What do you like about the Master's programme and why?
When I was searching for a Master's programme in 2018, I knew I wanted to spend my career on issues that truly matter to me. I asked myself: what can I do to create a positive impact? In other words, I was looking for purpose and meaning. When I learned more about the MADS programme during the Radboud Open Day, I immediately knew it was the right fit for me. Luckily, I was right: the programme has deeply inspired me and allowed me to learn more about the topics that I feel most passionate about.
What do you think about the atmosphere in class?
It was very valuable for me to be surrounded by like-minded students who constantly challenged and inspired me. Our shared interests made it easy to bond and I am grateful for the lasting friendships I have made during the programme. Another thing I really enjoyed was the personal contact with the lecturers. Coming from a Bachelors in Psychology, where the average amount of students in one lecture hall is +/- 500 students, I was positively surprised by the amount of personal attention we received from the staff. To me, this made the programme particularly inspiring and educational.
What do you find most challenging in your Master’s? Have you encountered any obstacles?
Coming from a rather different discipline, I had virtually no knowledge of Anthropological theories before I started the pre-master's programme. I was also not used to the critical thinking that is so important in this field. This made the programme challenging for me at times. The working groups, during which you can discuss difficulties with your fellow students, really helped me to get a grip on the material. After finishing the pre-master's programme, I felt confident to start the Master's.
Another challenge I faced during the programme, was choosing a specialisation. During the first semester, we were required to choose one (of three) specialisations. I found this quite hard because I had very little knowledge of each of the topics. I was torn between the specialisations 'living with nature' and 'mobilising change'. Eventually, I opted for the latter. Luckily, I was able to combine my interests in development cooperation and human-nature relationships by writing a thesis about the consequences of an agroforestry project in Indonesia.
What is your thesis about?
My thesis concerned the (un)intended consequences of an agroforestry project in Indonesia for the wellbeing of a village community. I spent two months in Java to conduct fieldwork before I had to return home because of the corona crisis. The fieldwork was definitely the most challenging part of the MADS programme for me since I had never conducted qualitative research before, let alone in a context that was completely new to me. However, it was also by far the most fun and educational part. What I liked most, was the amount of freedom we had in conducting our fieldwork. This allowed me to 'try out' numerous methods and approaches.
What are your plans once you have received your Master's degree?
After graduating from the Master's programme, I started working as a research assistant at the ADS faculty. Currently, I am involved in an impact study in African context in close collaboration with a Zimbabwean University. I am very excited about this opportunity. I hope to develop myself further as a researcher and perhaps, in the future, as a lecturer as well.