Thijs Joores is one of our Literary Studies students
"When I had to decide on a degree, I was hesitating between Literary Studies and Architecture. In the end I opted for Literary Studies because of a gut feeling. Culture is what makes my heart beat faster, and I’ve always been an avid reader. Literature is endlessly fascinating to me, and I was absolutely determined to learn more about it.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that this degree has given me a different perspective on the world. As part of your study programme, you will critically assess many texts. This critical eye will enable you to give meaning to the world around you, and to see it through the prism of literature.
It’s true that you will spend a lot of time reading all these texts, so it’s vital that you really enjoy reading. In other words, Literary Studies is not a “fun” degree programme. Thankfully, you’ll be part of a motivating environment, with knowledgeable lecturers and students who all share a passion for books. Please note, though, that this degree is not some kind of fancy book club. It also involves plenty of theoretical stuff written by great thinkers.
So far, my favourite course has been the one on migration and diaspora in literature. The books and theoretical texts on the syllabus gave rise to a lot of heated debates and ambitious essays by everyone. The course kept drawing parallels to our current society, which only goes to prove the relevance of our field of study. We literary scholars have a lot of interesting things to say about the world.
My main tip for prospective students would be to allow themselves to be surprised! You will be reading a lot, from famous classics to experimental newcomers, and everything in between. Be open to everything and you will be guaranteed to find something fascinating. There is a lot of room for experimentation and ambition, so make the most of it!"
Graduate Christine Lemaire is a communications and PR team leader
"In the first few years following my Master’s degree I did quite a few different types of work. It turned out that a cum laude degree (obtained with a year’s studying time to spare) and a research work placement were not enough to help me find a relevant job. What I needed was actual work experience. Experiencing many different companies and organisations of varying sizes from within was a very educational experience. In each position I held, I was eventually given additional tasks that were not in my job description, because I turned out to be more competent than the job I was hired to do required. In addition to those jobs, I gained experience by volunteering to translate books and editing things for the Internet.
In the end, my current employer granted me the opportunity to start working as an editor. I then became the editor-in-chief, and now I’m a Communications & PR team leader with a Christian trade union, where I am responsible for the Communications department. On top of that, I regularly contribute articles as well.
I’ve noticed that in my current job, I particularly benefit from the critical eye on texts the programme gave me. The angle and order in which you present information affect the entire message. Similarly, it is vital that you convey the right message through the images you use. As far as this is concerned, I am greatly benefitting from the elective courses I took at the Gender Studies department. It goes without saying that subjects such as politics, emancipation and power are highly relevant to a trade union."