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Anneloes van Iwaarden: 'I think writing is one of the most fun things to do.'

Anneloes van Iwaarden works part-time as a communications manager at the Centre for Linguistics (LUCL). She grew up in England, Switzerland and the Netherlands, where she eventually studied international relations. But her passion was always writing.

Around the world

‘Because of my father's job, we moved around a lot when I was young. When I was three years old we moved to England where we lived for six years before moving to Switzerland. I went to an international school and finished the last years in the Netherlands. I enjoyed growing up in different cultures and learning new languages. Later my parents moved to countries that are even further away: Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam. It was a shame that I couldn't join them because I was studying in the Netherlands.

After studying economics for a year, I went to study international relations in Groningen. The study programme used an international approach and offered the opportunity to go abroad. I did an internship at the European Parliament Bureau and went on an exchange to Canada. For my master's I went back to London to attend a study programme that combined my interest in writing with something international: international journalism.’

From Tokio to The Hague

‘After my studies, I participated in an exchange programme in Japan, for recent graduates. I studied the Japanese language in Leiden for six months and after that I did a six-month internship in Japan. My Japanese is a bit rusty now, but I am still fascinated by the language and I recently installed an app to practice kanji (Japanese characters, ed.).

Eventually, I stayed in Japan for another six months and traveled around there. Tokyo really was my city, there is so much to do! At the time I was considering emigrating to Japan, but unfortunately due to health problems that wasn't possible and I moved to The Hague.

I have been living in The Hague for ten years now and it took some getting used to being in one place for so long. The Hague may not be a metropolis like London or Tokyo, but it does have everything: beaches, city, culture. There are many possibilities and it is also international, so it is nice to live there.' 

A jack-of-all-trades in the field of communication

‘Since 2014 I have been working at the Centre for Linguistics a very nice institute to work at and more versatile than I expected. I started as a project manager for Lisa Cheng's research project AThEME. As a project manager, I came into contact mainly with other universities and people involved in the project. I knew most of my colleagues only by sight, but since I started working as a communication manager I am getting to know more and more people. I hope that I can collaborate more with colleagues and look with them at how and where we can communicate.

Given my function, I focus on science communication, which suits me well. I am a real news junkie and interested in politics and international relations on the world stage. Writing is one of the most fun things to do - to be able to translate research and results into a story that shows how diverse and interesting the linguistics are.

During the corona pandemic I looked at where the needs of colleagues lie and started doing more hands-on things like internal communication. You could say that at the moment I am a kind of jack-of-all-trades when it comes to communication.'

Working in times of COVID-19

‘My job is fortunately very suitable for working from home. In the beginning I liked it very much that I could do my own thing, but on the other hand it was also difficult. Because I am at higher risk I was very dependent on others. Fortunately, in May I was able to see my colleagues again - outside and at an appropriate distance of course. Unfortunately, my vacation plans fell through, but I did visit a new place: my workplace at the Reuvensplaats! It looks very nice, so I hope we can start occasionally working from there soon.'

Photos and films

‘Unfortunately I can’t backpack anymore due to illness, but last year I went to the Prado Museum in Madrid for the first time, which was very beautiful. I also really like photo museums like the Foam and I also practice photography myself, but now I don't get around to it much anymore. Fortunately, nowadays you can easily and quickly make beautiful photos with your phone.

In addition, I often watch art-house films and have written reviews about films and exhibitions for a while. One of my favorite directors is the Japanese Hirokazu Kore-eda. I also watch a lot of Japanese films, although I haven't seen the classic Seven Samurai yet.

The future? I'm going to move soon and I would like to start a blog again. For the moment I'm happy that the sport season has started again, I am a real sports lover.'

The Humanities at Home series is the temporary replacement for Humans of Humanities. We will do a portrait of one of our researchers, staff members or students, every other week. What are they, and what do they do? You can find more portraits and information on this page.

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