What do you like about the programme and why?
What I particularly like about this Master's programme, is the freedom that is offered in the curriculum. Students can choose from a large set of courses. The programme offers specialisation courses to focus on particular aspects of linguistics and/or communication, as well as skills and methods courses to gain various research skills. Besides, you have a lot of freedom in choosing an interesting subject for the term paper, course assignments, lab rotations, and your Master's thesis. I also really like the degree to which I can get hands-on experience doing research during multiple parts of the programme.
What do you think about the atmosphere in class?
In my experience, the teachers are all very approachable and open to discussing matters that are of your interest. The relatively small group sizes during classes have also positively influenced the atmosphere and contact with other students enrolled in the programme. It is nice to alternate between working independently on assignments on the one hand and attending lectures with fellow students several times a week on the other hand.
What do you find most challenging in your Master’s?
Although I really like having so much freedom in choosing courses, topics, and projects for the lab rotations and the Master's thesis, I have also found it to be quite challenging sometimes to find my way in this. This does give me the opportunity to learn how to manage my time properly and to find out what sparks my interest most.
What kind of research are you currently doing?
Next year, I will be starting my second lab rotation concerning the processing of pronouns of address. Many studies have focussed on the speaker's choice for a polite or informal pronoun (respectively 'u' and 'je' in Dutch) when addressing others. Recently, a project was started to study how these pronouns are perceived by the addressee. During this lab rotation, I will particularly study the impact of pronouns of address in Spanish and French and, hopefully, visit France to gain more experience with testing participants myself!
Why do you think is it important that there are people out there with this degree?
Language never fails to fascinate me, and even though everyone uses language all the time, there is so incredibly much still unknown about this topic. In general, people speaking different languages all over the world are perfectly capable of translating abstract thoughts and ideas into words to communicate with others, and I think it is important to keep learning more about the ever-changing subject of language. More specifically about this programme, I experience that the curriculum is very well suited for broadly educating students, letting them make choices according to their personal interests, and gain a great set of research skills along the way to aid them in their future career.
I am not sure yet whether I would like to pursue a career in academics myself, but I am sure that the remainder of this programme will help me to find a interesting job!