Mats Vermeeren,
BMS Phase I student,
BSc Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium

After doing my Bachelor's in the relatively small mathematics department at the KU Leuven in Belgium, it seemed like a good idea to go abroad to get some new perspectives. I decided on the BMS mainly because of the massive amount of options it provides. Students are free to roam the three universities to find the courses and people that suit them best. Together with the BMS Friday colloquia, the wide range of available courses has really opened my eyes to the vastness of the mathematical landscape.

Of course this freedom has a flip side. You can sometimes get lost among the seemingly infinite options you have to compose your program of study. But when that happens you have your mentor and the amazingly efficient One-Stop Office who will gladly guide you through.

Another reason I chose the BMS is its internationality. Even in a multicultural city like Berlin, the diversity of nationalities in the BMS is astonishing. So it is not only on a mathematical level that I found new perspectives, but also on a cultural one.

A second thing that makes the BMS students a very interesting group is their attitude. Most of them are extremely motivated, which creates an inspiring and productive atmosphere. In this way, it is the students who turn a setting with a lot of opportunities into the perfect place to study. In my experience, learning is about motivation and inspiration. It is about being encouraged to think and investigate. This is put into practice very well at the BMS, where the sources of this inspiration vary from random conversations in the BMS lounge, to fascinating talks at BMS Fridays or during the annual Student Conference.

In short, I love the BMS because of three i's: inspiration, internationality and infinite possibilities.

published in October 2013

Update 2015: Mats did his Qualifying Exam in July 2014 and is now a Phase II student. He is doing research as a doctoral student in the SFB Transregio 109 'Discretization in Geometry and Dynamics'.