna