Marina is a PhD student at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) in The Hague. She works with professional indigenous Mexican women on topics of racism and exclusion in higher education. One of her favorite experiences in the Netherlands was seeing snow for the first time.
‘In 2015, my family and I moved to the Netherlands for my master’s degree in Social Policy for Development. Initially we were staying for only two years, but I was accepted to do a PhD and my scholarship was extended, thus we could stay. We are very happy here.
My research focuses on the intersections of gender, race and class in higher education policies. I work with indigenous women in Mexico from a collaborative approach. We discuss topics of racism and exclusion, and I am exposing their contributions as scholars or activists that I think are important to share. I believe my research is meaningful. Without the scholarships I have had, I would not be able to do this.
"I believe my research is meaningful. Without the scholarships I have had, I would not be able to do this."
A new generation
Coming to The Hague was like coming back to family history. It’s a nice story. Before coming to The Netherlands, I was working in Mexico as a program coordinator at an institute for graduate education. But I wanted to study again. One of my coworkers suggested I consider studying at ISS. It was an interesting suggestion, because ISS is a research center with a very critical approach and a broad network. Moreover, my father did his degree here a long time ago. So this suggestion immediately took me back to my childhood. Both my parents were living in Scheveningen at the time, and the stories they told me about the Netherlands when I was a kid were one of my favorites. They spent a nice time here, so it made an instant click for me to come over.
"My father did his degree here a long time ago - so this suggestion took me back to my childhood."
My PhD will hopefully be finished this year. Afterwards I’d like to continue my work in the Netherlands, raising awareness about gender, diversity, inclusion and inequality.
I’ve had many amazing experiences here so far. From doing the PhD itself, the cultural festivals, the fireworks in Scheveningen, to see the change of seasons and running the Rotterdam marathon with family and friends. But one of my favorite experiences was when I saw snow falling for the first time in my life. I am grateful for the opportunities and the support I have received.’