Josephine Koelman started at Beyond Meat during her internship

Profile picture Josephine Koelman

"I climbed the so-called 'ladder' up to university. I started my journey doing vocational studies in account management and continued at the university of applied sciences doing International Business and Languages. In the meantime I did an internship in Valencia and took a gap year working abroad in Berlin, which underlines my interest in learning languages and immersing myself within different (intercultural) environments. I’ve always felt the urge to challenge myself, and particularly in times out of my comfort zone, I learned the most."

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"Taking the next step towards academic studies has been very enriching. Pursuing a Master’s degree in Intercultural Communication came naturally as it complemented my bachelors Language and Culture very well, enabling me to dive more into topics such as representation and linguistic - and cultural diversity.

I’ve met a lot of students that have the same interests and backgrounds on an academic and professional level. The courses are well-balanced in terms of practice and theory and encourage using built up expertise, and taking essays and projects to another level. Working on projects that touch on intercultural and interlinguistic situations while being in such environment makes it extra interesting.

I’ve delivered my thesis on the recent representation of Dutch Moroccans in De Telegraaf and I am currently in the last phase of my internship at Beyond Meat. It’s a very interesting company with a mission that resonates with me personally. Being active in over 80 countries, it offers a dynamic environment when it comes to linguistic and cultural diversity. The main focus of my internship has been category management and sales, with a core concentration on European target markets. I’m very excited about the fact that, after finalizing my internship, I can continue working at Beyond Meat full time!"

Adriaan Walpot works as an English teacher at a secondary school

Profile picture Adriaan Walpot

"My thesis research for the bachelor's degree in English language and culture prompted me to study Intercultural Communication. I used surveys to investigate Europeans' accents in English and their attitudes towards them. Both Dutch and French speakers were found to be dissatisfied with their accents in English. I was keen to explore this finding further and I knew this could be done at Intercultural Communication. During my master's thesis, I focused more on respondents' motivation and identity, this time with focus groups. I found this topic so interesting that I am currently writing a paper on it with my thesis supervisor."

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"In addition, I work in a secondary school as an English teacher. In fact, I also took an educational minor and Master's degree. The school contacted me during my undergraduate internship at Nuffic, an organisation dealing with the internationalisation of education in the Netherlands. I did research at Nuffic on how schools offering bilingual education see world citizenship and how they shape it in lessons.

At school, I am now part of a working group in which we make policy to teach students intercultural skills. Here I can apply the knowledge, experience and theory I gained thanks to the Master's programme. Intercultural Communication has given me more insight into diversity in the Netherlands and made me realise that much is needed for successful interaction between people. One lesson of intercultural communication that I consider particularly valuable is not to assume that you know what the other person knows. At the same time, it is important not to make assumptions about others. That's what I liked most about the study, it's about the basis of human coexistence: interacting. The lessons you learn can be taken into all professional fields, including education."

Valentine Guggenberger did an internship abroad

Profile picture Valentine Guggenberger

"After travelling and studying abroad, I wanted to gain more knowledge in the field of intercultural communication. Therefore, I decided to do my Master’s here in the Netherlands and have the full experience, again: study and live abroad. In particular, I was interested in the course Plurilingualism and Mediation, because of the unique approach towards the role of the mediator in dealing with possibly multiple linguistic backgrounds."

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"I had in mind that this Master’s programme would be very internationally orientated, meaning that people from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds would be interested in completing this programme, which turned out to be true and definitely an enrichment for the programme.

Right now, I am working on my thesis and very soon, I will (hopefully) have it submitted. It was such an interesting but also exhausting time, so I am looking forward to have it completed soon and be able to start a new adventure: internship abroad in Ireland.

I had several Eureka moments and I remember one quite vividly. It was in the course Plurilingualism and Mediation and happened during a guest lecture where we talked about intercultural training. The guest lecturer was so enthusiastic about her field and made us reflect on our own experiences in intercultural situations. We had such interesting conversations and it was definitely one out of the many moments where I thought: Wow, I am so enjoying this!

I would definitely say that this master’s programme encourages leaving your comfort zone, going out there and exploring. You are encouraged to be flexible and embrace challenges in intercultural situations, which is quite motivating and, of course, also sometimes daunting. One of your unqiue selling points is that you are able to be open and listen to other people’s views, but also reflect on your own.

After graduation, I am quite interested to work in an international environment in a smaller organization. So, for example, international offices or language school to be able to apply my knowledge gained in the programme."

Daria Boruta researched contact between Polish and local teenagers in Dutch municipalities

Profile picture Daria Boruta

"Before I started my studies in the Netherlands, I studied in Poland. I studied both Dutch Studies and Business Administration at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan. The Master’s programme seemed like the ideal way to use my Dutch language skills and my knowledge of Dutch culture, acquired in Poland, in the context of Dutch-Polish business life. It is a great combination of theory and practice."

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"Its study track is designed to allow students to quickly apply their knowledge to intercultural practice. We were able to use the scientific knowledge we gained in period one in the assignments we carried out within organisations. The theory provided a base for my thesis and the practical things that were expected of me during my internship.

The course taught me to look at things from different cultural perspectives. This helps me to ensure proper communication between different parties despite their cultural differences. Intercultural confrontations inspired me to explore my own cultural identity and background, leading me to write my Master’s thesis on the image of Polish people in the Netherlands. During my internship at the Meertens Institute I researched contact between Polish and local teenagers in Dutch municipalities. These experiences taught me not only about Dutch culture, but about Polish culture in the Netherlands as well. The interviews I did with several Polish and Dutch people during my internship and the stories they told me taught me to understand ‘the Other’ better. Various organisations subsequently asked me to mediate in Dutch-Polish dialogues.

In short, this Master’s gave me the chance to both develop my intercultural communication competences and put them into practice. I hope to further contribute to interculturality in the future."