Betül Boz works as a policy officer of education research at NRO

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"When I began my Bachelor’s degree in English Language and Culture, I had no idea what linguistics entailed or that I would find it as fascinating as I do today! After the completion of my Master’s degree in English Education and Communication, I realised that I missed researching linguistics, and enrolled in this Master's program. Studying linguistics was an enriching addition to my previous Master's degree and continues to benefit me in my current job outside of academia."

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"The program's versatile and interdisciplinary nature proved very stimulating for broadening my linguistic knowledge. It also presented an interesting challenge to combine course topics with my own specific interests. The foundational courses in the first year paved the way for the internship and thesis in the second year.

In my second year, I ended up studying statistical learning of language by measuring brain activity using electroencephalography (EEG). This method was far outside my comfort zone, because it required a lot of programming skills I felt lacking in. However, through my supervisors’ and fellow students’ support, I obtained the confidence to pursue it anyway and acquired many new skills and great friendships along the way!

The Master’s program also fosters an environment that encourages students to work on their research and networking skills outside of the classroom. As a result, I had the opportunity to present my research at international conferences hosted by esteemed universities, including King’s College London. Additionally, I co-authored publications and worked as a project manager for a research project that aligned with my area of interest. These experiences provided me with invaluable hands-on learning opportunities that complemented my academic journey. They equipped me with practical research experience that now enriches my perspective as a policy officer of education research at the Nationaal Regieorgaan Onderwijsonderzoek (NRO)."

Claudia Tagliaferri combined her passion for language and artificial intelligence.

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"During my Bachelor's degree in Modern Literature at La Sapienza Università di Roma, my interest in linguistics grew. After my studies, I worked as an intern at a research institute based in Rome, where I played a key role in implementing chatbots and conversational agents for elderly and frail users. This working experience has shown me the significance of language application in diverse and interdisciplinary fields, particularly in the realms of technology and artificial intelligence."

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"My passion for language and Artificial Intelligence led me to the research Master in Linguistics at Utrecht University. The programme's appeal was its variety and range of courses, offering not only a computational approach to language but also surprising options with a more theoretical and experimental focus. Although my specialisation leaned towards computational linguistics, the area I like the most, the programme also provided me with a high grounding in psycholinguistics and theoretical linguistics. Indeed, this research Master encourages students to explore diverse approaches, allowing them to combine and blend different methodologies based on their individual interests.

The programme not only equipped me with several skills as a researcher, providing a solid foundation for formulating and testing hypotheses, but it also improved my practical skills such as analysing and interpreting data, which are essential for real-world applications beyond academia. This experience has not only shaped me into a different person and researcher but also has prepared me to delve into various environments, within and beyond academia. This programme is extremely challenging and demanding at times, but I would do it a hundred more times!"

Giuseppe Munno works as a communication specialist at a Dutch start-up

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"I completed my Bachelor's studies at the University of Naples l'Orientale, where I graduated in Cultural and Linguistic Mediation. During my time there, I developed a keen interest in English linguistics, culture, and literature. As a second language, I chose Dutch and delved into its linguistic and cultural aspects. It was during a visit to the Netherlands before my graduation that I fell in love with Utrecht and learned about the prestigious Utrecht University."

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"Deciding to enrol in the Research Master in Linguistics was not an obvious choice, as I had always been fascinated by theoretical linguistics but lacked in-depth knowledge of certain disciplines such as semantics and pragmatics. However, as my journey began, I was thrilled by the versatility of the programme. Its interdisciplinary nature motivated me to dive deeper into the various aspects and facets of linguistics. The class comprised a diverse group of international students with different backgrounds and expertise, which proved to be truly stimulating.

Witnessing everyone excel and contribute with their knowledge was inspiring. Coming from a different country, I was pleasantly surprised by the openness and approachability of the teachers, combined with the constant encouragement to think outside the box. This was my first introduction to research, where I discovered that creativity, curiosity, and an open mind are essential values for becoming a successful researcher. The programme instilled these values in us.

Additionally, I appreciated the Master's preparation for the world outside academia. Not everyone, including myself, envisions a career in academia. Currently, I am actively applying for various positions as a language specialist, with my ideal working field being European organisations or governments. I feel well-equipped to join a team or work independently on linguistic issues. In the meantime, I will continue my job as a communication specialist for a Dutch start-up."