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Who we are

Khadijah Nabil

Meet the PPLE community

“Everything is interconnected, so I don’t think it’s relevant anymore to just focus on one field.” PPLE student Khadijah explains the advantages of an interdisciplinary study programme, such as PPLE.

PPLE student Khadijah

From Indonesia to Amsterdam

“I was born and raised in Indonesia and I decided pretty early on in high school that I wanted to study abroad. The education system in Indonesia isn’t that great, so I went to an international school there. After school I wanted to go abroad, partly because I had always been studying in English. It would have been kind of tough to go back again to the Indonesian system, with the Indonesian language and way of thinking. I feel like I think in English, especially when it comes to academic thinking. Since elementary school, I’ve always studied in English. I don’t think I could write essays in Indonesian, for example. Also, I was longing for new experiences. I felt like exploring different cultures. Even though Indonesia is a very diverse country, it’s still Asia. The furthest I’ve gone before this was to the Middle East. Before I moved to Amsterdam, I had never really been to the Western hemisphere, so that was an attractive perspective for me.”

Psychology, Politics, Law and Economics

“At first, I chose to study in Amsterdam mostly because I have family here. My dad wanted someone to look after me. Also, I didn’t really have clear plans for the future. I’m interested in a lot of things, so actually I just wanted to study everything. But when I found out about the study programme in Psychology, Politics, Law and Economics (PPLE) at the UvA, I was really intrigued. It is the perfect programme for me, because it is about politics, but not júst about politics. We learn a bit of everything. I wasn’t ready to choose a specific subject, so I’m glad that I found this programme. When I was deciding about going to the UvA, I definitely looked at the rankings of the university. I don’t think rankings are a very big deal in the Netherlands itself, but in the Indonesian and especially in the Asian culture, we always look at rankings. The rankings of the UvA were quite good, so it made sense to go here. Another important factor was that other universities don’t offer a subject like PPLE. The programme is quite new.”

Everything is interconnected

“PPLE is really interesting. I feel like we’re learning about more than just psychology, politics, economics or law. It is actually about the human condition, it applies to everything in life. I feel like in the future it’s going to be very important for us to know about a lot of stuff and to increase our scope when it comes to politics or anything else. If there is one thing I learned from PPLE is that psychology is connected to law and that law is connected to politics and so on. I think it’s nice to know about all that. Everything is interconnected, so I don’t think it’s relevant anymore to just focus on one field. The interdisciplinary aspect has so many advantages, especially when it comes to the future. Looking at the whole picture instead of just one aspect of it is really beneficial. Right now, I think organizations are often trying to find employees with a broader perspective. So as PPLE-students, I think we might actually have nice job opportunities.”


“In the first year of PPLE, we learned the basics of the four majors: politics, psychology, law and economics. We didn’t really go in depth, but we learned more about the philosophy of each subject. In the second year you have to choose your major. I chose Politics, which will be my main subject until the end of the studies. Besides that, we all still follow some subjects from the other majors. Throughout the studies, we do a lot of research. We choose our own subjects, but with guidance, of course. For example, we had a course about the EU in which we had to write an essay about supranational organisations like the EU. It was up to us what we wrote about, so some people wrote about the EU and migration, some about the financial crisis. I chose to write about the refugee crisis. So in this we had the freedom to choose the subject and the topic, as long as it related to the EU. I like to do research, to find out and read about things that I didn’t know about before.”

International atmosphere

“I think PPLE has one of the most international classrooms of all studies at the UvA. Compared to other majors, we have so many different nationalities. I like the international atmosphere, because I get to learn a lot about different cultures from a lot of different, international perspectives. I wasn’t really exposed to this kind of diversity earlier in my life. I only learned about the Asian way of thinking, so it’s nice to break out of that and see all kinds of different worldviews yourself. People have their own experiences with their own countries, so we learn about each other’s countries' histories and about how everything is still kind of connected. I really like to break out of my bubble. I’m not the kind of person to have really strong opinions, to be honest, so I think I can get influenced easily. That could be a disadvantage, but I see it more as an advantage, because it makes me pretty open minded. I like to have discussions that include contradicting opinions, because it opens up my own perspectives as well.”

Future opportunities

“My moving to Amsterdam and studying at the UvA was actually my first time being physically exposed to Western culture, apart from the things I had seen through Western media, on TV and on the internet. Since I moved here, I’ve travelled to Germany, France and Italy, but I think Amsterdam is still my favourite city in Europe. It’s just so cosy, everything is so close together and reachable. You can just go from one end to the other end of the city without trouble. I could ride a bike back in Indonesia but I didn’t do it, because everything is just so far away. Everybody just uses their cars back there. And to be fair, there aren’t the right facilities. We don’t really have bike lanes, for example. I’ve lived in Amsterdam for two years now and after I finish my studies, I have the opportunity to stay here for another year with my student visa to find a job that would sponsor my work visa. I definitely think I’m going to use that, because why not? Eventually I would want to go back to Indonesia to go into Indonesian politics. Maybe I would want to join the Ministry of Foreign Affairs there. But then again, if I get the opportunity to work at an international organisation like the UN, I think that would also be quite cool. We’ll see, I’m still figuring out my plans for the future.”