What do you like about the programme/specialisation and why? How has the programme/specialisation challenged you (in relation to your previous education)?
What I like about this Master's programme is its great flexibility in giving students the opportunity to engage with their topics of interest. In fact, each course is structured as to offer a broad range of subjects to choose from, permitting maximum involvement and commitment depending on our own preferences. This programme also offers extensive opportunities to develop group working skills, with several group projects and presentations throughout the year. As such, it engages with various topics and allows for personal development while building strong knowledge of policy-driven planning theories and practices.
It can be quite challenging at times, especially considering you already start working on your thesis quite early in the academic year next to the other mandatory courses. At the same time, this offers the opportunity to critically engage with your thesis preparations and to strengthen your skills in the run-up to develop your proposal.
What do you think about the atmosphere in class (for example the relationship between students and with the teachers/researchers)?
I find the atmosphere in class to be particularly motivating given the small class sizes and the great amount of group works. It gives one the opportunity to not only engage with fellow students, but also to have one-on-one discussions with the lecturers. Teachers give insightful advice on how to develop our work, and I especially appreciate the follow-along relations with my supervisor(s) in the thesis process.
What do you find most challenging in your Master’s (specialisation)? Have you encountered any obstacles?
As I mentioned earlier, this programme can be quite intensive at times. I would say the workload gradually builds up after starting the Master's, only to decrease from March on, when the focus is on the thesis. As such, I have found the programme to be quite time-consuming from November to February, but I would not say I encountered significant obstacles really hampering my life as a Master's student.
Are you currently doing an internship? Or what is your thesis about?
I am not doing an internship, even if this opportunity is available for all students. My thesis focuses on a new approach to the European concept of territorial cohesion in its application to railway closures in French rural areas to enhance the understanding and develop new theoretical insights of what territorial cohesion 'does'.
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?
We are facing several challenges across many fields: climate change, a housing crisis, energy shortages, rising (spatial) inequalities, and so on. This asks for hands-on knowledge and great skills, allocated in such a way to limit hazards and accompany society in a seamless transition to a more sustainable, social, and just world. Spatial planners embrace such pluri-disciplinarity and possess the tools to be part of this challenge. Personally, I would like to follow an academic career given my endless curiosity and interest for the field, but this programme offers extensive opportunities to work in different sectors and the actual job market is offering professional positions soon after (and sometimes before) graduating!