What do you like about the programme/specialisation and why? How has the programme/specialisation challenged you (in relation to your previous education)?
This Master's programme has provided me with essential skills such as research, analytical and writing skills, but it also created an understanding on conflict in the 21st century, international relations theories, and the global political economy. With this Master's degree, you can go various directions in your professional career. From public to private sector jobs and from human rights and diplomacy to researcher and sanctions analist jobs. In general, this programme really shows the different fields in political science and the different careers you can pursue.
What do you think about the atmosphere in class (for example the relationship between students and with the teachers/researchers)?
Part of the pre-Master's programme took place during COVID-19. Therefore, it was more difficult to grasp the atmosphere in class in the beginning. When we were allowed to go back to the university again, I truly got to meet my fellow students and teachers. The professors are very approachable and especially engaging with guest lecturers I found very inspiring and interesting. Especially the guest lecture by Mart de Kruif, Officer of the Royal Netherlands Army since 1981, I found very intriguing.
What do you find most challenging in your Master’s (specialisation)? Have you encountered any obstacles?
Due to my HBO background, I had to work extra hard for to the research part of the Master's. This was different from the research I did for my prior studies. However, the pre-Master's Political Science really helped me to prepare for the Master's programme. Furthermore, I decided to extent my Master's degree with one year to spread the workload and to be able to conduct a 6-month internship. It would also have been an option to add an extra course instead, but found I more important to gain practical experience.
Are you currently doing an internship? Or what is your thesis about?
I have recently finished my internship at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in South Africa, Pretoria. Over a period of 6 months I got a unique insight in the field of diplomacy, political affairs, and human rights. During this internship, I also learned more about the historical relationship between South Africa and the Netherlands. This inspired me to write my thesis about the politicisation by the indigenous Khoisan people of the Dutch colonial past in South Africa.
Why do you think is it important that there are people out there with this degree? What are your plans once have received your Master's degree?
In general, I think people that have followed this Master's programme are interested in global events, are flexible, and somewhat idealistic. Given the current global events, I think these assets are very important in playing a role in dealing with today's international challenges and threats.
My goal is to pursue a diplomatic career at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in which I work on women's rights. My next step is to apply for the AMID-traineeship. This traineeship combines 4 days working as a young professional with 1 day education on international development cooperation a week.
I would like to wish future IR students all the best during this study programme. I believe if you work hard and find out what really inspires you, you will definitely succeed and get answers on your future career path.