Fleur Kronenberg is a student
"English Language and Culture is a broad programme that offers something for everyone. It’s not all endless grammar lessons or more books than you can possibly read; it’s just about studying the language and country you’re mad about."
"I was pleasantly surprised by the wide variety of courses the programme offers. With so much to choose from, there are bound to be a few courses that don’t appeal as much. Like for me, the linguistics courses, even though literary studies wasn’t really my thing either."
"Luckily, those courses are still manageable with a bit of dedication; it’s just part of the package. English isn’t a programme that will have you in the library 24/7 and that’s what makes it so great.
My advice for you: If you’re not sure which programme to choose, visit each programme as a 'student for a day'. That way, you can get a clear idea of what the programme is like before committing to it for a year straight away."
Marcel Withoos is a junior PR adviser
"While doing my Master’s degree in Intercultural Communication, I participated in the EUROCAMPUS programme as part of the European Master in Intercultural Communication (EMICC) in Coimbra."
"It was an amazing experience: being in an English-speaking environment, with people from 11 different countries, really brought an extra dimension to my Master’s degree."
"But when I got back from Portugal, I had no job and no money for six months. After I wrote my thesis and spent some time worrying about finding a job, I ended up doing a work experience internship at an international PR firm. Jobs weren’t exactly growing on trees at the time, and I didn’t want to take a step back to a job that wasn’t a good fit with my degree. Then, what I’d been hoping for happened: after a three-month internship the firm offered me a job.
Now I work as an Account Executive or junior PR adviser doing interesting and diverse projects. I provide materials and events for new medicine or product launches for companies in the healthcare sector and big consumer brands. I can be writing a press release about a new beer bottle one day and giving interviews about a new medicine the next, all with the goal of getting the press to pick up my stories.
My knowledge of the language and cultures of English-speaking countries and my understanding of intercultural communication are useful in my job. I have to liaise with our offices in Brussels, New York and Geneva, with clients from the United Kingdom, the United States and Romania. My proficiency in English is helpful in this respect: I can judge the other person’s language ability and adjust my own words accordingly. That’s important to building strong relationships with journalists and clients, which is essential in the PR world.
I would advise future students to follow their interests and take courses that appeal to them. You’ll end up unhappy if you get stuck in a job that doesn’t suit you. Can’t find a job? Look for a work experience place instead. It may not be ideal, since you have to work hard for little pay, but it is good for your CV and your network. In my own experience, it landed me a fantastic job."
Isabeau Jensen is a student
"English Language and Culture is my second degree programme. This time, I made the right choice. The first year of the Bachelor’s programme is a perfect combination of communicative and academic skills, linguistics and literature."
"It is so much more than just reading books or studying grammar. It’s a wide-ranging language programme. Also, at Utrecht University you can design your degree exactly as you like from the second year on, choosing from a wide variety of optional subjects, internships and minors which give you the opportunity to prepare for your future career."
"I had always said I never wanted to be a teacher, but now I would like to get my teaching qualification for secondary education. The degree programme introduced me to aspects of the language that I had never noticed before! Besides the good set-up and the wide choice of courses, I really enjoy the small seminar groups because they give you the chance to get to know your professors and lecturers better and to ask for help."
Peggy de Wit-Valke teaches English at a Dutch University of Applied Sciences
"The English I learnt during my Bachelor and Master’s programmes is extremely important in my current position. I am a lecturer in English at Fontys Hogeschool, a Dutch university of applied science."
"I also give guided tours at the Vermeer Centre Delft, the Hermitage and De Nieuwe Kerk, and I do readings at the latter two. I run my own teaching business too, Peggy Valke’s Round Table, offering courses called Tailor-made English, Business English and Poetry Writing. I also do study coaching, translations and give museum lessons."
"When I was a student I had my own translation agency and worked at the Museum Speelklok. I lived in the US for a year, where I worked as an au pair.
After finishing my Master’s degree in English Language and Literature, during which I specialised in Culture Education, I pursued a post-graduate teacher training Master’s programme in English. I completed part of this degree at the University of Sheffield. Doing part of the programme in England really adds value. During the exchange programme I taught Dutch, in English.
I’ve been working at Dutch universities of applied sciences for four years. I previously worked in secondary education and on cultural museum projects. You can definitely do more than teach with a degree in English (or any other language). The diversity in my education has brought me a great deal of pleasure in my current work. My advice to future students is to be open to anything during your Bachelor’s degree. Follow your heart, but don’t be blind to other things. Be a creative thinker!"