Thank you for your interest in EuroScholars, a unique research study abroad program in Europe. In each edition, this newsletter aims to keep you updated with the latest program developments!
University in the Spotlight: KU Leuven
Canada’s Minister of State for Science and Technology visits Leuven
Gary T. Goodyear, Canada’s Minister of State for Science and Technology, was in Leuven on March 7th to meet with university leaders and tour IMEC, a university partner in cutting-edge nanotechnology research. Goodyear is a current member of the Canadian House of Commons and has served in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s cabinet since 2008. His trip signals enhanced collaboration between Canada and European partners. This was Goodyear’s first trip to Leuven.
Goodyear and his delegation are in Belgium to attend the ‘EU Science: Global Challenges, Global Collaboration’ conference hosted by the European Parliament. Goodyear also made time to pay a visit to KU Leuven.
He spoke particularly highly of the university’s technology transfer office, Leuven Research & Development: “I’m quite impressed with the number of patents and spin-off companies coming out of the university. In Canada, we’re very good at creating knowledge but we could do better at translating that into a social and economic benefit. Visits like this are always mutually beneficial – it’s a perfect opportunity to find ways to do things better and to foster collaboration both between universities and the private sector, and between governments. We’re at a changing time in terms of the economic situation around the world and collaboration is what is needed to be successful in the new economy,” says Goodyear.
In two weeks’ time, university leaders will accompany a Flemish diplomatic delegation to a summit on science and technology in Montreal, where Memorandums of Understanding will be signed between KU Leuven and Université de Montréal, and the region of Quebec and Research Foundation Flanders (FWO), respectively.
From Our Alumni
Vladimir Khristov, Utrecht University, Pennsylvania State University
The principal reason that I decided on studying abroad in the Netherlands was the topic of the research project that I chose. Among other reasons were the location, culture, and language. The Netherlands is famous for its liberal culture that is accepting to foreigners. I was surprised that despite being very modest about it, almost everyone I had met spoke at least a little bit of English – from my co-workers to the elderly owner of my favorite tea shop. I was also pleasantly surprised by the Dutch high speed train network which manages to efficiently connect multiple cultural centers both within the country, and outside it.
The great thing about the Netherlands is that nothing is too far away. My favorite trip was a weekend in Belgium that I went on with a flat mate (another international student). After only two hours on a train, we were in a country with a completely different language and culture. By largely avoiding popular tourist destinations, we were able to truly get a taste of the local culture, music, and cuisine.
Meeting new people happened in several ways. First of all, I formed lasting friendships with my flat mates, and we still keep in touch after two years. Secondly, becoming part of the Erasmus Student Network (ESN) put me in contact with numerous international students from all over the world. Specifically, the ESN organized multiple inexpensive trips and weekly gatherings. Being able to just sit down in a local gathering spot and strike up a conversation says a lot about the region’s hospitality.
Through hard work, I achieved a lot in the research laboratory. This achievement culminated in the publication of my first scientific paper. I rediscovered an interest in engineering that I plan to expand upon in the foreseeable future at least. I formed lasting working relationships with my colleagues. And I also learned how to adapt to new circumstances. All of these things: the publication, contacts that can vouch for me, and a rediscovered passion have already helped me progress in my scientific career.
I feel EuroScholars is absolutely worth it! You get the opportunity to work on an exciting research project of your choice, at the location of your choice. The research project can make or break your trip. Think of it as having a full time job. There are tons of projects to choose from, and at many destinations – it is up to you to find the one that fits you best. Take the time to read through all of them, and pick the best one. Make sure you know what your role will be, and what will be expected of you.