Oct. 4, 2019

UCalgary and UAmsterdam celebrate 25 years of fruitful partnership

Student exchange programs enrich alumni lives and the economy

On Sept. 30, the University of Calgary celebrated 25 years of fruitful partnership with the University of Amsterdam (UvA). To commemorate this anniversary, Janaka Ruwanpura, UCalgary vice-provost (international), along with senior academic director Cheryl Dueck and regional manager Gregory Mack met Karen Maex, UvA rector magnificus, and other officials to review past successes and discuss future collaboration opportunities.

Two UCalgary students, Omer Jamal (Faculty of Arts) and John (Shun) Jiang (Faculty of Law), who are on academic exchange at UvA, attended the event too.

“UCalgary’s partnership with UvA is one of our institution’s oldest and most successful,” says Ruwanpura. “We are pleased to celebrate this 25-year anniversary and renew our agreements.”

During this long-standing partnership, the exchange program between UCalgary and UvA has produced 175 alumni, who have since gone on to hold successful roles in various fields around the world, such as lawyers, CEOs of tech startups, and neuroscience professors.

“I had the pleasure of studying for eight months at the University of Calgary. Both for my academic, as well as my personal development, I look back with gratitude at that experience,” says alumnus Erik Spelt, founder and managing director of Quva Kitchen Products.

“During my time with UCalgary, I learned to apply the theory I was taught, while also making lasting friends and experiencing the natural beauty Canada has to offer.”

UCalgary alumnus Sebastian van der Vegt, managing director of Untold Communications, made lifelong friends during his 1995 UvA exchange. Just a few weeks ago, they reunited in Atlanta for an Iron Maiden concert.

“After graduating, I've had the pleasure of living all over the world, including Switzerland, Turkey and now the U.S. working for big companies and organizations. I've remained friends with a core group of people that I met in Amsterdam during the exchange program. I wouldn't trade the experience for anything, one of the best things I've done!”

Jasper van Woudenberg couldn’t agree more. "My exchange to Calgary was a pivotal moment in my life,” he says.

“I came into the semester somewhat introverted and without anybody to fall back on. I emerged at the end of the semester with friends across the globe, a fresh perspective on my own culture, and a love for snowboarding that led me to meet my future wife. Truly life-changing."

Founded in 1632, UvA is one of Europe’s most prominent research-led universities that offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees, many of which are taught in English. Ranked 57th overall in the QS World University Rankings 2018, UvA is also one of the top 15 universities in Europe and highly regarded for its fundamental and socially relevant research.

UvA and UCalgary have many things in common, including similar research interests in areas such as global health and development, cultural transformations and globalization, urban studies, brain and cognition, and infections and inflammations, as well as 226 joint publications in the last five years.

UCalgary has exchange opportunities with UvA in diverse areas of study ranging from anthropology, astronomy, economics, law, political science, communication studies, software engineering to everything in between. 

Want to study at the University of Amsterdam for a semester or a year? Learn how today.