'I was particularly struck by the warm and welcoming demeanor of UvA faculty members, the very same demeanor and enthusiasm I came to experience at the Graduate School when I came to Amsterdam.’ Read what Donya Ahmadi tells about Urban Studies.
My name is Donya Ahmadi and I come from Iran. I came to know the Research Master's programme in Urban Studies back in 2010, about a year after the presidential elections in Iran and the demonstrations and repressions that followed, I began looking for scholarships through the grantfinder, an online tool for finding scholarships at Dutch universities, when I stumbled upon this programme’s webpage. I was immediately drawn to its robust multidisciplinary design. Having contacted many universities, I was particularly struck by the warm and welcoming demeanor of UvA faculty members, the very same demeanor and enthusiasm I came to experience at the Graduate School when I came to Amsterdam.
My interest in cities and urban related topics dates back to when I was very young. Coming from a city where un-integrated top-down urban policy is a recipe for social inequality, I have always found myself very much intrigued by topics such as sustainability, citizen participation and social equity. With regard to my experiences in Tehran, living in Amsterdam for the past nine months has provided me with new insights into what it takes in terms of political and institutional capacity in order to bring about change. My studies at the University of Amsterdam as well as my encounters with the outstanding team of scholars at the Graduate School, have provided me with strong background and research experience within my field of study. Moreover, having been exposed to an academic setting in which research and knowledge are not delimited by political or religious influences, I have been able to find a way in order to bridge my academic interests to my personal fascination for bottom-up initiatives in urban governance. As part of my Research Master I will be spending the upcoming fall semester in Boston, where I will be conducting a comparative study about the role of institutional context and local agents in fostering collaborative and participatory decision making.
My experiences thus far at the University of Amsterdam have been nothing short of life changing. I have been able to make personal changes towards a healthier more sustainable lifestyle, met amazing people from all over the world and been provided with the opportunity to work with and learn from internationally acclaimed researchers in a diverse, intriguing and laid back environment. It is a thorough multi-disciplinary programme with strong foundations in urban theory as well as research methodology. Furthermore, it is a highly selective programme which brings together versatile, well-qualified and motivated students from round the globe in order to engage in an academically rigorous and yet friendly environment and prepare for succeeding in doctoral level curriculum. In sum, over the past few months I have found myself growing both as a person and as a researcher and it is therefore, with great pleasure that I recommend this programme to any aspiring academic who is looking for a high quality postgraduate programme in one of Europe’s finest most sustainable capitals!