By Ennio Mos
As you all know, the Euroculture program is a diverse program with an interdisciplinary curriculum. There are courses about culture, politics, law, history, project management, research methodology etc. This offers many advantages and a wide variety of job opportunities. There are countless examples of Euroculture alumni who work within international relations, cultural management, research, journalism, policy-making, international business, NGOs or academia. This emphasizes that this program prepares its graduates for many different types of jobs. Although the program opens many doors, it might at the same time feel suffocating to have so much choice. There is not a clear future ahead with one specific profession that follows from the program. This article might help you find your path through a multidisciplinary program like Euroculture and convince any type of future employer of the merits of your educational background.
By doing Euroculture you studied at least at two different universities, maybe even three if you selected the research track. Although there are guidelines ensuring that all partner universities offer the same level and type of courses, there are some clear differences in specialisation between the universities. The added value is that you can choose your own path within the study curriculum to make it as useful as possible for your own future working field. Therefore, it is important to think of how the specific partner universities and their curriculum can match your interests when deciding for the second, third and fourth semester. It will help you with finding the career that fits these interests. However, one should realise that many people change their field of work during their careers. And there is nothing wrong with having different interests during the program or afterwards. Nevertheless, it is important to think of which directions you are mostly interested in. With the different projects you organise and papers you write, you can create your portfolio of evidence to show in which topics you are interested in. You can use this during job interviews.
Let’s say you found your interests, you picked the universities that offered curriculums aligned with those and you finished projects and wrote papers about these interests. You might receive the question: “Why was it useful to have so many different courses about other disciplines during your program?” Euroculture teaches about society, politics, and culture in a global context, because these topics are interrelated. You cannot understand the political situation in a country without looking at its society or its culture and idem for the other ways around. Whether you would like to organise the next big music or film festival in Spain, or become a policy-maker in Italy or a politician in The Netherlands or an academic in Poland or a journalist in Kosovo or become anything else, you will have to think of how your understanding of society, culture and politics helps you with these professions. You can show interest in the job and the work you have done related to the job, but creating a link to your entire study program will strengthen your story. See below 5 tips to explain the relevance of Euroculture during a job interview.
Step 1: Explain to yourself which directions within the study program you are mostly interested in.
Example: Think of topics like project management, climate change, economic or social inequality, human rights, migration, feminism, historical developments, violence etc. If you decide to study in Strasbourg you can focus on human rights for example, while if you study in Uppsala you can focus on the political and historical aspects of the Baltic Sea Region and the Balkans. If you struggle with finding your main interests, have a look at the papers you already wrote and presentations you already gave, and see which ones you enjoyed the most.
Step 2: Explain to yourself how these different interests are interrelated.
Example: If you are interested in migration and feminism you could look into to what extent gender influences migration patterns. If you are interested in the influence of violence on society and social inequality you could look into how these two factors influence each other.
Step 3: Explain to yourself how the other disciplines within the study program are interrelated to your main interests.
Example: Project management is for example highly intertwined with cultural developments. However, an understanding of economics and law would be very beneficial in this field of work as well. Another example would be history that you can always link with all your interests.
Step 4: Explain to yourself how your main interests are relevant for the job you apply for.
Example: You are interested in social inequality. List the courses within the program that helped you working with the topic of social inequality and how they will help you working for the place you apply for. This could be a government, international organisation, a thinktank or an NGO in this case. Also, the research methods you learned during the study can be of use for your future job. In Groningen you learn for example to do Historical research but also how to write a policy brief. In Bilbao there is a focus on quantitative research methods and you learn how to apply statistical analyses for research.
Step 5: Explain to yourself how the other disciplines discussed in the study program help you with specific tasks for this job.
Example: How does your background in European history or politics help you working in a cultural organisation. Elaborate on the importance of historical, political and societal knowledge when making policies or organising international events or being a journalist.
In the next link you will find examples of placements that Euroculture alumni got and as you will see the variety is huge. Download Examples Euroculture placements.pdf.
To prepare properly for a job interview many more things need to be taken into account, but these tips to explain the value of your study program might give you a good start when you get the questions: “What did you study?” and “why is it relevant?”. Because you will definitely get these questions and your answer can be a very good one if it is well-prepared. The interdisciplinary-nature of the programme can be used in many ways. On the one side, this programme allows us to apply to many different jobs, but on the other hands you need to think why it was useful for you, in order to give a good answer.
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