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Alumni event South and Southeast Asian Studies: an inspiring afternoon

On Saturday 11 May 2019, the BA South and Southeast Asian Studies programme held an Alumni Event for former students. All current students and staff were also invited. Several alumni were invited to talk about their study and career during two panel sessions. An inspiring afternoon!

Individual attention and freedom in the programme

A total of 52 people attended the event on a sunny Saterday afternoon. After a short introduction by Professor David Henley about the background and development of the programme, several alumni were invited to talk about their study and career during two panel sessions.

The first session was opened by Anil Kumar, a candidate in the upcoming European elections. In his talk he emphasized the way in which the individual attention he received as a student in the programme, and the freedom which it had offered him to pursue his own interests, had benefited him in his personal development. The same sentiment was expressed by other speakers, including Carolien Stolte, who became interested in South Asia while following courses on Hinduism and Islam during her initial study for a bachelor in history. She remained in the academic world, and is currently back at the Department of History as a University Lecturer. The last speaker before the break was Eduard Roesdi. After studying Arabic for a year, he switched to Indonesian. During his studies he worked part-time at a well-known Indonesian takeaway restaurant in Leiden, Ibu Tjilik, of which he is now the owner.

Working at a Buddhist library in Nepal

After a coffee and tea break, during which alumni and current students got the opportunity to catch up with one another and taste some of the Indonesian snacks made by Roesdi, a second panel session began. In this session Tom Hoogervorst explained how the BA programme became the start of his research career in linguistics, while Yvette van Domburg spoke about how an internship which she followed during her study became the route to a job as programme manager at a department of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency. The session was closed by Casper Luckerhof, currently working for the Volkskrant newspaper, who spoke passionately about his work as an author and journalist, and entertainingly about his past experiences working at a Buddhist library in Lumbini, Nepal. After these six inspiring talks, the day was ended with drinks and delicious snacks from Roesdi's Indonesian takeaway restaurant!

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