The University of Amsterdam research master in religious studies has been, and still is, a vastly enriching experience. As the name suggests, the emphasis is on research, and the program provides an excellent framework for developing one’s own academic path. Research based tutorials, student mini-conferences and an engaged and encouraging staff all contribute to furthering one’s own skills and developing confidence for a life in or outside of academia. The religious studies program offers different research avenues (my own focus is within Western Esotericism) while simultaneously providing a coherent approach to the general field by engaging the central theoretical and methodological questions that have moulded the discipline, or rather, mosaic of disciplines and scholarly traditions.
What makes the UvA moreover special is its efficient infrastructure; whether one decides to transfer from the one-year MA to the two-year research MA (as I have done), requests to have extra-curricular activities accredited, or applies for university grants for student-based projects (conferences, group travels, etc.), the process has in my experience always been smooth, unbureaucratic and uncomplicated. One of my personal favourites about the UvA is also its brilliant library system; a dream come true for literature-heavy research, searching and having the essential book delivered to your nearest library is only a click away. All in all, the experience of studying and conducting research in the enchanting city of Amsterdam with a dedicated group of top-notch scholars and an enthusiastic group of students has not only been the most valuable academic experience of my life, but the most exciting experience I have had.