Paola Hasbún Lopéz studied Migration, Ethnic Relations and Multiculturalism

Paola Hasbún Lopéz

“Even though I had never been to Utrecht before moving here, I had only heard good things about the city and it lived up to my expectations! It is a lively student city, highly international, extremely beautiful, and you can easily move around by bike. The Dutch people I have met have been very friendly, straightforward and willing to speak in English. What more can you ask for?

Migration, Ethnic Relations and Multiculturalism offered the perfect combination of attributes to study the topics I was interested in: the programme is multidisciplinary, it is focused on developing research skills and it offered me the flexibility to focus on my particular research interests. The teachers in MERM are very accessible, and they are really passionate experts in their field, which makes the studies even more interesting.

My biggest challenges during the programme were the statistics courses – they were always a bit of a struggle for me. However, every semester ended with a Research Practical in which I could apply what I learned in the statistics course and other courses in a research project on a topic of my interest, which was very useful.

The career orientation days were very helpful because listening to former students’ experiences gave me an idea of all the possible jobs and organizations (outside of academia) I could work at after graduation. I felt well prepared to enter the labor market after MERM! I am currently working at an international consultancy firm as a Global Immigration Coordinator. In the future I would like to work for an organization like the UN, doing applied research in the field.”

Simon de Jong studied Migration, Ethnic Relations and Multiculturalism

Simon de Jong

"During my Bachelor's studies, I realised that I really enjoyed doing research. When I told my study advisor this, she suggested that I apply for one of the Research Master’s programmes at Utrecht University. Due to my work at a shelter for undocumented migrants, MERM was one of the obvious choices for me.

As compared to my Bachelor’s programme, my fellow students in the Master’s were much more motivated and interested in the topics of study. The small size of the class also enabled teachers to closely interact with the students and provide them continuous and personal feedback.

The workload of the programme was at times quite high and it was sometimes challenging to find a harmonious combination of my studies, work and social life. However, in the end it all worked out: the workload during the Master's forced me to manage my time effectively – a skill that I have come to value greatly in my current job.

After graduation I continued working as a researcher at Utrecht University. Currently I am involved in a longitudinal qualitative study which examines social welfare and sheltered housing arrangements in several Dutch municipalities. Moreover, I just started working on a mixed method study that examines the potential effects of a dialogue process on prejudicial attitudes towards Jews.

Social research has given me the opportunity to combine my analytical skills and my engagement with vulnerable and stigmatized groups in society, and I enjoy doing it as much as I did during the previous years. All in all, I would highly recommend Migration, Ethnic Relations and Multiculturalism to anyone who also aspires to a career in social research!"

Ece Arat studied Migration, Ethnic Relations and Multiculturalism

Ece Arat

"After finishing my Bachelor’s in Sociology in Istanbul, I was looking for Master’s programmes focusing on migration. The Research Master’s in Migration, Ethnic Relations and Multiculturalism at Utrecht University was my favourite among the ones I looked at, in terms of both its content and its methodology.

I also chose Utrecht because of the city itself, which is both big and cosy. It was a very nice experience to be an international student here. One issue that I did face was that I could not get a lot of help from the university with finding housing, which can be very difficult in Utrecht, but other than that I found the university professional and informed on many problems that international students may face both before starting, and during their studies.

As an advantage of having a small group of students, I found the education quite interactive. Throughout my studies, I learned a lot not only from my professors but also from my fellow students. Especially when the courses got very challenging, knowing that I could always ask for the help from my classmates and professors was a big relief for me.

My thesis focused on the life satisfaction of Turkish and Moroccan minorities in the Netherlands. I specifically analysed how these minorities use their co-ethnic social ties as coping mechanisms against the negative effects discrimination can have on their lives. I really enjoyed the process of writing the thesis, since this gave me the opportunity to do an independent research on a topic that I found very interesting.

My main plan is to pursue an academic career in Social Sciences, so I am starting my PhD in Sociology at Utrecht University very soon!"