Mrs. van der Meer Mohr is the president of the executive board of Erasmus University. She is a visible and a well-respected figure within the Erasmus community, and the EM asked her a few questions about the past and the upcoming academic year.

Could you briefly summarize the main (academic, campus, student life, etc.) developments of last year and what has been achieved?

I think last year (2011-2012) has been an extremely busy and exciting one. The new campus here at Woudestein is taking shape. Last November we had the official start of the construction of the new heart of the campus. I know the building activities are a nuisance sometimes and do not make the campus look pretty at the moment, but I hope students will understand that we are building a lively and green campus where students can study, meet and live. We try to keep students as well informed as possible about the building activities.

Another highlight, especially for students I presume (!), was the introduction of Starbucks at campus Woudestein, a first for Rotterdam.

Furthermore, we agreed a strategic alliance with the universities of Leiden en Delft, which will strengthen our position in the academic world. In a time of globalization, it is also very important for universities to combine strengths. We also introduced far-reaching measures to help students at the start of their academic career. We offer first year students a ‘kick start’ at Erasmus University, making sure that can start the second year with a clean sheet. We think this will improve their academic achievements.

We are also making good progress with the new Erasmus University College, which will be located in the centre of Rotterdam. We passed an important test in January and I expect that we will pass the second and last one later this year as well. The Erasmus University College, with the slogan ‘The E is for excellence’, will offer a broad and varied bachelors curriculum to bright young students from both The Netherlands and abroad. A real international classroom, which will open up the centennial celebrations of Erasmus University in September 2013. Definitely something to look forward to.

What parting words would you want to say to those international students who are graduating and leaving Rotterdam?

First of all, congrats and well done! And “thank you for choosing Erasmus.” I hope you had a great (learning) experience here in Rotterdam, an experience you will hopefully cherish throughout the rest of their career. And I also hope that it is not a definitive goodbye. May we all stay connected over the years as you spread your wings as ambassadors of Erasmus University all over the world.

What is on the agenda for next year, concerning international students? What will the 2012/2013 academic year be like for them?

I hope international students have a great and challenging year. First I want to mention the introduction programme for international students. By taking part in these activities, like a buddy programme, they will have the opportunity to meet fellow students, learn their way around the campus and get to feel at home in Rotterdam. (All information can be found here, by the way). The official Welcome Ceremony is on September 11th.  where the international students will be greeted by Rector Henk Schmidt.

And for the whole of next year, amongst others, we will see the new campus taking shape. I am very much looking forward to the opening of the totally renovated C-building in September, a major step in the reconstruction of the campus.


What advice would you give students who are seriously thinking about studying at Erasmus University next year?

Choose wisely before you enroll. A study abroad is an experience for a lifetime. I did it myself and still cherish the memories of that year abroad. Do come to Rotterdam: Erasmus University and Rotterdam have a lot to offer to international students.

by Martina Danelaite