Testimonials

Jim Slemmer is a student

Jim Slemmer, student Keltische talen en cultuur

“I did one year of Art History before starting the Celtic Languages and Culture programme; it was in that year that I got my first serious taste of Irish history and culture. After two lectures on Christendom in Ireland, the Book of Kells and the typical Celtic designs in art – I was in love."

"The impression that I got from the website and matching days was that it was a closely knit programme where everyone shared mainly – but not always – the same interests. So I expected a lot of the programme to be like the classes in Ancient Greek and Latin that I took in secondary school. And that proved to be true."

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"We were translating at home, discussing our translations in class and learning new grammar. The classes in history and culture were also what I had expected: in-depth information explained in a clear manner. The combination of learning languages and studying the history and cultures of Wales and Ireland paints an extremely accurate picture of the kind of society that people had there. Everything becomes much more real if you are able to read it in the original language.

Before, I was afraid that it would be hard to build a good relationship with the lecturers and other students, because we wouldn’t have many contact hours, and that I’d mainly be left to fend for myself. Nothing could have been further from the truth! Both students and lecturers are hugely approachable: everyone is always ready and willing to help you with whatever questions you may have. There are WhatsApp groups where everyone regularly asks questions, and if you really get stuck on something, there’s always someone who will offer to meet up sometime to study together or to give some extra lessons. You are never left to fend on your own, which is a great feeling.

Have I ever regretted my choice of studies? Yeah, when it’s ten o’clock in the evening and I’m still struggling to translate a piece of Middle Irish poetry. But I always manage to get through it. It gives a great sense of satisfaction to be able to translate and understand an 800-year-old text – what an amazing feeling that is. This study programme was really the right choice for me: spot on intellectually, socially and emotionally.”

Marieke Peters is a student

Marieke Peters, student Keltische talen en cultuur

“I had no idea what I wanted to do later, so I decided to look for a study programme that really appealed to me and not to be too concerned about the future. I had taken one of those aptitude tests, and all language and culture studies came out at the top of my list."

"Of all those language and culture programmes, Celtic sounded the most interesting to me. So I signed up for this orientation at the open day. Even before the open day had ended I knew I was completely in love with the programme; my choice was made."

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"I was a Student for a Day a total of three times. The lectures that I attended as a Student for a Day were interesting and mentally stimulating, and the lecturers were friendly and passionate about their subject. Normally I’m not very good at making friends and it takes me a while to feel comfortable in a new setting, but I felt right at home in Celtic Languages and Culture.

When it was time to really start on the programme, it was exactly like my experience as a Student for a Day. It was also then that I realised how close everyone is within the programme. That’s because we’re not such a big group, of course. You even form a close bond with the lecturers, which makes the lectures feel somewhat different from ordinary lectures. That makes it really fun to learn something new!

It was during my very first lecture that I knew I had made the right choice of study programme. That first lecture was on Old Irish. It was the most complex language that I had ever encountered. It was quite overwhelming to be thrown right into it, but it was enthralling at the same time, somehow or other. The idea that I would be able to understand this complex language by the end of my first semester was just amazing. This challenge pushed me to study and do my best. I’ve never regretted my choice of study. It really is exactly what I was looking for; I don’t think that any other study programme could make me so happy and motivated.”

Aron Joosten is a student

Aron Joosten, student Keltische talen en cultuur

“When I was almost done with secondary school, I knew I needed to choose something that I liked and that would keep me motivated. I was mainly interested in languages, so a programme in Classical Languages seemed to make sense."

"I wanted to do something I had never done before; when I was a Student for a Day in Celtic Languages and Culture, I was immediately sold. I thought I would be able to do my thing there and that it would be a challenging but very interesting study programme. And that certainly proved true."

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"There was not a single moment of boredom at the programme-specific lectures. One lecture that I really looked forward to was Translating Middle Irish, where we played with different translation methods. That produced all kinds of different sentences. One person translated into Janet and John language, someone else tried to translate into street language and I translated as faithfully as possible. All these methods presented different problems to be solved by the translator.

In the first year, I knew I had made the right choice. I set to work and did my best. In my second year, I wrote an essay about a certain aspect of historical linguistics, and whenever I tried to explain the subject to friends or family, I would see their eyes glaze over. At that instant, I knew it: I was fascinated by a small area of learning that most people were hardly interested in, if at all. I look forward someday to rewriting the topics of my essay to make them as interesting as possible for others, hopefully to share part of my enthusiasm for Celtic with them.”

Julia Knol is a graduate

Julia Knol, was student Keltische talen en cultuur

“I used to want to be all sorts of things. Up to halfway through my last year of secondary school I always wanted to take up criminology. But I found out as a Student for a Day that that wasn’t my cup of tea at all."

"I had always done well in languages in secondary school, so my next step was to find an interesting language programme. I decided on Celtic Languages and Culture at Utrecht University. I had expected the programme to be all about grammar. That was true to a certain extent, but grammar is only part of the story: besides languages, you also learn a lot about Celtic history and culture."

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"As Celtic is a small programme, you really get to know the other students and become a close-knit group.

Initially, I was terrified that the languages would be too difficult and that I couldn’t hack it. The Celtic languages are not easy, but thanks to the small class sizes, lecturers can spend a lot of time explaining things to each student individually. Looking back, learning languages was one of the best parts of the programme. I always looked forward to the new Celtic stories that we’d be reading.

I recall gleefully telling my family about Celtic history at some point; that’s when I realised I’d found my calling in Celtic Languages and Culture. Now that I’ve graduated, I’ll be concentrating on a Research Master’s programme in Ancient, Medieval and Renaissance Studies.”

Jorrit Muller is one of our former Celtic Languages and Culture students

Jorrit Muller, was student Keltische talen en cultuur

"I chose to study Celtic Languages and Culture because of my love of Celtic and Irish folk music. I wanted to learn more about the cultures from which this music emerged, and I have always been interested in ancient and foreign languages too."

"What I personally like about the programme is its combination of culture and language, both of which are studied from different angles, such as archaeology or literature. You are also given plenty of opportunity to tailor your studies to reflect your own specific interests: you could opt to immerse yourself in Celtic literature or, as I did, choose linguistics and discover how languages have developed. There are so many great subjects to choose from that you'll find that you don't actually have enough time to do all of them!"

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"Initially, I was terrified that the languages would be too difficult and that I couldn’t hack it. The Celtic languages are not easy, but thanks to the small class sizes, lecturers can spend a lot of time explaining things to each student individually. Looking back, learning languages was one of the best parts of the programme. I always looked forward to the new Celtic stories that we’d be reading.

I recall gleefully telling my family about Celtic history at some point; that’s when I realised I’d found my calling in Celtic Languages and Culture. Now that I’ve graduated, I’ll be concentrating on a Research Master’s programme in Ancient, Medieval and Renaissance Studies.”

Lucinde Bongers advises at a consultancy for information and records management

Lucinde Bongers is adviseur bij VHIC

"I had always wanted to obtain my doctorate, but changed my mind in the last year of my Bachelor's programme. Given my passion for translation - the Celtic languages in particular - I decided to do the Master's degree programme in Celtic Languages and Culture (unfortunately, this programme no longer exists)."

"I also started to look around for vacancies in the business sector that might tie in with my study. Fortunately, I was able to start a traineeship for the position of junior records manager just several days after getting my Master's degree."

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"I am now an advisor at VHIC, a consultancy that specialises in information and records management. My colleagues and I help organisations to structure their information. However, we also help organisations by offering courses and providing specialist information – and it's this that makes my work so varied and so much fun to do.

People often say it's a shame that I'm not using my degree, but that’s not actually the case. Although it's true that I never speak Old Irish or Middle Welsh any more, I did gain a lot of other useful skills, such as analytical thinking and essay writing. I also find it easy to learn foreign languages. These are all skills that I use each and every day, and the year I spent studying in Ireland means that I now have a great command of the English language too.

The best guarantee of a job is enthusiasm and passion, both of which are only possible if you're doing something you really enjoy."