At the request of the VSBfonds, our Dutch student in the European Legal Studies Department of our Bruges campus, Karst VRIESENDORP recently recorded a vlog. Especially for the Dutch foundation that allowed him to study at our Postgraduate Institute of European Studies, LAW student Karst talks about his experience at the College of Europe in Bruges.
Who are you?
Karst VRIESENDORP (26)
What do you study and where?
I am a student of the postgraduate master's degree in European Law at the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium. I am quite sure that I am the VSB fellow that stayed closest to the Netherlands, which is less than 20 kilometres from Bruges. If I wanted to, I could be in the Netherlands within an hour by bike. Nevertheless, Flanders and the College of Europe are definitely very different from the Netherlands. In many ways Bruges has a distinct Belgian atmosphere and here I mainly speak French and English with professors and fellow students.
Why did you choose this field of study?
Since the very beginning of my studies, I have been convinced that for certain issues, solutions are necessary not only at the Dutch level, but also at the European level. For that reason, after my bachelor's degree in Dutch law, I started a master's degree in European law in Leiden. The Master in Bruges is a great addition to the Master in Leiden, because here we do not only delve deeper into areas of law that I have already studied, such as internal market law, but we also explore areas of law that I have never studied before, such as European environmental law.
What have you learned professionally from it?
One of the aspects that makes the studies at the College of Europe unique is that many of the professors come from practice, and work, for example, at the European Commission or another European institution. Therefore, they do not only have an excellent substantive knowledge but can also help you discover career perspectives. Additionally, in my residence French is spoken as much as English, which was quite a challenge in the beginning, but I am very grateful to have been able to improve my level considerably, which I believe can be very beneficial for a career in European law.
What has this year meant for you personally?
My year in Bruges was an intensive, sometimes difficult, but above all great experience. I especially appreciated the interaction with my fellow students, who are diverse, highly ambitious, and broadly interested, and I really enjoyed the many insightful discussions I had here. For example, Italians or Poles may look at current European issues very differently than how we would approach those issues in the Netherlands and experiencing that really helps to understand the European Union even better.
What will you take back to the Netherlands?
An enormous amount of specialized knowledge about EU law and the EU, many friends and contacts in Brussels, Luxembourg, and Strasbourg, and many great memories.