René Kooiker

"Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue." - Rainer Maria Rilke

Author Bio

Hey all! My name is René Kooiker, a twenty-year-old Dutchman (from Bilthoven) and a third-year student at Amherst College. After Dutch secondary school (vwo, focus on science) I took off to study for my bachelor’s in the U.S, planning to do a double major in either math or statistics combined with English. In my sophomore year, I decided to go for just English. I realized that my quantitative background would serve me well in the burgeoning field of digital humanities, where we use technical tools to radically reform the way we study literature. About a week ago (in October 2016), I decided to add the French major. My interests are still enormously broad and I read almost compulsively, from philosophy or popular science to art history or poetry. Besides literature and reading, I love learning about different languages and cultures. I'm currently focused on getting fluent in French, and to that end, I’ll be studying in Paris next Spring! After Amherst, I’d love to study or work in the Netherlands, Belgium or France for a couple of years.

About

Hometown Bilthoven, Netherlands
Lives Amherst, MA, USA
High School Education Nature & Technology track at "Werkplaats Kindergemeenschap" in Bilthoven
Studying BA in English and French
Graduating 2018
Extracurriculars Tutoring Dutch, Guide at Amherst's Museum of Natural History, Translation and Creative Writing
Interests Running, concert going, reading big novels and poetry, philosophy, physics and technology (albeit for laymen)
Future Plans Professor or journalist, but business is also still an option. I'm passionate about language and storytelling, in whatever form.

Posts by René Kooiker

A Shake-Up Over Thanksgiving Break: Thinking About Work & Life

Published: November 26, 2016

This week I’m going to use the blog as an excuse for some more personal reflection, but I think there’s something of value here for anyone who’s in college or thinking about going to college, especially internationally. About two weeks ago, a phone call with a friend snapped me out of my routine. Had I ever thought about applying for an internship at Google, the friend asked. I hadn’t. The friend works there and is doing interesting stuff. Since then I’ve been thinking about it non-stop. That’s why I need to write about it right now. In my first year…

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Nostalgia for the Present – Homecoming at Amherst

Published: November 16, 2016

Last weekend was homecoming. Did I suddenly get homesick and fly back to Holland? No. It means that hundreds of alumni came back to campus to feel nostalgic and act young again. At Amherst, like at any American university, homecoming is a huge deal. Former students in other countries usually don’t even conceive of themselves as alumni of a certain place (Oxbridge or the ENS in Paris is probably an exception). At least there’s nothing on the level of alumni who, sometimes decades after graduation, come back “home” by the hundreds, donning Amherst sweatshirts, hats, and even canes, all in…

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Oh, so you’re not American? – International Student Life at Amherst

Published: November 12, 2016

Amherst College is a pretty exceptional place for international students in the U.S. Amherst gets a lot of international applications (i.e. non-US citizen): 2,106 in 2015, which was a whopping 25% of 8,568 total applicants. Why so many? Probably because Amherst is one of the best liberal arts schools, but more importantly, because it is one of (I believe) only six schools that are need-blind for internationals. (If you don’t know what that is: It means that Amherst doesn’t take your ability to pay the full price into account when deciding to admit you, which a lot of schools, needing…

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Amherst and Its Authors & Literature

Published: October 21, 2016

Today a little something about Amherst’s literary and writing culture, both past and contemporary. Amherst has a bunch of student publications. “Circus” is the student-run literary magazine with student-only submissions. It comes out about twice a semester. “The Common” is a professional literary magazine based at Amherst—our students intern with them quite often. They also hold events here and invite authors to speak on campus. We have a weekly newspaper called “The Amherst Student”. All its content is online so you can check it out if you want to get the latest goings on at Amherst. I actually wrote some reviews for…

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