What on earth are you still doing on campus?
“I’m currently completing my Bachelor’s thesis, but actually, I don’t belong here. I study business administration at the University of Cologne. My girlfriend lives and studies law in Rotterdam. I’m here because of her.
“She has finished everything she had to do in this academic year and is working during the day. The deadline for my thesis is approaching – just two weeks to go. Since she’s working anyway, I may as well complete my thesis here. The campus is the perfect spot to do so.”
And you’re not getting shooed away by guards checking whether you are actually an EUR student?
Smiles: “I’m aware that this is a thing and I checked the situation before I started coming to the campus, but they don’t check for ID during the holidays. In other words, I haven’t come across any guards.”
How did you meet your girlfriend?
“We were both in an exchange programme at Glasgow University, which was a lot of fun. I met a ton of great people, and as an added bonus, I ended up with an absolutely lovely girlfriend.”
“Is a long-distance relationship hard to manage? It’s not hard at all to travel between Cologne and Rotterdam. Three hours on a train is all it takes. We see each other nearly every weekend. That’s about as often as some couples I know who live in the same city. But it’s a little harder to visit each other on a whim.”
Now about your thesis – weren’t most Bachelor’s theses due a while ago?
“German universities run on a different timetable than Dutch universities, and the second semester in Germany started much later than the second half of the year, as is common here in the Netherlands. We start in April and end in August.”
What is your thesis about?
“My thesis is about the use of artificial intelligence in the world of finance and how best to understand it. I wanted to write a thesis on a subject that’s going to be important in the future, to keep it interesting and relevant. At first I was really interested in it, but the longer I spent working on it, the staler it became in the end. I think that can’t be helped when you’re immersing yourself in a subject for so long.”
Is the Master’s degree you have chosen in line with the subject of your thesis?
“I mainly wish to focus on finance and management. I’m considering getting my Master’s here in Rotterdam, so one of the reasons why I’m writing my Bachelor’s thesis on this campus is to check how I feel about the campus. I’ve been favourably impressed. It’s great that the university isn’t spread across the city, and the buildings here are relatively new and modern.
“So why am I considering Rotterdam? Because the Rotterdam School of Management ranks high, and of course it’s nice and convenient that my girlfriend lives here. I also think Rotterdam is a beautiful modern city. It’s not a typically Dutch city – I think Amsterdam is more typical. Am I allowed to say that? Or Utrecht with its small canals. But that’s exactly what’s great about Rotterdam. You have to get to know it and learn to appreciate it.”
Finally, when will you be able to take a break?
“After the deadline for my thesis, two weeks from now, I’ll be spending three weeks on the Côte d’Azur with my girlfriend. I’m looking forward to it immensely.”