What do you like about the programme/specialisation and why?
After finishing my MA in conflict studies in Utrecht, I decided I wanted to learn more about my area of specialization, namely activism. The MADS program drew my attention because it offered a specialization course in mobilizing change. MADS allows you to design your program in such a way that you are able to pursue your own interests. I had also studied in Nijmegen before and I wanted to return to my own home turf. Nijmegen is a very warm and inviting city and it really feels like home to me.
What do you find most challenging in your Master’s?
MADS is a useful program because it allows you to develop marketable skills. Even if, like me, you decide not to pursue a career at an NGO or governmental agency, you will finish this masters with a lot of useful new tools in your toolbox. I now know how to identify social and cultural problems and how to come up with a way to study these problems. The program also challenges you to improve your social skills through peer review sessions, interviews with informants, and participant observation. The main thing that I like about this program, however, is the fact that you are turned into an academic that is firmly rooted in the “real world”. Anthropology does not allow us to hole up in our ivory towers as it requires us to go out and explore real life and real people.
Could you tell us something about your fieldwork?
This “real world” does not have to be all the way across the globe. I personally studied the citizenship of underage climate strikers in the Netherlands. I interviewed high schoolers across the country to figure out what drives them, how they shape their activism, and how they frame themselves. I learned about the struggles that young people face when they want to participate in society as we marched the streets of The Hague and Utrecht together. By joining and talking to these young people, I learned how to understand them. I think that any program that fosters understanding in our increasingly polarized world is worthwhile.