“After I graduated, I decided I might as well make use of my Dutch residence permit and stay in the Netherlands. I had had the experience of studying there and thought it would be good to have the experience of working there as well. I'd done my internship with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva but, because of the COVID-19 lockdown, actually spent much of my time working remotely in the Netherlands.”
“I had actually had two internships lined up first, but I was really keen to work for the United Nations. I ended up as a Graphic Design Intern, helping with communications strategies, checking digital trends, scheduling social media, working on communication events, developing toolkits, and making graphical and video content for projects, campaigns, and social media. I loved the work and was able to carry on with the UN while I wrote my thesis, this time working for the UN SDG Action Campaign in Bonn, Germany. It was such a good match that I was able to stay on. I graduated in March 2023 and started officially as the Communications Analyst in April. I was sent on several UN missions representing the UN SDG Action Campaign and co-created several global Sustainable Development Goals advocacy campaigns with 142+ million SDG impacts worldwide.”
“International Business is a very broad programme, and I learnt a lot about organisations, management, marketing and sales, communications, operations and supply chain, and finance. I still apply the same approach to my work as we did to our projects through design-based education (DBE). When we’re organising UN events, we have to think carefully about our strategies – what the events stand for and what we want to achieve. We build on our ideas, design prototypes and keep developing them using each other's feedback. Yet it’s the softer skills that really stand out. Being able to work in a team, lead a team, give and receive feedback, recruit volunteers, understand peoples’ needs and reflect on your own performance.”
The right visa, the right place
“Things might have worked out very differently if I’d studied somewhere else. Not just because I use the hard and soft skills I learned during my degree on a daily basis but because of the visa I had. Moving to Europe from Qatar meant I was within the Schengen area, so it was easier for me to go to Geneva for my internship and move to Germany for my job. The international opportunities and the international environment at NHL Stenden really help you develop your intercultural competencies. I would have missed out on this if I’d studied somewhere else. By the time I graduated, I’d experienced living in six different countries. And thanks to the DBE projects, I’d worked with 12 different organisations – and learnt how to build my network in the process.”
Understanding your role in life
“I realise I’ve changed over the course of my studies. I’m now advocating far more for sustainability, working with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and placing people and the planet before profit. It’s partly thanks to the Mindful Leadership and Inspirational Coach and Leader academic minors I did in Thailand and Bali, and especially the coaches there. They were very deep, inspirational sessions that really explored the essence of life, what makes you happy and what your purpose is. All these thought-provoking questions really changed the way I think. I’m now thankful for each day and believe we need to care for others and make other people and ourselves happy. I’m still very competitive, and I want to achieve the highest I can for myself, but it’s because I think that I can then give back more to the community.”
Find out more about International Business on the programme website.