Lieve de Coninck graduated in Cultural Anthropology and Non-Western Sociology in 2009
At the time I had just finished my Bachelor’s in Cultural Anthropology at the UvA, about which I was very enthusiastic, I really wanted to finish my initiation into this field by doing my own fieldwork. The Master Cultural Anthropology and Non-Western Sociology offered the best possibilities for these ambitions.
After obtaining my Master I worked in several fields (research, policy, project management) on short term contracts and with various employers in the public and non-profit sector (Gemeente Amsterdam, Rijksinspectie Jeugdzorg, Habitat for Humanity, VluchtelingenWerk).
As I was keen to apply my interpersonal skills as well as take on more responsibility I decided to apply for a temporary job as study advisor and programme coordinator at the UvA. After a few years of thoroughly enjoying this job and learning a lot about the workings of higher education, I realised the coordinating part of the job did not suit me well and I would rather have more interaction with students and less organisational chores. Hence I applied for a teaching and mentoring position for first year social science students. So far I have not regretted this move one second, as I discovered I am fascinated and challenged by teaching, and it is very satisfying to see students evolve. Unexpectedly I can also express creativity in this job, in the development of my own seminars.
Clearly I could not have taught Introduction to Cultural Anthropology or any academic skills class without having studied this myself. It has been a great advantage to have studied at the same University with some of the same people I am working with now. The Master’s programme has really given me proper insight into what it means to be an anthropologist or even more generally, a researcher, which has also helped me in my previous research jobs.
In reflection on what you would like to do in the future and how your Master’s research can possibly contribute, you should ask yourself some questions. Would it be good if it could lead you to a PhD? Would you rather fit into an other type of organisation and what kind of organisation would be interesting for you? Would you like it if it would be relevant to policy makers? Municipalities, the United Nations? Just daydream about this for a bit. Even if none of it ever materialises (don’t worry, other things will), it will help you decide on your topic and type of research question in a way that will make your thesis useful to you after you graduate.