UCIS helps to facilitate relationships with our alumni in order to extend the Utrecht University community beyond the classroom and to assist students with their career and professional development.
Alumni from various professions in society, business, politics or academia are regularly invited to meet our students to discuss their work experience and to answer questions. UCIS also invites their alumni to social and networking events and workshops. By doing this our alumni stay connected, get involved and keep informed about the UCIS community.
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In my current job as Programme leader of Human Security and Disarmament at PAX, an international peace organisation, I have several tasks. I give guest lectures, manage several security programs in, for example, South Sudan and Libya, advise policy makers on the protection of civilians and do research on military interaction, security and disarmament, and civilian control of non-state military actors.
There are often substantial gaps between the realities in a conflict context and the international insights. My challenge is to continuously relate my efforts to people in conflict rather than deluding myself into believing that outdoing each other during international conferences is all that relevant for people in conflict. The Master’s programme has taught me to work in an organised matter, combine several academic disciplines to build an argument and to critically analyse the discourse. This provides me with a deep rather than broad knowledge, which is often of great value and much appreciated by my colleagues."
Europe is a phenomenon that can be best addressed from not only a public administration point of view but also from a law and economic approach. Masaryk University (Brno) offered lectures from this interdisciplinary perspective. Furthermore I find it of added value to focus on classic courses about the EU for instance but also to learn more about the position of Europe as an international actor.
‘To study and live in Central Europe helps you to understand the diversity of Europe even better’
If you are interested in contemporary Europe and want to know more about all its aspects I would definitely recommend European Governance to you. If you have an open mind about foreign cultures and want to explore what it is like to live and study in Central Europe then you will have the time of your life in Brno. The city has a cosy atmosphere which you can compare to the liveliness of a city like Utrecht. Living here gave me the opportunity to study and live in Central Europe and that helps you to understand the diversity of Europe even better.
For me, the master in European Law has opened a very interesting academic field, in which politics, history, and conceptual thinking as well as technical legal issues all come together. Moreover, it has been a chance to learn from other legal cultures because, in this programme, there are students from all over the world. Additional activities such as the Masterclass or the European Law Moot Court, in which I participated, allow for additional challenges.
The main focus of the programme is to develop your academic skills, but also the additional activities can connect you with future employers. There are often guest lectures from experts in the field. The study trip abroad is often used as occasion to find an internship or job in Brussels or Luxembourg. Since European Law covers various legal areas, there is a diversity of jobs for students to look for. For example, they can become a researcher, a trainee in Brussels, or work for their national government.
During the programme, I particularly valued the open debate that is stimulated by teachers and students. During the courses, you will be encouraged both to understand the law and to explore future developments. The relationship with the teachers is rather informal. In my experience, teachers are very willing to receive input about the structure of the courses, which makes you feel involved in the programme. Finally, the students form a close-knit group."
During my Master’s I learnt to investigate the EU’s functioning from a historical point of view, instead of the more analytical one that is often applied in political sciences. In discussions with dr. Mathieu Segers – who is one of the most important Dutch academics studying the EU today – we tried to understand the directions the European integration has taken in the past from the historical events that shaped the European states and their mutual relationships. For instance the étatisme of France, the dogma of ‘a European Germany’, and the often underestimated importance of the personal relationship between the political leaders of these two main players in the European arena.
These fruitful lectures yielded me some skills I still apply constantly in my daily work. With history in mind, I understand much better the positions of European governments in, say, negotiations on a new European climate policy. But also the attitude of the member states towards the EU as such, a politically very urgent issue especially in the UK, cannot be grasped at all without a profound knowledge of the history of their accession to the European project in the first place.
At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs we change jobs every couple of years, and I am sure that if I would start working on very different themes, like Development Aid or Human Rights, I would be able to apply even other skills that I gained during this Master’s Programme. It’s warmly recommended to anyone who wants to deepen his or hers understanding of how the world looks like right now."