On July 5, Flemish Prime Minister Jan Jambon awarded the very first Fayat scholarships. “We make top international institutions more accessible to Flemish students with ambitions and talent, because they are our future leaders in society. They can help put Flanders on the world map “, says Jambon (N-VA). Mathijs Clement and Samuel vander Straeten are among the lucky ones who, thanks to the scholarship, will study at the University of Cambridge.
Samuel Vander Straeten
“Thanks to four years of hard work, but also thanks to a helping hand from those around me, I was able to win the Fayat Scholarship. Next academic year, I am pursuing a master’s degree in social anthropology at the University of Cambridge.
“For me, this study abroad is the perfect complement to my history course at Ghent University. From the beginning I have studied the historical production of knowledge and discourses about ‘subalten’ or marginalized groups. Gradually I became so interested in the contemporary handling of these groups. past – rather than in the past itself. After all, it is becoming increasingly clear that ‘history’ today plays a central role in many societal discussions. they belong in school, on the street, on television, … And it can lead to conflicts. During my master’s I researched where these conflicts come from and what ‘we’ can do about it. I focused on African diaspora groups. in Europe, history has already proved very valuable in tackling this problem, while it became clear to me that there is also a need for a deeper bottom-up past. to the experiences and historical cultures of these minority groups in order to reach a more nuanced understanding. A complementary anthropological perspective meets this need.
“The University of Cambridge has a very rich anthropological tradition. But more importantly, it employs leading anthropologists – including my future supervisor – who specifically specialize in dealing with the past in various contemporary cultures. It is a great place to meet passionate people. and committed people from all over the world, an experience whose value I already appreciated during my Erasmus stay at the Sorbonne in Paris.The Fayat Scholarship gives me a unique opportunity to further deepen my social ambitions and interests at an internationally recognized institution. ”
“After four years of Latin and Greek at Ghent University, it was clear that I was bitten by antiquity and that I really wanted to continue in the field. The Fayat scholarship gave me a unique opportunity: I would never have embarked on a study adventure in the UK at my own expense. Not only did the grant remove the financial barriers, it also pushed me to apply to a university like Cambridge.
“During my Erasmus exchange in Leiden earlier this academic year, I followed the course Classics now, with Professor Ineke Sluiter. In her classes, she linked classic texts with current topics. It made me realize how insightful it can be to connect current events with antiquity, an awareness whose seeds were certainly already planted during my bachelor’s degree in Ghent. That is precisely why Cambridge appeals to me: Scholars such as Professor Dame Mary Beard emphatically establish the connection between antiquity and the present and do not shy away from difficult questions. Last year, Professor Beard also received an honorary doctorate from Ghent University for this open-minded approach to the classics. What also appeals to me at Cambridge is its inclusive approach to antiquity: Classics considered as one field, ie without a division between linguistics, literature, history or archeology. Because my master’s dissertation focused on late antiquity (the period traditionally associated with the “fall” of Rome), I was fortunate enough to discover in Ghent that very useful, groundbreaking research during this period is also being conducted within the history department. The fact that I could already taste the interplay between disciplines in Ghent makes me very excited to continue on the path of interdisciplinarity.
“The students of Latin and Greek at our faculty made up a small but close-knit group of students. I thought that was an advantage, and I am also looking forward to being part of a new group of students who will not be too big. This small group ensures that teachers are very accessible, which is why I dared to ask my teachers to write a letter of recommendation at very short notice. It may not seem like it, but an ‘individual’ scholarship is actually quite a lot of teamwork. I am very grateful to everyone who has helped or encouraged me with the application: teachers and fellow students. ”