Anne Berrevoets was a participant on one of our Eyes Wide Opened pilot programmes. Hailing from the Netherlands, she writes here about the pros and cons of studying for an MA abroad…
Currently I am finishing off my MA in Cultural & Creative Industries, and I am starting to see the implications of my choice for an MA in the UK as I am planning my return to the Netherlands. There are advantages and disadvantages of having done an MA abroad, and hopefully this blog will give a little insight into the life of a Dutch girl looking for a job in the Netherlands, with a UK masters degree in her pocket.
As I have started applying for jobs and traineeships back home I have seen clear advantages of living abroad for a year. To employers it signals that you are independent, that you are internationally oriented and speak a second (at least) language. Moreover, I personally think it shows that you are not afraid of new things and are up for a challenge!
When it comes to having a master’s degree from a UK institute, King’s also has a good name in the Netherlands. I think many people have experienced that the name of your university or the company you intern with, can make quite a difference when you are applying for a job! Secondly, King’s has quite a bit of focus on the career-side of your degree. This means that due to great help of the career services and the internship programme, I am now equipped with a solid CV and the skills to write a good and attention gripping cover letter.
However, I have also experienced a downside to my UK adventure. This occurred to me for the first time when making of my Work Net™ during the pilot of EWO. Networking is important (see other posts). However, the great connections I made this year are mostly UK bound. This does not mean that the contacts (and their contacts) cannot ‘travel’ with me to the Netherlands, but it is a little restricting. A great example of this comes from a friend of mine, who is completing her MA in Curating at the Courtuald Institute of Art. During her year she has developed great relationships with various people within the art world in London, some of them quite ‘high-up’. Even though the art world is international, and references from these people will be influential, she has to ‘break in’ anew in the Dutch art scene. After having done her MA and an internship at the Courtauld Gallery, she feels that it is necessary to do an internship with a Dutch museum first for her to find out how the Dutch scene works and where she could find her place. As she is still young, and very talented, and equipped with a great degree, I have no worries she will find her spot. However, I have realised that this is a disadvantage that I had not thought about when making my choice for the UK. I have been quite active in my year here, with my masters, two internships and a job in London – but I will loose some of these contacts when I move back.
I had a great year in London and I would recommend everybody to study/work abroad for a year! Take into account though, that it will be less easy for you to rely on, and contact, the network you have build during your year, but at least you had some practice in building your network!
I would love to hear from anybody else about their year abroad experience in relation to their employability and the search for the ‘ideal’ job, so feel free to comment!
Would be great to hear from anyone else studying abroad or who has in the past – was it a positive or negative experience, how did it impact your job search? What were the financial implications?