Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences

Life @AMSIB with Billy

22 Apr 2020 00:00 | Amsterdam School of International Business

BillyFor this month’s Life@AMSIB, we interviewed the human embodiment of positivity and joy, Billy Shur, to see how her first year at AMSIB has been so far! Was there a challenge that tore down even the most optimistic student? How is the current situation affecting her school life? Read on with us to find out!

We love to meet people from different places. Where are you from? What made you pick AMSIB?

I am from South Africa, from Worcester, a small conservative Afrikaans town. I actually visited the Netherlands right after school, but I had been before when I was much younger, and I have always really loved it. I spent a year working here after school before going back home. That was when I got my European passport and I knew – I wanted to study in the Netherlands! I looked at different schools and different degrees and eventually found AMSIB and the IB program. I really really liked it because it is so broad, and it offers a range of different career prospects. So, I chose it! I really think it was the best choice for me.

You always seem to be in a good mood and ready to take on anything life throws your way! Was there anything in particular that broke your undying determination or has life at AMSIB been a breeze?

I must say, I try to see the positivity in all challenges. Even when I make mistakes, I like to think that it’s never a failure, but always a lesson to learn and grow from. My life at AMSIB so far has been really smooth sailing I think; I feel so comfortable and well-settled at school and I’ve made really amazing friends and I feel so at home there. All winter I was looking forward to the summer and now it’s kind of been taken away from us and I think that is something which I am struggling to accept and finding really challenging. I think the same goes for everyone now. It was such a shock. I went to school on Thursday (the 12th) and I left early cause I wasn’t feeling so well but I never thought that 4 weeks later, I would still not be back. It all happened so suddenly, and it really is a scary prospect because we do have to get used to it. You want to be social, go out, do things and be busy but now it’s not possible.

Things are definitely a lot harder now with the new virus on tour. Since you’re in your second semester you should be in the midst of CCE. How is your project pulling through?

CCE has been a massive challenge, and not just for me, but for so many groups. My group and I have a product called “Beltless”, and it is an alternative to a belt. The problem with these products is, how do you get shares and create awareness for yourself when you can’t even go out? We are so enthusiastic and optimistic about our product, but we can’t physically show it to anybody nor be together to make it and it really makes things difficult and kills the team spirit. Luckily, we have an amazing team and are working hard at home, doing this whole online thing, but it simply isn’t the same. The situation has turned what was originally very fun yet difficult into something that is just plain difficult. We will see how things go; we just want to pull through and make a success out of this tricky situation!

On a more positive note, we hear you are a big advocate for sustainability at school! What do you do? We’d love to know more!

Yes! I am actually a sustainability ambassador as part of a new sustainability ambassadors’ program. It’s a brand-new initiative and my team and I are trying to create awareness and make changes within our school in the long run. For now, our goal is to create an interactive platform and that is what our Instagram account, “Sustainable AUAS”, is for! We want students to learn about sustainability and how it shouldn’t be something that challenges your life since a lot of students already feel like they have a lot on their plates. It’s not like that at all! Sustainability acts can be as small as going on a walk to keep your mind happy and picking up a piece of litter on the way. We want to ask and answer questions and hear what our fellow students think to explore the changes that can be made in our school together!

After your first year, you get to start tailoring your degree to your own interests. Do you have any electives in mind, or a subject that you might be interested in specializing in? It might be a bit early, but is the global exchange simmering in the back of your mind?

I am super excited to start tailoring my own degree, especially since during your first year you get all these mandatory subjects. A lot of them have been lovely and you do need to do them to get a feel for what you’re good at and to discover your own interests and passions, but it’s nice to be able to leave certain subjects behind (definitely IQM) and choose something you really like instead! I’ve decided on Spanish and I am really looking forward to learning a new language. I’ve been practicing in order to get a bit of a head start and it is quite difficult, but I am excited. My idea is to then either go on exchange or do an internship abroad, and of course, I want to go to Spain to practice and better my speaking skills. The best way to learn any language is to surround yourself with it, and it’s really motivating knowing that you can shape your path and tailor your degree to what you are interested in. I can’t wait!

Finally, is there anything you will miss about AMSIB knowing that you won’t be able to go back until September, or is this something you think you can get used to?

When you are at school and have to wake up early you prefer to stay home in bed and sleep till late and try to find excuses to skip classes, but now that we are forced to stay home, I miss school a and my friends lot. Even if it’s in a work environment you miss seeing, speaking to and meeting people. I miss playing table tennis and socializing. It’s very sad to not go back especially for the reason that next year we get put into different classes and it’s not the idea that I had. I don’t know how I’m going to finish all my subject from home with it being so difficult to get a routine going for myself. School gave us that routine with the travelling and the waking up early. You would learn and get your assignments in class and you could work on them with your team members. It was so structured and suddenly there is no structure at all. Sure, you have a lot more time but whether you use it or not is the big question. So, yes, I definitely will miss AMSIB, but it is what it is.