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Middle East

Read the stories of our alumni specialized in the Middle East here.

Nele Eing

Alumni dreams #226

Nele chose International Studies and the specific region of the Middle East after volunteering in a refugee camp for a year when she graduated high school. During that time she became interested in learning Arabic and understanding the complex issues leading to flight.

While her exchange to Tel Aviv was cancelled due to the pandemic, she is proud that she managed to persevere and eventually graduate cum laude. After the BA, she enrolled in a master of International Relations: Global Conflict in the Modern Era at Leiden University.

Currently Nele is employed as a researcher for the German Police University in Münster where she works on a project on combatting organized crime in Germany. Taking this job position has been a rather natural choice. During her studies Nele had developed an interest in analyzing complex interrelated fields (so-called data death stars), especially in the field of terrorism. Her internship with the North-Rhine Westphalian Ministry of Interior influenced her to further pursue the direction of police work. Now she is working in a very inter-disciplinary project where she can use the love she acquired for researching during her studies.

“One thing I would tell current and prospective students is to not always go for the easiest choice but rather choose the choice you feel the most passionate about. I was very scared of learning Arabic as a language, and it almost deterred me from choosing the region that I was most interested in. Arabic was as difficult as I expected, however, it eventually paid off as I really enjoyed to focus on the Middle East as my region!”

We champion your commitment to pursuing your goals and working towards a safer living environment, Nele!

Quentin Merle

Alumni dreams #229

International Studies appealed to Quentin because of its unique combination of theory, with a specific focus on developing non-European perspectives and offering practical experience through the PRINS project and language learning. 

During his time at the BA, Quentin was also involved in the Leiden MUN foundation. This was a very memorable experience, as it allowed him to apply the knowledge gained in his studies to a practical setting. Apart from his work with Leiden MUN, Quentin was also a part of the Honors College program and followed an individual track of Tackling Global Challenges, which allowed him to take classes in International Law and AI. 

Having studied at three different universities after completing the BA, Quentin can confidently say that International Studies offers a great academic experience. "The international environment, the diversity in assignments, and the unique setting of The Hague allowed me to develop a heightened awareness of different cultures." During his final year of International Studies, he applied to two master degree programs - at Oxford and the London School of Economics. In the end, he made the decision to pursue a 12-month MSc in Contemporary Chinese Studies at Oxford University. 

Currently, he is taking his first career step as a Research and Teaching Assistant at the Center for Security Studies (CSS) at ETH Zurich. While his original plan of pursuing a career in the Swiss Foreign Service did not work out, he took on this research position to open the road to potential PhD studies. In addition to his research and teaching work, he is a GEN A Fellow at Asia Society Switzerland, where he focuses on studying Sino-Swiss/European relations. He also volunteers for a humanitarian organization in his spare time, aiming to bridge the gap between the humanitarian world and the younger generation. 

Great to see that you have found your passion Quentin, and we look forward to following your career steps further! 

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