Meet Our Alumni
How does a PPLE degree prepare you for your future career? Where can the programme take you? Read our interviews with PPLE alumni below, where they are and how they got there!
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Speaking at an international conference in San Francisco
PPLE alumna Anne Craanen won the award for the best thesis at the 2017 graduation. Now enrolled in the Univeristy College of London's programme, she was invited to speak at a conference of the International Feminist Journal of Politics in San Francisco.
How it started
"With my thesis I focussed on the gendered construct around women terrorists in ISIS and how this influences both the legal domain and counter-terrorism studies. I demonstrated this construct through focussing on a recent, legal Dutch case-study of Shurki and Maher, in which Maher was given a four-year prison sentence while Shukri was exonerated. In order to see why, I did a doctrinal analysis and a discourse analysis. Through the combination of the best supervisors in both the doctrinal analysis, Marta Bo and the discourse analysis, Lucy Hall, I showed that Dutch laws do not catch up to either the realities of gender or combat and that counter-terrorism policies are therefore failing to cope with the threat women terrorists pose to the Netherlands, especially with the amount of foreign fighters returning."
What happened next
"After I completed my thesis, Lucy told me about the International Feminist Journal of Politics (IFJP) and that I should apply to present my thesis at this conference in San Francisco. We both thought that the chances of me getting in would be slim, but since I wanted to see if I could get it published in this journal, it would be good to get used to how publishing and presenting articles work. So I applied in May and to my (very happy) surprise I got the chance to present this work in San Francisco in April. It was a great experience and I am handing my article in for publication in June. Furthermore I also made a lot of contacts in the feminist security field, in which potential PhD’s were discussed, so I am really interested to seeing where this goes. I have to say that I owe both the thesis as well as the conference to my supervisor, Lucy, who inspired me enormously and pushed me to be as ambitious as possible."
My advice to you
"So for those of you doing the thesis right now, enjoy the process, because my academic career kind of kick-started with my thesis!"
My Internship at the NL Times
I am an intern for the NL Times. During my internship, I focused on writing news articles, managingsocial media platforms, working on potential subsidies for journalism grants, and gaining first handexperience into the world of journalism. The NL Times is relatively small, which I enjoy as I feel like Iam being heard and I can make a genuine impact within the company.I was always interested in writing. Being social and interacting with others allows me to draw my ownpath and give direction to my work. I view journalism as a two-sided occupation, a dialogue in which Ican tell a story in a new and interesting light. Being a student assistant for PPLE got me acquaintedwith interviewing, writing and editing which is now helping me in my internship.
How I Found My Internship
Finding my internship was quite coincidental. I went to an UvA Alumni networking event I found out about through the UvA’s online channels. At this event they invited guest speakers, one of whom inspired me. After the event I approached him and started a conversation. We were on the same wave length and his company connected with what I wanted to do professionally. He was interested about the PPLE background and my ability for critical thought; fortunately I got an offer on the spot. I got back to him at a later stage, met up at the office, and we worked out the details. Being an Emmy award winning journalist, I was excited to work for my boss, he says he started the company as he felt that as an expat there was no channel for quality, thorough, and diverse Dutch news in English.
Finding Your Internship
Don’t get tunnel vision, don’t have one specific goal and one specific method of getting there. Interact with a range of people, take chances, use opportunities, and instead of saying why, ask, why not? Look around as there is no harm in trying, if you don’t try the answer will always be no, it might not be your ideal position but you can work your way up. The bottom line being, start somewhere.
Doing my LLM at the University of Cambridge
After PPLE, I decided to continue my academic pursuits at Queens’ College at the University of Cambridge with a Master's of Law. Before I joined PPLE, I knew I wanted to go into law, which meant that throughout my time at PPLE, I could research graduate programmes. On top of doing online research, I talked to some of our teachers, who helped me find my path. While at first I wasn’t considering studying at Oxbridge due to the broad nature of their master programmes, I realised during my time at PPLE that although a broad degree is intense, I enjoy pushing myself and wanted to continue challenging myself. Once I decided to go for Oxbridge, I talked to former students from the faculty, staff and people I met at international law conferences.
Arrangements Practical Matters
Once you have found a Master’s that is right for you, I recommend taking a lot of time to prepare for your application. Do research on the degree and know why you want to go to that university and their specific Master’s. Knowing what Master’s you want to do early on, will allow you to build your profile towards it, through extracurricular activities, for example. While keeping your courses as your main focus, you want to branch out and broaden your horizon, allowing you to see if this particular field is for you. Attending summer schools, conferences and volunteering are a few examples of how I did this. Make sure you finish your degree with good grades but don’t forget about the merit of extracurriculars. However, to ensure that you are eligible for a high level master’s, you have to study very hard and try your best in all of your courses.
When it came to housing, I was lucky enough to have the university take care of things. Don’t be intimidated if a degree abroad seems expensive. You can apply for scholarships from the college, university or even through national funds, which is what I did.
For future graduates of PPLE I recommend exploring what your interests are. If you don’t know what you’re interested in, researching graduate programmes can be overwhelming. Once you have found your field, try to make sure your extracurriculars and academic record compliment each other - this makes life a lot easier.
Obtaining Civiel Effect
After getting my PPLE degree I decided to do a premaster or ‘schakeljaar’ in Dutch law. The premaster makes me eligible to do a Masters in Dutch law. The combination of a law masters, the premaster and my PPLE degree awards ‘civiel effect’. Civiel effect is a requirement if you want to practice law in the Netherlands. I knew that after 3 years of PPLE I wanted to continue my academic career and focus my scope. Being Dutch and having done my major in law, the premaster seemed like a perfect opportunity.
Arranging Practical Matters
There are no specific requirements to enter the pre-masters for Dutch masters, other than that you need to have a PPLE degree and a working proficiency of Dutch. Enrollment is easy and PPLE explains in great detail how to apply. When it comes to housing, I have been living at the same place in Amsterdam for about 3 years and will continue living there. I found my room through Facebook. The key is to be persistent when looking for a place in Amsterdam.
I think the premaster civiel effect is a great opportunity for PPLE students who are interested in pursuing a legal career in the Netherlands. If you are hesitating about doing the premaster, I like to think about it in this way. It is a nice short-cut to receiving civiel effect. I view the pre-masters to doing a three-year bachelor in one year. The premaster consists of 8 courses in Dutch law amounting up to 57 credits. We probably have to work until we are 80, so what does an extra year of studying matter, if you gain so much with it? And an extra year of studying is also an extra year of fun in Amsterdam, and who doesn’t love Amsterdam?
Doing my Research Masters at the University of Amsterdam
I am doing my Research Masters in Psychology at the University of Amsterdam. However, in all honesty, I was initially contemplating a gap year. Here I would put my education to the test in the real world, get some real life experience under my belt, and see what the world outside of academia is like. I was not entirely certain where I wanted to continue my studies, with the exception of the Research Masters at the UvA. So I played a bet – let’s try only one application and if it works, I will continue my life in Amsterdam, and if not, I will have to get back among the pesky humans out there!
Advise on Applying to Masters
The number of courses matters, unless you have a lot of extracurricular activities relevant to the programme, such as doing research in the field etc. I would recommend taking part in electives, extra courses and summer schools that will contribute to your masters of choice. The interdisciplinary nature of PPLE is a nice aspect to bring to the table, however, during the application procedure it is a burden that needs to be overcome. Given PPLE’s young character, doing extracurricular activities will help show that you are committed to your field and can add significant value to the programme, on top of your interdisciplinary perspective. Pro tip: do as many methodology courses as possible!
Should it happen that you are not happy with the results of your application procedure, look into the appeals procedure (within reason of course). The general application procedure is quite simple and rudimentary, which led me to discover that the appeal procedure actually works. The appeals system functions well for degrees like PPLE; degrees that produce students that might add value for the programme, but cannot get through the simple algorithms, often used in regular cases!
"The international composition made PPLE very enjoyable both by enriching my social life with people from all sorts of places and allowing me to learn from people with different cultural perspectives."
- Thomas Abma
"I really enjoyed my time at PPLE. The international and small scale environment helped me to look at problems from different angles and think critically. I feel like PPLE has given me a solid basis for the rest of my (academic) career and I am happy to have met so many amazing people during my time here."
- Eva Berger
"After completing the programme, I have learned to address issues from different perspectives and combine those perspectives to create a more interdisciplinary viewpoint. Moreover my time at PPLE has given me the opportunity to go to lots of interesting lectures, benefit from all the great teachers and especially meet great people which I happily call friends for life!”
- Anne Craanen
"The past three years at PPLE have been a real adventure. Studying such a unique program, in the heart of Amsterdam has been incredible. Each new course was challenging and always different, but experiencing it with intersting individuals from different cultures was the best part. Class discussions proved to me over and over again, how my beliefs and arguments are heavily influenced by the environment I grew up in. The diversity which PPLE breeds and how it is used to educte us is one of the main things I will miss about PPLE."
- Michelle Stelea Popov
"PPLE's interdisciplinary approach helped me to understand complicated global issues from multiple perspectives. I enjoyed the personal connection between teachers and students, which helped me grow and will be thoroughly missed."
- Lino Rodiek
"PPLE taught me to think critically and gave me the tools to develop. I enjoyed engaging in meaningful debates with motivated students and applying my knowledge to real world problems."
- Anthony Veryard