On Thursday 13 December, we received the tragic news that Sarah Papenheim, one of our International Bachelor Psychology students passed away.

We sat with many of her peers together in the memorial room, sharing tears and laughter in Sarah’s memory.  Some of the prominent things of Sarah were shared here:

Sarah’s smile

Her energy

How well she could party

Her skills as a drummer during the open mic night

Her ability to always be there for others and put them first

Her dedication to her studies

The love she had for her brother Josh, who tragically passed away 2.5 years ago.

She loved the Netherlands, Rotterdam, the Psychology programme and Problem Based Learning (PBL)

Of course she had her say when it came to the things that she did not like with the programme, but that was just another reason why people loved her – her honest and genuine nature.

The tears, anger and pain will continue for quite some time amongst her fellow students and our teachers.

Our deepest sympathy goes out to her parents, her boyfriend, friends and fellow students in Rotterdam and in the United States. We wish them all a lot of strength at this very difficult time.

Guus Smeets, Chairman Department of Psychology, Education & Child Studies
Katinka Dijkstra, Programme coordinator bachelor Psychology
Katie Barry, Student advisor International Bachelor Psychology
Victor Bekkers, Dean Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

From the students

Sarah was an unusually kind person. As everybody who knew her knows, she was struggling with a lot in her life. Yet somehow she managed to stay so relentlessly positive that the first thing everybody associates with her is her utterly disarming ear-to-ear smile. Nobody could stay mad at her. In fact, going through old photos yesterday, we failed to find a single photograph without her characteristically wide beam and her shining eyes. We will cherish these memories forever. Our thoughts are with her family and all her friends back in the States in this horrible time. Whatever we write, we cannot express our grief and our gratitude for having had her in our lives. We were all lucky to know her and will forever remember her for the amazing person she was. Her spirit, her positivity live on in all our hearts.

We’re proud of you, girl. Wherever you are, we’re sure it’s got better music now. All our love is with you. <3