Andrea Teftedarija, graduated in Political Science: International Relations in 2007.
After completing my Bachelor’s in Political Science within three years I suffered a number of panic attacks during my Master's, worrying about how and when I’d ever find a job. My worries proved unfounded, because a lecturer asked me to join the new minor in Intelligence Studies. Until that point I’d felt no affinity to the security sector at all, but my interest in that whole sphere began to grow.
After obtaining my Master’s in International Relations and while pursuing a second one in East-European Studies I decided to do an internship in Sarajevo where my research focused on security sector reform, and that’s where I met my future employer.
In April 2008, students from the Netherlands Defence Academy (NLDA) were on a study visit to Bosnia-Herzegovina and I joined them for a few days. Several weeks later I received a call from one of the instructors at the NLDA, asking if I’d be interested in replacing someone who was going on maternity leave. Once I’d completed my second Master’s, things moved fast. Next thing I knew, I was teaching International Relations theory to future officers in Breda.
After this brief but dynamic stint as a lecturer I ended up joining the Dutch Ministry of Defence as a Defence trainee, a two year programme designed to train young graduates to become skilled policy officers. The programme proved to be fascinating and even gave me the opportunity to work in New York City for several months. After the trainee programme I stayed in the field of peace and security, working as a Training and Research Fellow at the International Institute of International Relations 'Clingendael' in The Hague. That a career seems to be a box of chocolate, since you never know what you are going to get, became apparent when I decided to accept a job as coordinator of a group of Members of the European Parliament in Brussels, dealing with environment and climate change issues. New chocolate flavors continue to keep being added as currently I am dealing with asylum, migration and internal security issues in the European Commission.
Looking back on my Political Science studies, I can safely say that I’ve never regretted my choice. The programme is varied enough to offer lots of different options, and to develop your own talents and interests.
When you’re looking for a job or considering new career steps, it’s important to keep all your options open. You can never tell where your career will take you, and in the end, the topic you are working on might prove to be less relevant than your set of skills and competencies. Keep a close eye on those and don't miss any opportunity to keep building and developing them. The bigger the variety of chocolates, the more valuable is your chocolate box!