Dana Alajaji (Bahrain) and Stavroula Manolaki (Greece), alumni, talk about their internships

Isabelle Dielwart, alumna, talks about her studies 

Alumna Jorinde works at UNICEF's Office of Research

Jorinde van de Scheur

"During my Bachelor’s degree in Education and Child Studies, I developed a strong interest in studying child development from an interdisciplinary perspective, focusing on (inter)national social challenges related to child rights, cultural diversity and sustainable development. Therefore, I chose to apply for this unique Master’s programme in Youth, Education and Society. This Master’s has definitely been the right choice for me. The courses taught me relevant skills and knowledge about developing evidence-based interventions and policies to improve youth welfare, both at a national and international level. I specifically valued the practical masterclasses from experts in the professional field, as well as the personal approach towards students and the opportunity to combine my thesis research with my internship at the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport.

I now work for UNICEF at the Office of Research – Innocenti in Florence, Italy. My work mainly focuses on strengthening the use of evidence to inform the work of UNICEF, including through effective knowledge management and monitoring the uptake and impact of UNICEF’s research. My current role definitely builds on the analytical skills and knowledge of youth development research, policy and practice that I developed during my Master’s degree."

- Jorinde van de Scheur, alumna (PID track)

Beata works as an advisor at the Dutch Youth Institute

Beata Schrier

"One of the main things that attracted me to the Master’s in Youth, Education and Society was the emphasis on cultural diversity.  I believe it is important to pay attention to cultural differences in policy making and designing interventions. After my graduation, I started working at the Dutch Youth Institute as an advisor. Part of my work is integrating knowledge about cultural diversity in the existing knowledge base, guidelines and programmes. I do this, for example, for guidelines for professionals on how to work with divorced parents and in the CAP-J:  a classification system that covers all possible domains of problematic youth development. 

The courses I took during my Master’s are all coming together in my current job. My scientific writing and research skills come in very handy, as I am writing reviews on themes such as ‘what works in foster care?’. Improvement of the foster care system is a big topic within my team. The knowledge I gained from courses such as Youth and the law and Prevention 3.0 Perspectives and Design, enables me to make important contributions. These courses helped me to better understand the system of foster care and to get a grip on the whole process of designing and developing interventions."

- Beata Schrier, alumna (YEP track)

Frantzeska studied Youth, Education and Society as an international student at Utrecht University

Frantzeska Papagiannopoulou

"I was born and raised in a small village of the Greek island of Tinos, but last year I decided to follow my dream and move abroad in order to do a Master's. Since I hold a bachelor’s degree in Educational Sciences and Early Childhood Education my goals were to further my career, to enrich my knowledge in the field, and to find new ways to foster children’s development and education. Having already set up an annual children’s festival in my community, the Vegera fest, my vision was also to examine this project through a scientific perspective.

The options for Master's programmes out there were so many, a few key-words and clicks on google were enough to get thousands of results. It was only when I found the Youth Education and Society Master's at Utrecht University that I felt I had found a programme which combined my several aspirations. Indeed, through this Master's my expectations were completely fulfilled, the EFIS track courses gave me a different mindset on cultural diversity and education.

Meeting people from different places around the world and having to work with them in groups made me deal with my prejudices and accept the differences between people. I did my internship at ISOTIS, a collaborative project funded by the European Union that includes 17 partners in 11 countries. The internship really helped me to develop my skills as an academic professional, since I had to implement the academic knowledge from the courses into practice. Lastly, the opportunity to conduct research on the sociocultural end educational value of the children’s festival Vegera (through my thesis and under the supervision of renowned professors) enabled me to keep my own cultural identity while being in a different country. Youth, Education and Society gave me the opportunity to connect my own community and experiences with the academic world, and to combine the practice of my own project with academic knowledge!"

- Frantzeska Pappagiannopoulou, alumna (EFIS track)

Marjolein works as a trainer and project officer at Save the Children

Marjolein Weidema

"I chose this Master’s programme because I wanted to learn more about how problems and issues experienced by children and young people relate to societal issues. I liked the idea that we would study these topics in the context of the Netherlands as well as in international settings. I was interested in an alternative for the clinical approach. In this programme I learnt how important the link between research, policy and practice is. It’s essential to take the social environment of the child into account.

During my Master’s, I got the opportunity to do an internship at Save the Children with the assignment to develop a youth think tank. The project we designed became the basis of a large subsidy application to help young people in poverty to think about and discuss the poverty policy. After finishing my Master’s, I started working as a trainer and project officer on this project, which is called ‘Speaking Minds at Save the Children’. My internship during the Youth Education and Society programme was thus the start of an innovative project, and because its basis is the link between what works in research, practice and policy, it is actually a big success!"

- Marjolein Weidema, alumna (PID track)

Lotte at work at a Refugee camp in Cameroon

Lotte Claessens at work in Cameroon at a Refugee camp

"During my Master’s degree, I learned how to view the development of individual children in relation to their social environment. I wanted to apply my pedagogical knowledge to an international context. I did an internship at War Child, where I developed tools to measure the effectiveness of psychosocial 
interventions for children in post-conflict settings. I carried out the pilot study myself in Northern Uganda.

The combination of learning from professionals in the field and from theoretical courses was incredibly valuable and helped me to develop my own vision on the role of children and youth in development cooperation.

After graduating I was offered a job at the Programme department of War Child to continue my research. After two years, I got an opportunity to enter the humanitarian sector and specialise as a child protection professional. As part of a rapid response team, I travel to emergencies around the world, providing psychosocial support and protection assistance to children affected by disaster or conflict.

Currently, I work at Plan International (in Dutch) where I collaborate with a global team of experts to develop new humanitarian programmes for adolescent girls and boys in humanitarian crisis. This job really brings together all my previous professional experience in research, humanitarian aid and social work, as well as the foundational principles of my Master’s degree."

- Lotte Claessens, alumna (PID track)