Studying in Rotterdam felt like studying the right subject at the right place.
My name is Themis Karvounidis, I am 27 and I come from Greece. After completing my bachelor studies (plus an exchange semester at the University of Vienna) and a master programme on public international law in Greece, I decided to continue my master studies on maritime law in a purely international environment. Rotterdam fulfilled these criteria from the beginning.
The main reason why I chose the master programme of Maritime and Transport Law at Erasmus School of Law was that, being specialised in the law of the sea during my previous studies, I wanted to further study on maritime issues from a commercial perspective. This programme combined both international and maritime law aspects and studying in Rotterdam felt like studying the right subject at the right place. Furthermore, the city provides a multicultural atmosphere with many social activities and its geographical location helps travelling around the country and experiencing other cultures.
I could describe the programme itself as an intense one. It is divided into blocks of approximately one month and a half, and each block consist of one or two courses, after which exams take place. At the beginning, I prepared myself that this would be very difficult and demanding, since the courses would be taught within a short timeframe and exams would take place often. Despite this being true, I soon realised I could remain focussed a lot more than a structure with multiple semesters as I was used to back in my country. With this structure, I could concentrate on a specific subject each time and get better prepared for more complex issues during the next blocks.
Also, I realised that the programme had a somehow reverse order of difficulty. Even though each block and course has their challenges, the first block (Research and Writing Skills) is the most demanding, with several deadlines from week to week for written and oral assignments. I could predict that any prospective student could feel stressed or discouraged for what comes next, but I can say that the more the programme progresses the more confidence one gets managing deadlines and studying at the same time. In general, the deadlines do not coincide with each other, so I never felt overwhelmed by pressure.
The programme also includes moot courts, visits to international institutions and guest lectures from professionals that give an insight of the industry and help international students to get familiar with stakeholders. The professors are active both academically and professionally, so they express the demands of the market at its current state. From a teaching perspective, they are willing to provide all the necessary material and guidance. Finally, as an international student in Rotterdam during the coronavirus outbreak, I should admit that the institution and our professors and coordinators did their best not letting us feel neglected and continuing the programme as close to normal as possible.