Saskia Veenstra

Portrait Saskia Veenstra
The thing I liked the most about this Master's programme is the way in which it challenged you to actually make a connection between theoretical perspectives and practical examples.
Name
Saskia Veenstra
Programme
Cultural Geography and Tourism
Study start date
Previous education
Bachelor Public Administration at Radboud University

Student Saskia Veenstra is following the Master's programme Human Geography: Cultural Geography and Tourism.

'The thing I liked the most about this Master's programme is the way in which it challenged you to actually make a connection between theoretical perspectives and practical examples. So you don't just learn abstract theories, but you learn to recognise these views in everyday life and in public spaces. For example, for one course we went to Berlin and we had to apply theoretical views to what we saw in the streets of Berlin. This was a very fun way to take a different look at the city of Berlin.
The thing I liked the most about my specific specialisation of Cultural Geography and Tourism is that you are looking at tourism from a different perspective. Everyone has been a tourist at some point in their lives, so it is really interesting to also see the other side and investigate what impact tourism has on society.

The way of teaching in this Master's programme differed quite a lot from what I was used to in my Bachelor's programme. The classes are really small and the teacher's motivate and push the students to actively engage in discussions. In some classes you also had to give a lecture of your own, which challenged you to really dive into the literature and look for suitable practical examples. The specialisation of Cultural Geography and Tourism is a really small programme, so you establish a close connection with your fellow students. It was really fun to follow courses in Wageningen with this group and the small scale made it really easy to ask questions whenever you were struggling with something.

For me, the Master's programme was quite challenging, mainly because I did not have a Geograhpy background. I was sometimes struggling with finding the correct geographical approach to a certain issue. However, I got a lot of help from the teachers and they were always willing to explain some theories and perspectives. Also my thesis supervisor helped me out quite a lot with finding a subject for my thesis. In the end I found a subject which related to my Master's programme as well as to my background in public administration. I was very happy that I could apply the things I learned in my Bachelor's programme to my Master thesis.

I wrote my thesis about sustainable tourism in the Dutch Hanseatic cities and I did an internship at MarketingOost for this. MarketingOost is a regional marketing and destination organisation. The organisation was looking for a way to implement more environmentally sustainable tourism in the Hanseatic cities, so my thesis was very interesting for them. I looked into theoretical perspectives on sustainable tourism and conducted many interviews with policymakers of the Hanseatic cities. In the end, the internship organisation was really happy with my report and gave me the opportunity to present it for the civil servants of the Hanseatic cities.
Three weeks after my internship started I had to work from home due to the Coronavirus. This made it sometimes quite challenging to motivate myself to work on my thesis, however my internship was very helpful and also provided several online drinks. Even though, it may be challenging in these current times to do an internship, I can really recommend it. With the internship organisation you can really connect your thesis subject to a practical problem and therefore write a very relevant thesis.

I am currently finishing my thesis and I started looking for a job. I would love to find a job in the field of tourism, might it be at a local government organisation, a consultancy agency or at a tour operator. However, in times of the Coronacrisis it is more difficult now to find a job in tourism.
I do think that this Master's degree is still very important. Before the Coronacrisis, the tourism sector was one of the fastest growing industries. People will always travel to new places and go on holiday, so when everything starts going back to normal, tourism will definitely be a big part of everyone's life again. And I think it is now even more important to think about how to redesign tourism and make tourism more sustainable for society and for the environment.'