Three years ago, I was about to start my last semester of the master’s program North American Studies in Leiden. At the time I was following one of Professor Damian Pargas’ classes and it came up that I was originally from Middelburg. When the RIAS was looking for an intern, he approached me, asking if this was something I would be interested in. At first I was hesitant, because I had already picked my courses for my last semester. If I would take the internship, I would be doing it as an extracurricular activity while also writing my thesis and working my side job in the weekends. I knew it was going to be a challenge, but I also knew that working at the RIAS would give me some great insight into the academic world. I decided to apply for the internship and my application was accepted.
Since my family still lived in Middelburg, it wasn’t hard for me to find a place to stay and because I was born and raised there, I didn’t have any trouble finding my way around the city either. Nevertheless, that semester was quite a hectic one, but I absolutely didn’t regret doing the internship. I helped organizing and attended some great events during my time there, such as a PhD seminar and the New Diplomatic History Network Conference.
My internship ended during the holidays in December and after three very filled months I decided it was time to see some more of the country I had been studying for quite some time now. I planned a road trip with my American cousin and we spent almost two months travelling through 17 different states.
Some time has passed now and I live in Middelburg again, selling stainless-steel wire rope and parts for the nautical, industrial and architectural sector for a living. People are always surprised when I tell them what I do nowadays, because it is completely different from what I have been studying for. However, my entire life, my parents have been entrepreneurs and later my brother too. I decided I wanted to follow in their footsteps and start my own business. For more information you could visist my website.
Despite my choice of career being so different than what I have been studying for, I have zero regrets about my studies or internship. Both have been incredibly educational and I have truly enjoyed it. Also meeting so many inspiring people has been very valuable for me. I am happy to be living in Middelburg, not only because it is a beautiful city, but also because it means that I sometimes run into my old colleagues of the RIAS.