“I had trouble deciding what I wanted to study. I had found a public administration course in Leiden that really appealed to me, but I was only 17 and didn't want to travel all the way to Leiden. So I looked closer to home and visited NHL Stenden in Leeuwarden. A Public Administration student there noticed I was interested in international relations and said: “Why don't you consider enrolling in European Studies?” And that turned out to be a perfect fit. The combination of the international aspect, the law and policy greatly appealed to me. When I asked “Does this study programme prepare me for working at an embassy?” and the answer was “Yes”, I was completely won over. And the Thorbecke academy has a good reputation, so that was a real plus.”
“The course includes the Europe trip. It’s an in-depth journey past government institutions and lobby offices, for example, and I enjoyed it tremendously. It’s very instructive and fun too. I even organised it myself one year, together with several other students. It involved grant applications one moment, and arranging for speakers the next. And as a student you suddenly find yourself in communication with high-level people like Frans Timmermans’ staff, Euro-MPs. How cool is that?"
Getting an in-depth understanding of the Brussels game
“This study programme also includes time abroad. I went to the States for a while and did my internship in Brussels, where I also lived for a short time. America taught me to look at Europe through a different lens. How do they, in the land of unlimited opportunities, perceive us Europeans? In Brussels, I did my internship at the Permanent Representation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the European Union. It’s like an embassy, but you do not represent your country to another country, but to an international institution. It was a unique opportunity, in the heart of Europe. I worked in the communications department and was allowed to go along to European councils, support spokespersons and meet several ministers. I really got to know the political game of Brussels.”
Regional and international
“Many people think that this study programme enables you to work only or mainly internationally, but I have noticed that there are also very good opportunities here in the Netherlands. European policy is reflected in many sectors. Like agriculture, for instance. Or how about subsidy processes in municipalities? European Studies is very versatile, and I think that’s great!”