16 september 2016

Welcome to the VU

To all the new students and colleagues starting at the VU this academic year:

One year ago, I was in your shoes. I can remember being a touch apprehensive, but mostly excited about starting on a fantastic new adventure. For all of you, and particularly for those of you beginning your university studies, I am sure the sense of embarking on an adventure is the same.

I am delighted that you have chosen for the VU. Students are the beating heart of a university, and you are the essential element of our vibrant academic community. You define the character of our university, and you help chart our course for the future. Welcome!

You are the essential element of our vibrant academic community

The VU is a special institution. We are a university with a heart, seeking knowledge while remaining acutely aware of societal relevance. Look around you –  you are never far away from our motto: Verder Kijken or Looking Further. We ask and expect our students and colleagues to look further and to expand their horizons, to look beyond the boundaries of their own intended field of study, cultures, traditions and philosophy to become critical and socially engaged academics.

You have come here for an education that prepares you for the challenges that you will face in an increasingly complex world, and we will give you that with inspiring teachers, renowned academics, committed staff, good infrastructure. We also expect a lot of you – we expect you to work hard, but realize also that education reaches far beyond the confines of traditional coursework.  A VU-education will challenge you, and give you almost limitless opportunities to get the most out of yourself. You’ll have opportunities to study abroad, to participate in honours programs, to explore courses and minors outside your major field, but also to be active in study associations, student organizations, sports, to participate in faculty and university student councils to help shape the course of the university. The opportunities are there for the taking - get involved, seize the chances you have, and enjoy the rich variety of possibilities before you!

And a year from now, I wager you will feel the same way that I do – what a privilege it is to be a part of the VU.

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