Postgraduate study in Holland: How (search, interview, registration)

    Like many articles of this kind, this one is based on personal experience and does not pretend to be particularly objective. Nevertheless, it seems to me that such information may be useful to the potential piglet P., which I was until recently. It is useful from the point of view that the work is labor-intensive, but quite feasible.

    Oh, by the way. I got a graduate school, but the search process is still identical regardless of region, and the researchers were going to go to AI ...
    Another note: the method below is suitable for many other European countries except the Netherlands, but in the end it turned out that I went there, therefore most accurately about her.

    Job Search

    As far as I heard, you can search for graduate school in a variety of ways. For example, having a topic of interest, you can simply brute force to send letters to professors, suddenly someone is looking. But I didn’t have this, so I was just looking for work. There are several portals with vacancies where the “employer” (professor / project team / university) posts a vacancy with a description of the study, requirements and the conditions provided.

    Here are a few sites I used: - Dutch; , - the whole of Europe.

    You can still go to the websites of the universities, there are also vacancies hanging. I can’t say about efficiency.

    What do you need

    From pieces of paper - a translation of a diploma of higher education (master's level, but my specialty also rolled) with an application with a transcript of grades. Estimates, of course, on the profile should be approx. Well, overseas. passport yet (after being hired, more documents may be required, but more on that below).

    Language is very necessary. In Holland, English is sufficient, but, for example, in Germany and / or German. It was the case that I was refused a couple of their vacancies with the wording “we need German-speaking students”.
    It happens that the language is asked to be confirmed with some kind of certificate. Both IELTS and TOEFL are usually suitable.

    It will take a resume. Here it’s more convenient for anyone - you can send everything universal or remake it to the needs of every professor. The second is probably more effective, but pairwise. Pretty soon I scored and wrote all the features associated with a particular vacancy in a motivation letter. I also note that I did not hesitate to indicate in the resume and completed online courses on Coursera. Of course, if there is anything better to say, you can refrain from this.
    It is great if you have publications. They often want to see. I did not have.
    Motivation letter. About him below.

    In many vacancies, there is a limitation that the graduation date of a university is no more than 4 years away from the start date of the study. That is, not very long ago finished.

    The rest is more individual from job to job.

    Motivation letter

    A very important thing. In the first couple of months, my motivational letter was two sentences, such as hello, take me. This is not necessary.
    Then I began to write in more detail, and in the end it had something like this plan:
    - a greeting;
    - I want to work for you because ... (corresponded individually for each employer)
    - a list of my abilities in accordance with the "requirements" section of the vacancy;
    - A brief historical reference about me (sometimes thrown away);
    - "I'm waiting for an answer, like a nightingale of summer."

    Usually a letter is required per page. I often squeezed out of myself more and couldn’t, but if you can, then where they don’t limit you, go for it, it won’t be superfluous. I know a girl who dashed three or four pages of a motivation letter (about ideas for a master's work) into the Dutch magistracy. Have taken.

    Job interviews

    Then someone like a language suspended. If you are confident in yourself - you can not get ready. Each time I wrote myself imaginary questions and answers, and by the last, I read aloud for several days in a row to train the language.
    The first interview is either by phone or by skype. Skype was worse, but it turns out that waving hands can also help.
    In fact, they do not differ from the workers, so you need to prepare for them the same way.

    How was the search process with me

    After graduating in February 2012, I started looking for graduate school in the Netherlands. In fact, the main goal was graduate school in the field of artificial intelligence, for awesome. But I looked at all the vacancies, answered interesting and suitable requirements.
    In the first few months, I sent it on request once every couple of weeks. With a motivational letter in two lines. Well, work, in my free time I want to be complimented, not worn out, so it didn’t go very well. What is nice, most often they answered applications. What is less pleasant is always a failure.
    By November, the motivation letter had grown to half the page.
    I also decided to consider other options, master, for example. With a specialty trump, you can ask for graduate students and masters. But it turned out that, for example, I was already late for a good Erasmus program this year (it seems to finish accepting applications in December next year, but I didn’t have a language certificate).
    Starting from the new year, I decided that this would not work, I pulled myself together and began to write 5 approximate applications a week on weekends. And on weekdays, go to IELTS preparation courses, otherwise it is required everywhere for graduate studies, and some were asked for graduate schools. Also expanded the area
    In February, count the year after the start of the search, I was called for the first time to an interview in the German city of Tübingen. Sorry, but I don’t remember what the vacancy was. The interview was a telephone. About 15 minutes we talked, they asked around for a resume, but for experience. There was little hope of continuation, which was confirmed a few days later by a refusal letter.
    After a couple of weeks, they called for an interview in Ireland. The vacancy was about using neural networks to process gene information to predict a person’s tendency to schizophrenia (if a person has schizophrenic ancestors, the likelihood of getting sick increases, and some preventive methods can help in the early stages, so it’s better to know in advance). Also a telephone. Prepared for this more. We talked for an hour. After such an intense processing of the English text, the brain wanted to emerge. There was also a refusal.
    Third were the Dutch in mid-April. One of the vacancies, which is interesting, but not really about programming and Co. "Visual perception of light and materials." The interview was on Skype. She prepared tightly, wrote, read aloud, searched for information on the topic. We also talked about an hour. A couple of days later a letter arrived, such as “We liked you, but you answered some questions not very well, and we did not understand this because of a misunderstanding of the topic or English. But do you want to get an interview in Russian extra, ”. It turns out that the professor already had a Russian graduate student, and I interviewed him. Successfully, because they proposed the third stage - on the basis of two documents about the region, to estimate the research plan on the page. I wrote it. They liked it, and at the end of May they took me, Hooray!


    This, probably, from case to case, but I got the impression that the Dutch bureaucracy is not much different from ours.
    So, in May, the professor wrote to me that let's set a start date on September 1, like she is going on vacation in mid-July, and before that, if I come, we won’t have much time. I agreed.
    A couple of weeks later they sent a couple of pieces of paper for signature, replied, then silence. In early July, I became worried. it’s time to buy tickets already, and from them it’s neither rumor nor spirit. I wrote, they answered like wait, they are already overwhelmed with work, because many foreign students are coming to the beginning of the school year. The professor and I made an okay face and decided to wait. As a result, the administration of the university reached the point that they postponed the start to October 1st.
    Oh, and yes, by the way, for the Dutch you may need an apostilled birth certificate with a translation into English. At the same time, it is important to know that this apostille is placed on the original only at the place of birth. You can put on a copy, but these are still dances with a tambourine.
    After the IND (immigration service) confirmed that he would give a visa, I went to the consulate, brought my passport, photo and application form, gave it back, returned after 2 business days and received an entry visa for three months. I didn’t give any money. For a residence permit, an entry visa was replaced on the spot.

    I probably didn’t remember everything, so ask, if that. And success in research!

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