Lara Severens

Portrait Lara Severens
What I like about Tourism and Culture is that it builds a bridge between theory and practice and gives students the opportunity to actively engage with the professional field.
Lara Severens
Previous education
BA English Language and Culture

Lara Severens is studying Tourism and Culture at Radboud University.

"While pursuing my bachelor’s in English Language and Culture, and taking a few courses at the Arts and Culture department for my minor, I realised that I was mostly interested in the field of cultural studies. However, I did not really know where to go with this, since it is a rather abstract field. What I like about Tourism and Culture is that it builds a bridge between theory and practice and gives students the opportunity to actively engage with the professional field. For example, during the Cultural Heritage course we each picked a different local heritage institution. We examined the organisations’ strengths and challenges and had to come up with possible solutions. Such a hands-on approach is quite different from everything I did in my bachelor’s, so it’s been a nice challenge. Of course, this is still a university programme, so academic research and theory remain the starting points.

Although I studied at Radboud University for my Bachelor’s, there was only one person in this Master’s programme whom I’d met before. This was not a problem at all, however, because the group is really lovely. It’s a nice mix of Dutch and international students from all kinds of different academic backgrounds, so everyone has different perspectives to offer, which works out well for studying a global phenomenon like tourism. Education at the Faculty of Arts is also quite small-scale, so you really get the opportunity to get to know everyone in your programme, and your teachers will also know your name!

It might sound contradictory, but I did not really choose this master’s out of an interest in global tourism. Academically, I am mostly interested in studying culture from a more general perspective. I have also always been fascinated by museums and heritage sites and the way these tell stories of the past and present. Although these elements do feature in the programme, I realised quite quickly into the master’s that this is not a 100% fit for my interests and ambitions - but it is the closest thing I could find, so I decided to pursue it anyway. The fun thing about studying Arts and Culture, however, is that you can often cater assignments to fit your own interests. I am currently writing my thesis about music tourism in Manchester, focussing on the experiences of fans of the British bands The Smiths and Joy Division, who go to this city to make a ‘pilgrimage’ to the birthplace of their favourite music. I am really happy that I still get to pursue my love for music and British pop culture after my bachelor’s.

I would really like to work in the local cultural field in the future, but I know that’s going to be difficult to get in to. That is why I have taken on many extracurricular activities, such as joining associations’ committees, volunteering at cultural institutions and becoming a student assistant. I am also planning on doing an internship next semester. This way, I am obtaining skills that I can use later on in my career, and also learning where my strengths and interests lie. I have figured out that I would love to work as a communications officer at a cultural site, become a city marketeer, or set up educational programmes and events at a museum. My extracurricular activities have made me prolong my Master’s from one year into two, but I personally think gaining this practical experience has been essential. I’m even thinking of doing another Master’s after this one, to further specialise in a field that might fit my interests more closely."