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Needing help deciding between two good opportunities (MSc Environmental Sciences in the NL and an Erasmus Mundus MSc Marine Environment)


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In case anyone wants to provide an outsider's perspective, I am torn in a few directions emotionally on my decision, but the logical decision seems obvious.

Basics: I graduated from an American uni in May 2020 and had to take a gap year due to exhaustion, covid, and not applying to many grad schools/funding the first time around. My goal has always been to return to the Netherlands to do my masters after doing an exchange semester there during my masters. After being much more prepared for applications this time around, I have been extremely lucky to be offered an Erasmus Mundus scholarship (which I never expected getting) for a Marine Environment master's. This is as much of a full ride as it gets. I also was offered a scholarship from Wageningen University for their MSc Environmental Sciences, but its only a tuition waiver, I would have to take out probably $15-20K in student loans to independently fund my living expenses (already have 30k in loans from my bachelors). 

The content of the courses are quite similar, with Wageningen offering a slightly more broad curriculum with less courses and the EM programme being more focused on the ocean, but I'm sure I could satisfy my academic curiosities in both programmes, even more so in MER though. A big plus for EM is that I can go anywhere to do my thesis, and I would most likely choose the Netherlands. 

The choice seems straightforward logically to me, but Wageningen was my top choice before getting the EM scholarship, as I never expected having such an opportunity a year ago. I have a strong emotional pull to the Netherlands, but I think a thesis there would satisfy that. The choice is strange for me and passing up Wageningen makes me feel I'm going against my goals/dreams of the last two years. I can't tell if a Dutch degree would give me much advantage in applying to a phd or job in the Netherlands after my masters as opposed to a fully funded EM program with study in 3-4 countries.

Any opinions/insights are extremely welcome. Just trying to give each option thorough consideration.

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Receiving a Mundus scholarship is too much of a deal to pass on. You will always have the opportunity to get a Phd in the Netherlands, but you probably won't get another chance to live an experience and get an education like the one Erasmus Mundus offers. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity! It might be more tiring and harder than an ordinary graduate program due to moving and adapting to other countries, but when will you ever have another chance to do all of this with a full ride scholarship? 

I applied to another EM program and didn't get in, so maybe I'm a little biased, but I truly think it's the one of best opportunity one can have in their academic and personal life...

Good luck with e,verything I hope you'll be happy with whatever choice you make :) 

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On 6/3/2021 at 10:21 AM, orangejuisss said:

Receiving a Mundus scholarship is too much of a deal to pass on. You will always have the opportunity to get a Phd in the Netherlands, but you probably won't get another chance to live an experience and get an education like the one Erasmus Mundus offers. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity! It might be more tiring and harder than an ordinary graduate program due to moving and adapting to other countries, but when will you ever have another chance to do all of this with a full ride scholarship? 

I applied to another EM program and didn't get in, so maybe I'm a little biased, but I truly think it's the one of best opportunity one can have in their academic and personal life...

Good luck with e,verything I hope you'll be happy with whatever choice you make :) 

Thanks so much for your thoughtful reply! I have decided to stick with the EM program :) I think you are right and it was only a tough decision for me because I had been planning/hoping to do my master's in the Netherlands for two years now and my heart was very set on it and I was never expecting an opportunity like EM. I think I would regret passing up the opportunity though.

I'm sorry it didn't work out for you, but the right opportunity will come for you! I have heard of quite a few people applying to the same EM programme multiple years in a row and going from rejected to reserve to offered a scholarship! I've been rejected by most scholarships I have applied to and was quite discouraged by it at this point but I still got lucky and it feels like it all fell into place in the right way even though it isn't what I expected.

Good luck to you too! 

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