Interview

Students of Amsterdam: Aakansha

This week, Medium speaks with our very own Aakansha Gupta, a first-year Communication Science student, about her life before moving to Amsterdam and the endless opportunities the course offers her.

From Denmark to Amsterdam

“It was a win-win situation…”

Before coming to Amsterdam, Aakansha had spent a year with a host family in Denmark. She described the experience as “full of opportunities”, as she had managed to study Danish and went to a local school. She even accompanied that school on a study trip to Spain. When asked why she chose the Netherlands over Denmark for university, she responded, “It was a win-win situation. [Amsterdam] was close to both Denmark and my home country, India.” She also added that its diversity drew her into choosing the city for university life.

While she had wanted to pursue performance arts as her major, Aakansha had diverse interests, and to her, “Communication Science combined all of them”, adding that if its research-based structure would help if she intended on studying in a STEM field after graduation. After a semester or so, she reflected that the first semester was great, however, further revealed that she was overwhelmed with mastering self-discipline.  The struggle lied in adjusting to the academic pace that the university had. Furthermore, the first block of the second had been a low point for her. Nonetheless, she says that she had bounced back and had undergone a major self-development phase.

For future endeavors, Aakansha admits that the program is essentially “creating a CV that’s personalized to [her] own interests and strengths”. With the intention of taking an internship at a multinational company, Aakansha is set on being financially independent by the time she graduates. She may even consider taking a Master’s degree, though she assures us that it may not be in Communication Science, opining that Psychology may be a better fit for her.

Personal growth

Outside of her academic life, however, she says that she’s been shaped by Amsterdam itself. With a preference for the countryside, Aakansha had to adjust to what she called “big city life” when she moved here. She hilariously recounts multiple ‘biking fiascos’ that defined her first few days in the city; the university’s Intreeweek had been the setting for her mishaps with her newly-bought bike, and she admits that she has a love-hate relationship with cycling in the city.

The biggest change, to her, was that she started partying regularly and she gained a sense of independence that was refreshing. But she’s also grateful for the little things; she’s taken a liking to the quiet places in Amsterdam, such as the National Ballet and Opera, the backstreets of Rembrandtplein, and the river that runs near her house. The city, to her, had always been a refuge to her in both good and bad days.

Socially, she says that she’s made great friends and joined “pretty awesome” associations, such as Mercurius and even writes for Medium itself! When asked how she feels about writing for Medium, she admits that she’s happy for the opportunity to write for us. Despite it being instrumental to her progress as a writer, she often pushes for further change within the organization. It is, to her, important that the magazine takes on new endeavors and hopefully reach greater prominence.

Cover: / Final Editor: Erica Boyce

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Karina Afandy
Hailing from Indonesia, Karina is currently studying Communication Science at UvA. Whenever she’s not stressing about the films she’s going to watch next, you can find her reading history books or napping.

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