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Read the stories of our alumni specialized in Europe here.

Pia Isabel Kurz

Alumni dreams #232

Pia chose International Studies because she was looking for an English-taught program with an international focus. Her thesis focused on the cognitive impact of a type of gender-neutral language in German. She found the research process very interesting, as she designed a small study and collected her own empirical data via a survey. 

In 2021, Pia got the opportunity to publish one of her course works from a thematic seminar on language and cognition she took in her second year of International Studies. She also worked on publishing her BA thesis, which was eventually published at the end of 2023. 

After graduating, Pia decided she would like to stay in the Netherlands and keep studying at Leiden University. Hence, she applied for an MA in International Relations, with a specialization on European Union Studies. She finished the Master in 2023 and took a break during the summer before starting to orientate for internships and job positions. After a while, she found an internship at the German-Dutch Chamber of Commerce (DNHK) in The Hague. In her work she contributes to building bridges between Dutch and German companies and facilitates the cooperation between the two countries. 

Looking back on her bachelor, Pia reckons that meeting interesting people from such diverse backgrounds was her most valuable experience that she took away from International Studies. Interacting with so many different people immensely broadened her horizon, and taught her a lot. 

We look forward to seeing where you go next Pia!

Oona Salonen

Alumni dreams #236

For Oona, it was important to find a diverse and international study program, as she was still unsure what she wanted to specialize in. She was interested in expanding her knowledge on Europe. 
During her time at the bachelor, it was important for Oona to stay active in the community. She did so by taking on some volunteering activities as well as working in various part-time jobs during the 3 years of her study. Some of her volunteering included being an International Studies mentor, working as a social media strategist in the WWF NL Volunteers team, and being a mentor in the Unity in Diversity project. Besides her study and volunteering, Oona also made it a point to work part-time to support herself while also allowing for the opportunity to practice her Dutch language skills.  
After graduating, Oona started a Master of Science in Sustainable Development at the KU Leuven in Belgium. Her choice to focus on a Minor in Sustainable Development during the bachelor really cemented which career path she wanted to follow, and the Master that she ended up pursuing. In addition, she found the structure and interdisciplinary nature of International Studies a real help to build a strong basis upon which to build further. 

In October 2023, Oona started a research internship alongside her Master. She knew that she wanted to pursue the sustainability field, and felt it was important to become more specialized. She is currently in her second year of the Master, and went to Vietnam in September (2023) to conduct fieldwork as part of her studies. After coming back from Vietnam, Oona started a research internship at the Bioengineering Faculty of KU Leuven. This internship is connected to her thesis, which researches food production’s locality and sustainability in Leuven and around Leuven. 
It's sounds like you are on a great path to pursue your passions Oona, good luck with the rest of your studies!



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