Isabelle was given two options that would help her keep getting a degree in Rotterdam somewhat affordable: marrying her Dutch boyfriend or applying for an Italian passport. While the Brazilian student is crazy about her Eelco, she thought getting married at age 21 would be a little over the top. “My great-great-grandfather, who was born in 1888, was Italian. If I was able to prove that, I’d be eligible for an Italian passport. It’s much cheaper for Europeans to go to uni in the Netherlands than for people from outside Europe.” It took her over a year to complete all the red tape needed to get the Italian passport. “It wasn’t easy, but it did make me even more motivated to do well in my degree. I had a great time enjoying student life while studying psychology in Brazil. Now my job is to do this properly. What really motivates me, as well, is the fact that if I don’t have any re-sits, I can go home and see my family in July.”

Isabelle Lins Pereira

Read more

‘Studying in Rotterdam was probably the best decision I’ve ever made’

Thousands of new EUR students arrive full of dreams, ambitions and inspiring plans for…

Eelco and Isabelle met in Brazil. He was travelling in the country, and they both happened to be on Tinder. They matched and hit it off. Later, while Isabelle was travelling through Europe with her father, she agreed to meet Eelco in Amsterdam. “Not only did I fall hard for him, but I also fell for the Dutch education system and for Rotterdam, too. I’d been dreaming of studying abroad for years, and the Netherlands struck me as the right place to do so.”

Living in the Netherlands can take some getting used to, though. Krimpen aan den IJssel can be a bit of a shock to someone who is used to Copacabana. “I’m from a lively city that never sleeps. There’s always something to do, and there are always people out and about. In Krimpen aan den IJssel the streets are sometimes empty. At those times it feels like a ghost town.” Rotterdam was too expensive for the couple, hence their decision to live there. “It really is a pity we live such a long distance from the sea!”

The international Bachelor’s degree in psychology is exactly what Isabelle hoped it would be. “Students are expected to be more active and more independent here. For instance, we are expected to have actual discussions during seminars. At my previous university we mainly had to sit and listen, which is not that easy for someone with ADHD, like myself. Commenting or asking questions is considered a good thing here. If someone did that in Brazil, they’d be regarded as show-offs, and everyone would laugh at them.” Teaching methods are completely different in Rotterdam, as well, says Isabelle. EUR’s approach is much more scientific. “At my previous department, Freud was everything. It was a lot more about philosophy there.”

Isabelle has one more wish for this year: snow. Although she saw some snow on the ground in Winterberg, Germany, she would like to see actual snowdrops come down, then walk on fresh and creaky snow. “I really, really hope we’ll have a white Christmas.”