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Interviews with our alumni

As a graduate of the Faculty of Humanities, there are unlimited possibilities. Do you want to know more about the sectors and jobs Humanities' graduates end up? Click on the name of the alumna/alumnus to read their story!

  • Tulasi Das Out into the world, camera in hand: Tulasi Das became a filmmaker BA History

    Leiden alumna Tulasi Das moved to England to pursue a career in film, was accepted onto the BBC Trainee Scheme and now works in London as a researcher on historical documentaries. 'I still can’t believe I get to do such cool work.'

  • Arne Driessen Non-standard career path: from studying Japanese to making offices greener BA Japan Studies and ResMA Area Studies

    The LinkedIn profile of alumnus Arne Driessen describes him as a ‘serial entrepreneur’. After studying Japanese he ended up working for a translation agency, after which he founded his own online marketing company, which he later sold to enable him to do something different again: making offices more sustainable using mobile plant walls.

  • Carmen Gonsalves ‘As an ambassador you witness history as it unfolds’ BA History

    Carmen Gonsalves has been the Dutch ambassador to Chile since this autumn. She studied history in Leiden. How useful has her degree been and what’s it like to be an ambassador? ‘Diplomacy is fascinating.’ We spoke to her just before the presidential elections.

  • Aisha Hassan Aisha Hassan’s lifelong fascination for developing countries BA International Studies

    Aisha Hassan came to the Netherlands when she was two months old. Her mother had fled Somalia and made a new home here. Aisha doesn't remember much about that time, but her mother’s stories about Somalia ignited a lifelong interest in developing countries. ‘Her stories have always fascinated me.’

  • Akke de Hoog Alumna Akke de Hoog: ‘My work is teaching me how to think in terms of opportunities’ MA Cities, Migration and Global Interdependence

    Akke de Hoog helps asylum seekers whose application has been rejected to plan their future and voluntary return to their country of origin. Her master’s programme taught her about migration and how international politics, the climate and the economy impact different migration flows, as well as migration legislation and policy. ‘The results of these global developments can be observed at local level as they affect the people we coach.’

  • Ward Hoskens A historian in the Pieterskerk: alumnus Ward is junior curator BA History and ResMA History

    Looking for a job after a financial crisis is not easy, but Ward Hoskens (28) managed to take his fate into his own hands. During an internship, he found his way to the Pieterskerk, where he now works as a junior curator. Director Frieke Hurkmans took him on.

  • Dennis Jansen UN Youth Delegate Dennis Jansen: 'We live as if there are ten earths' BA International Studies

    Alumnus Dennis Jansen was recently elected as Youth Delegate at the United Nations. For the next two years, he is committed to the area of Sustainable Development and will discuss this topic with young people.

  • Maurice Kirschbaum Leiden gave me the space to explore different academic worlds BA International Studies

    During his time as a jurist for SOS Jurists, a local legal aid NGO that helps asylum seekers in the Lake Geneva region, Maurice Kirschman realised he did not speak any of the languages of the refugees or could understand the politics of their cases he had to take to court. “I wanted to connect with people in those situations, so I applied.”

  • Boris Kowalski How a region's contradictions shaped Boris Kowalski's career BA International Studies

    Sometimes student life merges rather smoothly into a working adult life. This is the case for Boris Kowalski. At International Studies, he chose Russian as his language and Eurasia as his region of specialisation, he obtained his Master’s degree at Oxford in Russian and Eurasian studies, ended up in Ukraine during the presidential elections and now he works at a think tank in Poland, where he can put into practice everything he has learned. ‘The region’s internal contradictions appeal to me the most.’

  • Lucia Langerak Lucia Langerak: ‘I'm not one to sit on the sidelines’ BA Ancient Near Eastern Studies and MA Classics and Ancient Civilizations

    Lucia Langerak was awarded a Master’s degree in Egyptology with cum laude honours in 2018. Her bachelor’s degree was also with cum laude honours. ‘I’m an exceptional Egyptologist, if only because I’ve never been to Egypt.’ She is now the coordinator of the Access & Support Platform at the University.

  • Minke Lok Alumna Minke Lok: ‘Millions of people hear my work’ BA Chinastudies en MA East Asian Studies

    Alumna Minke Lok (26) programmes many announcements in various languages at almost all major airports in Europe, including at Schiphol. ‘Millions of people around the world hear what I create.’

  • Marte Luesink Researcher Marte Luesink: ‘I’ve always been interested in crisis situations' BA International Studies and MA International Politics

    Alumna Marte Luesink took both a bachelor’s in International Studies and a master’s in International Politics at Leiden University. Very quickly after graduating she was offered a job as researcher at the Leiden Institute of Political Science.

  • Arla Mannersuo Graduated, and then what? 'We want to make sure the network stays alive and well' BA International Studies

    Alumni associations are there for both recent and older alumni to exchange experiences about the field and more. We spoke to Arla Mannersuo, board member of the International Studies Alumni Association, about the benefits of membership and what happens behind the scenes.

  • Romana Osman How Romana became a trainee at the Dutch Embassy in Amman MA International Relations and MA Modern Middle Eastern Studies

    Romana Osman (24) knew one thing for sure: she wanted to work at an embassy in the Middle East. However, finding a position turned out to be rather challenging. But where there’s a will, there’s a way. After an internship at UNICEF, Romana now works as a trainee at the Dutch Embassy in Amman.

  • Rennie Roos ‘My work has more impact in Indonesia’ MA Asian Studies

    While studying Indonesian languages and cultures, Rennie Roos started a company. Today he has been working in Indonesia for more than eight years. Where does his love for this country come from? And how does he look back on his studies? ‘I actually wanted to become a pilot.’

  • Gabriella Sancisi Alumna Gabriella Sancisi: ‘In Leiden I learned what I think is important in life’ BA Italian Language and Culture

    For seven years she worked at Noordeinde Palace, as the Private Secretary of Queen Máxima. Since the summer of 2021, Gabriella Sancisi (1973) has been the Dutch Ambassador in Slovakia, where the Embassy in Bratislava’s historic city centre is now her base.

  • Valika Smeulders How can we tell the story of multivocal the Netherlands? MA Latin American Studies

    At a time when statues of figures from history have an uncertain future Valika Smeulders has just become Head of History at Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum. What changes does she want to make? And how does she look back on her Languages and Cultures of Latin America degree programme in Leiden?

  • Davey Verhoeven From a bold e-mail to a dream internship: take the initiative! BA History and MA Colonial and Global History

    Imagine: you walk into a museum, see something that catches your eye and before you know it, you have an internship. This is what happened to history student Davey Verhoeven, who went on to work on the exhibition about the unique Japanese folding screen by Kawahara Keiga (approx. 1786 – approx. 1860) that is currently on display in the National Museum of Ethnology in Leiden. ‘This was the first time that I was able to put my skills into practice and consider what I wanted to do with my study programme.’

  • Anna Visser In love with translating: alumna Anna became a literary translator BA English Language and Culture and MA Histoy

    A permanent job or start your own company? After her studies in English Language and Culture and History, Anna Visser faced this exact choice and chose the latter. She started working as a freelance translator. How did this go and how did her studies benefit her?

  • Geert Vons ‘Our pirate image scares people off, but that’s exactly what we want’ BA China Studies

    Controversial environmental organisation Sea Shepherd fights illegal fishing all around the world and is not afraid to take direct action. Alumnus Geert Vons is director of Sea Shepherd Netherlands. How does he look back on his degree in Chinese Studies, and what motivates him in his work? ‘If we don’t watch out, the oceans will be empty by 2050.’

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