Anneleen Mesker is a recent graduate
"As a BA History student I was very interested in international relations from the beginning. I am very pleased that I could evolve my knowledge and expertise in this field during the MA programme. While the Master has an interdisciplinary approach, the historical perspective is very important in the courses and the assignments, which is what interested me to a great extent."
"During the Master I have been challenged a lot, in the field of planning, academic thinking and academic writing. The first half of the programme is quite challenging, but my fellow students and the passionate teachers helped me to succeed. Because the total amount of students is only, we were a very close group and helped each other out where we could. The group of teachers and students is also very multinational and had all kinds of different backgrounds and disciplines.
In July I started my internship at the Dutch Ministry of Defense, after I completed my thesis successfully. This was a great educational experience, which gave me a great insight in the world of the military and the government in general. It is great that there is room for internships in the programme, since it prepares you for life after university and gives you contacts to start your career after your internship. I definitely hope that this internship will help me find an interesting job in the world of international relations, since this Master has interested me further and has given me skills and knowledge to be prepared."
Mart Teunnissen is Policy advisor Transport & Tourism at VVD
During my studies, I loved to nerd-out on subjects regarding Eastern Europe and the Cold War. This taught me a lot about what drives Eastern European states. This is incredibly helpful in my current position in the European Parliament where I negotiate about Transport and Tourism with people from all over Europe on a daily basis on behalf of the VVD."
"But that is not all. For me, the Master’s programme was mostly helpful in developing the analytical skills that are essential in the politically sensitive environment in which I work. Every day I have to prioritize my work and understand which subjects are important and which are less important. Then it is vital to understand not only what is topical in the Netherlands, but throughout Europe. It is the analytical skill of prioritizing information that is needed to succeed in the ‘Brussels bubble’.
Moreover, I would recommend every student to look beyond the curriculum. Utrecht University provides many extra-curricular activities. Those are not only useful in developing new skills, but also to provide you with a great network. A network in field of jobs, which you probably never heard of before. There are much more positions in the field of international relations other than aiming to become the next minister of foreign affairs or the new secretary general of the United Nations. So do not hesitate to contact the many successful alumni this programme has. This will definitely help to kick-start your career after this great Master’s programme!"
Parker Beemer is a recent graduate
"One of the key selling points that attracted to me to the programme was the interdisciplinary nature of the course. Having completed a highly interdisciplinary Bachelor’s, I was looking for a comparable level of synthesis between the past and the present; theory and policy."
From day one of the programme, I was not disappointed! The faculty have taken considerable effort in designing courses that cover quite comprehensively the various approaches, contexts, and nuances that go into studying international relations at the graduate level. From survey courses on political theory to specialized topics on the environment and the Middle Eastern conflict, my degree had both the breadth and specificity that really grounded my understanding of the modern international world.
Through both my internship and the thesis process, I was able to explore a sector near and dear to my heart: international humanitarianism. The course work leading up to this point in the programme provided some key academic and practical skills that would prove immensely valuable in both of these endeavours. Throughout the process, the faculty proved to exceptionally helpful and guiding, especially considering the distance learning that had to take place due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Perhaps the most rewarding element of the programme is its truly international nature. Being an international student in the Netherlands myself, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that not only was the student body made up of an international group with diverse interests and backgrounds, but so too was the faculty as well. This proved to be exceptionally valuable and really added and extra level of internationalisation to the study of international relations. The smaller size of the programme and its international identity really created a sense of community and tight-knit friendships that ensured both high-calibre academic success and a huge amount of fun in the process!
Rosemarie Jorritsma is Administrative Policy Advisor at the municipal government of The Hague
"During my Bachelor European Studies at a University of Applied Sciences (HBO), I did an internship at the Dutch Embassy in Cyprus. I realised that I wanted to continue on this track of international experience and international focus. I wanted to find a way of connecting the key phrases ‘research’, ‘international’ and ‘human rights’ in my studies. That is why I decided on this Master’s programme."
At first, my ambition was to work at the UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency, but that wish had gradually faded into the background during my studies. My thesis supervisor then advised me to do a traineeship at the municipality of The Hague, so I could figure out what type of position was the right fit for me. A day after graduation, I started there as an Academic Management Trainee. After working as a Project Manager in the field of social employment services (‘sociale werkvoorzieningen’) for a year, I ended up at the department I currently work in: Public Order and Safety. During my time there as a trainee, I organised a large-scale crisis drill. That’s when I realised what type of work is the perfect fit for me: advising the mayor.
For the past two years, I have been working as an Administrative Policy Advisor on public order and safety. I liaise with community organisations, the police, the fire department, the public prosecutor’s department, and municipal services, among others. The most challenging part of my job is to get all different network partners on the same page. Moreover, I find it interesting to approach a subject with the mayor’s administrative interests, as well as public order and safety in mind. The most impressive experience so far was being part of the hosting of the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague in 2014."
Luckily, I am very perceptive and have good governmental sensibilities. These are useful skills that I have been able to expand during my time as a Master’s student. During the Master's programme, it was also often pointed out to me that it is important to ask follow-up questions, to investigate and to view a question from multiple perspectives. This lesson and my knowledge of diplomacy and governmental relations are things I learnt during the Master’s programme that I now use in my work.”
Adriaan Zondag is Training & Research Fellow at Clingendael Institute
"I have always been intrigued by international relations, where developments and changes occur in an apparently inimitable way. To get to the bottom of international developments, movements and trends, it is necessary to understand the historical background of international relations."
During my Master’s programme, I did not only gain a lot of knowledge and insights into the history of international relations, I also learned how every event or development can be seen from a different point of view and I increased my research skills.
I am currently coordinating diplomatic training programmes at Clingendael, the Netherlands Institute of International Relations. At Clingendael, we train national and international professionals by offering courses in, for example, diplomacy, negotiation skills, intercultural communication and security issues. What I like most about my job is that I can put my academic skills into practice by using my knowledge of the subject of international relations, and by getting in touch with people from all over the world. As a result, I am not only building an enormous network, but I also get to understand different perspectives and I broaden my knowledge every day.
My advice to new students is to do an internship. It broadens your network and substantially increases your job opportunities!"