“The classes were like prolonged conversations in which everyone participated”

After graduating from University College Utrecht in 2013, Jikkie Verlare continued her studies with a Master’s programme  in London and Beijing before landing in The Hague, where she currently works as staff advisor for the Ministry of Defense. She took a moment to share her experiences at the University College and thereafter.

jikkie verlare

“I can honestly say I have never had an educational experience reaching the same quality as at University College Utrecht, either before or after”, Jikkie says.

That is quite a statement from someone who took a Master of Science Double Degree in International Affairs at the London School of Economics and Peking University. But the former University College Utrecht International Relations major student has her well-thought-out reasons at hand.

“The small class size and passionate teachers made sure that I was engaged throughout all of our seminars. I’m calling the classes seminars, because especially the higher level courses were more like a prolonged conversation in which everyone participated, contributing to new insights and perspectives. University College Utrecht taught me hard work and discipline. But above all, the College taught me the value of studying together with truly motivated and ambitious students from all over the world.”

Next to the academic life, the three years on campus gave Jikkie dear memories of social activities as well.

“I think my best memory from University College Utrecht is the time when we as the DramaCo [students’ theatre club] board organised a campus-wide game of Cluedo for the new students during the Introweek. It took us weeks to put the game together, but in the end it was so much fun to do. And it turned out to be a huge success;over a hundred first-year students participated.”

How about your present work? What do you like most about it?

“My position as staff advisor for the Royal Military police is incredibly dynamic. No two days are the same. I love how mornings of crunching policy papers are followed by afternoons filled with interviews or official visits to military barracks. If anything, my job takes me to places I would otherwise never see: ‘backstage’ at Schiphol, to European Union working group meetings or brainstorm sessions with the National Police.”

That sounds like quite a bit indeed. Lastly, do you have any good advice for University College Utrecht students?

“Don’t be scared to try something new. Go into town once a while, and remember, those summaries you are sweating over have probably already been made by students who took the class last semester…”