After her studies at Vytautas Magnus University's Faculty of Political Science and Diplomacy in Lithuania, Nienke Bos from the Netherlands started to work for the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service, being responsible for conducting thorough interviews with refugees from countries like Syria, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Iraq and more. „By working or studying abroad, you show that you’re strong, independent, determined and most probably very social and approachable, too. VMU taught me all that, including a splash of creativity because of its Liberal Arts way of sharing knowledge“, – says the VMU alumna.
What expectations and goals did you have before starting your studies and becoming a student at VMU? Did you manage to achieve them
When I was starting my Master degree in „Journalism and Media Analysis“ at VMU my aim was to gain thorough know-how concerning written and audiovisual media. Besides a proper amount of theoretical classes, most of the assignments given were highly practical and realistic, too. I learned a lot about providing structure and teasers when writing popular science articles, but I also practiced conducting interviews, drawing up scripts and making documentaries. It was close to how I initially hoped it to be, and an extra benefit was that it all (besides my adventurous bilateral agreement exchange in Tallinn, Estonia) took place in Lithuania’s calm and comfortable student city, Kaunas.
Why did you choose this particular study programme at VMU?
As I had lived in Estonia and Latvia before, I was eager to discover Lithuania too. In my home country, the Netherlands, I studied European Studies. Even though I enjoyed this study programme, I didn’t really see myself working as a lobbyist or a politician in, for example, Brussels. I’m keen on putting observations into words, and that’s how a Master degree in „Journalism and Media Analysis“ at VMU became the last piece of my Baltic puzzle, and foundation of my upcoming career.
What about your professional career? Where did you want to work after your studies and where did life bring you? Where do you work now? What are your daily tasks and responsibilities?
Currently, I work for the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service, being responsible for conducting thorough interviews with refugees from countries like Syria, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Iraq and more. One interview can last up to one entire day. People tell me why they’ve fled, and by applying interview techniques among others taught at VMU, I figure out if the often told harsh stories are consistent. I’m especially trained to interview unaccompanied minors, so I spend most of my days talking to children ranging from fourteen to eighteen years old. It’s always a delight to notice how quick they manage to speak Dutch and how their positive attitude encourages them to form so many ambitious study plans for their near future. Since a short while I’ve been learning how to decide on Syrian and Eritrean asylum cases as well, often resulting in residence permits. It’s a new and welcome challenge to work with asylum law and especially to get accustomed to the highly formal language used within this field. My job is demanding and it requires constant focus. Yet, for me it’s a desirable combination of journalism related interviewing techniques and contact with unique human beings from historically rich cultures. It feels useful to spend my time on people in need of help, especially now hardly any other topics are covered on the radio and on television.
How did VMU and the programme help you to achieve your goals and integrate into the job market?
With some international experiences on your CV, you’re more likely to be noticed by future employers. Your CV will stand out from the rest, especially when you’ve also actively participated in, for example, Erasmus projects (in other schools or elsewhere in society, so surely not solely in bars) in your host country. Moreover, by working or studying abroad, you show that you’re strong, independent, determined and most probably very social and approachable, too. VMU taught me all that, including a splash of creativity because of its Liberal Arts way of sharing knowledge.
What about your free time? Are you engaged in some interesting activities?
Next to my long but fulfilling days at work, I’m challenging myself to go on a holiday at least once a month. I count my trips as holidays whenever there’s a minimum of one night in a hotel or a hostel involved. I’m always hunting for bargains when it comes to accommodation and train tickets, which I know, is almost a Dutch national sport. My hobby is flying hot air balloons, taking pictures with an eye for detail and composition and writing about my adventures high in the sky. I’m satisfied with this some may call an exotic hobby, because of the international group of likeminded friends it brings along, and because the wind always carries me to odd and exciting non-touristy places.
(Provided by Vytautas Magnus University / Study in Lithuania.)