Mariel Didato

The Department of Women’s and Gender Studies (WGS) at Rutgers University has established collaboration with Erasmus Mundus Joint European Master’s Degree in Women’s and Gender Studies (GEMMA), coordinated by the University of Granada and in cooperation with the GEMMA Consortium. 

Since 2013, our department has participated in a student exchange program with GEMMA, the first Erasmus Mundus Master´s Degree in Women's and Gender Studies in Europe supported by the European Commission since 2006. Through this Program, WGS Masters students have the opportunity to complete courses in women’s and gender studies taught by distinguished and highly recognized professors in one of eight universities across 6 different countries, including: University of Granada and University of Oviedo, Spain; the University of Bologna, Italy; Central European University (Vienna); University of Hull and University of York, UK; University of Lódź, Poland; and University of Utrecht, The Netherlands. In addition, the exchange program provides students the opportunity to take advantage of non-academic opportunities outside of the classroom, such as working with local grassroots organizations and NGOs in European cities, to enhance their academic learning in the classroom. Engaging in this exchange allows WGS MA students to enhance the academic work they complete locally at Rutgers University in New Brunswick with new ways of understanding the complexities of how feminism may be manifested in different locales globally, in fulfillment of Rutgers University’s motto: “Jersey roots, global reach.”

In Spring 2019, WGS MA student Mariel DiDato chose to study at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands.

Mariel states that "participating in the GEMMA program has been the highlight of my educational experience thus far. With support from the Women’s and Gender Studies department, I was able to live in Utrecht, the Netherlands for 5 months and complete my degree requirement for two elective courses.

Through the courses I took at Utrecht University, I learned about my field not just through a new academic perspective, but also through a new global perspective. I studied new techniques of research and writing that I hadn’t previously had access to, surrounded by both Dutch students and other international students as well.

Additionally, my learning surpassed that of just the classroom. I was able to see a different way of life firsthand by being immersed in Dutch society and culture. As someone with an interest in policy, I was also able to see the ways in which different types of legislative systems and infrastructure design have benefits for Dutch citizens. I had affordable healthcare, the food was generally less processed and healthier, and instead of sitting in traffic in a car I largely relied on biking and public transportation to take me where I needed to go.

I lived in an on-campus apartment with other international students, and we were all able to bond quickly being in a new place to live and study. I made great friends that I still keep in contact with, and plan on seeing again in the future. Being so close to other countries, I also took the opportunity to travel and see so many new places and meet new people!GEMMA IMG 7189 1

In short, I recommend the GEMMA program for any student that is looking to widen their academic perspective and gain lifelong memories of a wonderful adventure abroad. I am so grateful to Rutgers and the Women’s and Gender Studies Department for providing me with this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and highly encourage other students to take advantage of this program."

 Jenny K., Camilla P. & Mariel D.  

Below is the Cambridgelaan apartment complex where Mariel stayed for student housing.

                                                  GEMMA GEMMA IMG 7075 1

                                                                                                            This is just one of many canals in Utrecht’s city center.

To learn more about the WGS GEMMA European Exchange Program click here


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