Tijdens je studie

Development Studies
ISS students sitting on central staircase - 2023

Most ISS students have never been to the Netherlands before. Others may only have limited knowledge of the life in this country. We are aware that some of you may feel a bit lost at the beginning of your stay here. In order to help you adapt quickly to life in the Netherlands, at the beginning of each academic year we organize a special introduction programme.

 

Testimonials

Gabriela Anderson

Gabriela Anderson - Governance of Migration and Diversity (GMD) Track

The specialized courses ISS has to offer and the diverse backgrounds of both the staff and your fellow peers is why I choose ISS
Gabriela Anderson
The specialized courses ISS has to offer and the diverse backgrounds of both the staff and your fellow peers is why I choose ISS

Name: Gabriela Anderson - South Africa

Education: Governance of Migration and Diversity (GMD) Track

Your background/experience:

I often advocate that experience should not be weighed in terms of the formal and institutional definition. Personally, my background sounds all over the place from starting off as a visual arts student at a specialized creative arts high school all the way to a volunteer for an organization that uses geospatial tools to map rural areas in Tanzania in order to help girls escape Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Recently, I both lived in and volunteered at a shelter for street children in Nepal as a support officer and I have worked as an English and Mathematics instructor in an organization that provides alternative learning methods. I even competed as a national figure skater and have been a coach in the sport too.

What major are you in and why did you choose this major?

The joke among our ISS batch 2021/2022 was that, in order to really understand the major, ISS had the migration students literally practising migration by always being on the move and travelling between different cities in the Netherlands to take part in different courses related to the Governance of Migration and Diversity (GMD), which happens to be the major title. This was one of the reasons I chose the major. While ISS will always remain home base, attending a variety of courses at different universities really adds another dimension to your learning and understanding of migration as well as your own perspective. Notably, my Bachelor’s degree was also in Development Studies but I really wanted to hone in on a specific area in development, and migration is one of the big, complex ones.

Why did you choose to study at ISS?

Initially, what first drew me towards ISS was the fact that I had the opportunity to study on a fully funded scholarship through the Orange Knowledge Programme (OKP). However, it was more than that. The specialized courses ISS has to offer and the diverse backgrounds of both the staff and your fellow peers is still, to this day, something of awe. Not to mention that you will be studying in The Hague, the capital of justice and peace! That is definitely one way to engage in a theory-meets-practice.

What are your future plans after you have graduated?

Thinking too far into the future often prevents living in the present and cherishing moments like these, and yes, even those stressful Master’s student ones! However, when I picture my future I see one of compassion and hard work in the field of human migration and displacement. I’m still torn between going directly into a career of fieldwork or continuing on with a PhD. There is still so much that we do not know. On the other hand, I feel that we know enough to be seeing a change on the ground, but this is (mostly) not the case. All things considered, working directly with people has always been my passion and something that I thrive in. I hope to look back onto this testimony and be proud of how far I’ve come and reflect on the change, not matter how small, I’ve made.

Would you recommend ISS to your peers in the future?

Of course! My favourite line is that “if you haven’t left with more questions than when you arrived, something’s not right”. If you want a place where independent thought is fostered and no stone is let unturned, then ISS is the place to be, but be prepared to be challenged and to grow immensely as an academic, and a person.

Gabriela Anderson

Robert Okello

Robert Okello - MA - major Social Justice Perspectives

I’m looking to compare experiences from other countries, discover how they have tackled certain challenges and build strategic alliance and partnership to address challenges back home
I’m looking to compare experiences from other countries, discover how they have tackled certain challenges and build strategic alliance and partnership to address challenges back home

Name: Robert Okello - Uganda

Major: Social Justice Perspective (SJP)

Your background/experience:

I'm a community development practitioner with three years of experience in business development and project implementation. I'm also a social innovator working at the intersection of digital development and justice, with technical expertise in fundraising, building collaborations, and stakeholder mapping. I'm driven by creative solutions, evidence-based results, social impact and team work. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Business Statistics and diploma in Law. I'm currently working for Barefootlaw Uganda as the Partnership and Development Officer.

Why did you choose to study at ISS?

I chose ISS because of its global cultural mix and knowledge diversity. The learning environment pushes you out of your comfort zone, and you can critically question your perception and the world around you. As a human right student, you are challenged to unpack the existing social structures, attitudes, and behaviours in your societies and understand how they intersect to create social injustices related to gender, conflicts, and human rights. These provide you with the analytical framework to tackle these social injustices.

What are your future plans?

As a development practitioner working at a community level, I'm interested in advancing my career in international development. I am particularly interested in working at the crossroads of local humanitarian intervention and innovations to leverage change. I plan to expand Barefootlaw Uganda's work within the international space by broadening collaboration within international organizations and working with government agencies.

Would you recommend ISS to your peers?

I consider an experience at ISS a chance for you to reflect on your knowledge. What you know now might completely change as you discover new things. I implore every open-minded and thought-provoking leader to join. You won’t regret it.

Ana Maria Jaramillo Silva

Ana Maria Jaramillo Silva

I strongly recommend ISS to anyone who wants to specialise in Development Studies from a critical perspective of reality
I strongly recommend ISS to anyone who wants to specialise in Development Studies from a critical perspective of reality

Name: Ana Maria Jaramillo Silva - Colombia

Education: MA Mundus Public Policy

Your background/experience:

I have been working as a political scientist on research and analysis of public policies in Human Rights, Transitional Justice and Security.

Why did you choose to study at ISS?

I choose to study at ISS due to my preferences on the Mundus MAPP’s track in Governance and Development. ISS is internationally recognised for its programme in Development, applying critical theories in developments and other related topics. In addition, ISS is part of one of the most important Universities in The Netherlands recognised worldwide for its academic reputation. Finally, ISS is located in a very international and accessible city with a variety of career opportunities.

What are your future plans and would you recommend ISS to your peers?

I am planning to apply for a PhD position and continue with my studies in The Netherlands and I would strongly recommend ISS to anyone who wants to specialise in Development Studies from a critical perspective of reality.

Daniel Robert Soucy

Daniel Robert Soucy - MA - major Social Policy for Development (SPD)

I gained a lot of new perspectives and ideas about my professional and academic goals. It has reinvigorated my passion for academia as a transformational opportunity
Daniel Robert Soucy
I gained a lot of new perspectives and ideas about my professional and academic goals. It has reinvigorated my passion for academia as a transformational opportunity

Name: Daniel Robert Soucy - USA

Major: Social Policy for Development (SPD)

Your background/experience:

I completed my Bachelors in International Relations and Political Science in 2018. During my time at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, I studied Hindi in India and ended up accepting a job working for the Aga Khan Foundation as a William J. Clinton fellow. These experiences, in combination with my university’s primary focus on utilizing academia as means of questioning the hierarchies, hegemonic ideas and policies that shape our world, led me to prioritize working with those individuals who are often viewed without nuance or humanity. Across my development endeavours in India, connections with homeless youth in Philadelphia, refugees in New England and farming communities in rural US society, I saw a need for policy that takes their voices, individuality but also fundamental connections into account. I felt that ISS would prioritize this in both its scholarship and community.

What major are you in and why did you choose this major?

I am in Social Policy for Development. Given my background interests in agriculture and immigration, I originally thought I would want to explore the GMD or AFES majors. However, I noticed that across all my research and work experiences, I was driven by an interest in the variations between the impact of policies and the various justifications for them. I therefore wanted to be in interdisciplinary and intersector spaces that were critically analyzing things like policy, methodology and interpretative frameworks. SPD has given me the chance to learn and apply these skills with students from an extremely wide variety of backgrounds. It has complicated how I think about broader social structures of inclusion, exclusion, marginality and provisioning which I am extremely appreciative of.

Why did you choose to study at ISS?

I was drawn by the institute’s focus on prioritizing voices from the ‘developing’ world. Many other institutions I was looking at were predominantly made up of students from purely academic backgrounds as well as from Western societies. I wanted a more diverse learning environment with practitioners from a variety of NGO, government and academic spaces. In this regard, ISS has far exceeded my expectations. Furthermore, I wanted practical courses that would prepare me to do research and potentially work in new environments outside of the social provisioning sector I worked in in the US and India. Finally, the Hague was a really appealing location for me to live and study!

What are your future plans after you have graduated?

I would love to pursue a PhD but I have always been hesitant regarding the practicality of doing so. I have received a lot of encouragement at ISS so being here has brought this idea back into my long-term vision. However, I would also love to work for international governance bodies like the UN or in foreign diplomacy conducting policy analysis and research.

Daniel Robert Soucy

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