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North America

Read the stories of our alumni specialised in the area of North America here.

Felician Erlenburg

Alumni dreams #216

The reasoning for Felician to pursue International Studies was the goal of enrolling in a program that took a broader viewpoint and offered holistic perspectives on contemporary international issues. He found that the BA really offered this. 

In his third year he wrote a thesis on mindfulness as an ancient practice and how its adoption into American consumer culture, as well as its understanding as a ‘quick-fix’ mental health intervention have changed the practice of mindfulness into a commodity. The thesis was called “From Medicalization to McMindfulness: The Impact of John Kabatt Zinn’s ‘Full Catastrophe Living’ on the American Mindfulness Movement”. 

"International Studies really brought a routine in the practice of writing and researching, as this was a requirement for all courses taken.'' In a way, this allowed Felician to become proficient in the practice of writing essays and critical thinking. 
As the graduation of his study cohort took place in the pandemic, he decided to not enroll into a master and instead pursue other creative interests. He started a band, and also recorded an album. 

The biggest difference between his time at the BA and now, is that he currently in a way wears many different professional hats. He works as a teacher in Dutch elementary schools and gives private instrumental music lessons as well. In addition, he often works as a tour guide, engages in parttime work at festivals in the summer season and changes this up in the off season by being a barista and music programmer. 

Sounds like a very diverse and exciting career journey Felician!

Dagmar Stolte

Alumni dreams #217

For Dagmar Stolte, choosing North America as a region was a strategic choice. It always amazed her how the USA is a part of the West, just like Europe, but yet is so different. Studying the region during the BA really allowed her to delve deeper into the different facets of power and look closer at how power is obtained and maintained.

Dagmar believes there is no single global issue that can be understood and solved by looking at it from one side only – a viewpoint which was really supported throughout the BA. ''It’s important to realize that people make choices that are governed by the societal aspects present in their lives, and to stay mindful of bias when taking on complex questions.''

She had the opportunity to go on exchange in the USA and pursue a minor in Information Design and Corporate Communication during her time at International Studies. She could explore this even further by starting a master Communicatie and Organisatie at Utrecht University. During her master, she also interned at the Ministry of Defense in the International Communications Department. 

Committed to deepen her knowledge, Dagmar decided to enroll in a second master in Beleid, Communicatie en Organisatie at VU Amsterdam – which she will finish in July (2023). 
After that, it will be time to start the job hunt, preferably for a position that lets her work on complex societal puzzles with different stakeholders and social factors. ''I really feel like International Studies students have a special way of understanding people and the world a bit more than others, and in a way, I thereby always carry the knowledge that I obtained through the BA with me.''

Excited to see what you will do next Dagmar!

Stefanie Moerland

Alumni dreams #218

Stefanie started with International Studies due to her interest in North American politics, and the opportunity to learn a language alongside following the other courses. Her thesis discussed native American communities and the social and economic impact of the boarding school process in the USA. In specific, she analysed the social and economic impact of strategies used in boarding school assimilation processes. 

In the third year of her bachelor she went on an exchange to Pitzer college, with classes specifically tailored to American culture and politics. During that time, she lived in Claremont, California. 

After graduating from the BA, Stefanie started a master in International Relations in Leiden with a specialization on global political economy. In between her bachelor and master she explored the world a bit more, taking on an internship at the T.M.C Asser Institute Europe in International Law, and working in Curacao for a social media and marketing company. 

She started her master in 2021, and at the same time landed a job as an assistant in a catch management and global affairs team of The Ocean Cleanup in Rotterdam. ''It’s clear that I want to pursue sustainability in my next career steps, perhaps at the ministry in a department where I can combine my passion for sustainability and International Relations.''

Great to see your efforts towards striving for sustainability Stefanie! 

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