Eurovision and how I got here (to Rotterdam)

This question came to me a lot: why/how did I choose to do this PhD in Rotterdam? With Eurovision 2021 ready to go in a week just 5 km away from my home, I can’t believe myself how lucky I am to be here.

I learned about Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) right after when Rotterdam was announced as the host city of Eurovision 2020. I was in the middle of applying for PhD positions, and I just wondered what university does Rotterdam have. I was having something like a University of Rotterdam in mind, but no, the main university of Rotterdam appeared to be named after Erasmus.

Then I quickly went through their PhD policy and vacancy list, and found the university rather small in scale, thus offering not a lot of opportunities for my situation. I briefly admired some current PhD students there and moved on. I never checked back in almost a year.

My hunting for a PhD position didn’t go smoothly as expected. I ended up getting tens of rejections from all over the world. It became so clear that I had no control of where would I go for my PhD. The chance of me doing a PhD at all was fainting.

Then I randomly checked EUR back again and pitched my proposal to my now promotor (supervisor). After me offering to apply for a scholarship myself, he basically said yes without asking any questions. Everything suddenly started to work out.

Of course a lot happened afterwards. I got the scholarship, Eurovision 2020 got cancelled/postponed, I came to Rotterdam in the lockdown…

I’m extremely glad that everything worked out exactly this way, and now I’m in the Eurovision host city smelling my favourite event around the corner. Did Eurovision bring me to Rotterdam? Probably not. I think that was on my promotor. It was out of my control and I wasn’t actively striving for any university at that point. Did I come across EUR because of Eurovision? Definitely.

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