SOS!Editor-In-Chief: Hannah Bieber (2020-2021)

Have you ever wondered what being part of The Euroculturer is like? In this mini-series, former editors-in-chief will reiterate upon their experiences as a Euroculture student and the impact that being part of the Euroculturer has had on their professional career! In this third edition, Hannah Bieber (2019/2021, Uppsala and Göttingen) will tell you all about her experiences!

The Euroculturer Magazine (EM): Out of the universities you have attended, which one did you enjoy the most (and why)?

Hannah Bieber (HB): Uppsala because I had the best two semester I could have possibly wished for. I learned a lot about myself there and I made wonderful friends who made me grow immensely, so I am forever grateful to have chosen this university. Also, Sweden is breath-taking: it has a lot to offer if you like nature and winter wonderland-like landscapes.

EM: What did you do in your third semester? What is the most valuable thing you learned during your research/professional track?

HB: I did a professional track, an internship at EUNIC (European Union National Insitutes for Culture) Brussels. The most valuable thing I learned was definitely how to make international cultural projects happen, from the idea to the implementation. It was a very comprehensive experience which has taught me a lot of useful project management skills.

EM: Why did you decide to become part of The Euroculturer team, and how long were you active?

HB: I’m passionate about writing and I’ve always been interested in the media. So, when I learned there was a student magazine handled by Euroculture students, I immediately applied to join the team. I started as an editor from October 2019 until August 2020, and then became editor in chief until August 2021.

EM: About what did you write your Master thesis?

 HB: My thesis is titled: The impossible homecoming? A Study of the Evolution of the French Government’s Discourses on French ISIS returnees between 2017 and can be placed in the field of Broad field: Counter-terrorism/Counter-extremism studies.

EM: What did you do the year after graduating Euroculture, and could you tell us more about your experiences during this period fresh out of university?

HB: After graduating, I did a short three-months internship at the University of Leiden where I worked as a research assistant for a program a Horizon 2020 project called Drive – Resisting Radicalisation through Social Inclusion. Afterwards, I did a bluebook traineeship at the European Commission in the Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA).

EM: What are you currently doing?

HB: I am currently working at the French Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan. I’m working half-time at the Cultural Action and Cooperation Service and half-time at the Alliance française of Islamabad, where I am course coordinator.

EM: In hindsight, how has your experience of working with The Euroculturer been helpful for your post-graduate career?

HB: It has been extremely useful! I tried to use this experience the best that I could on my CV and in my motivation letters to show my writing, communication, project management and leadership skills. In my job interviews, I always got asked questions about the magazine, what it was and the role that I played in it. I am convinced that this experience was a great asset in my internship/job-hunting processes.

EM: Based on your experiences, why would it be useful for current Euroculture students to become involved in the Euroculturer?

HB: First of all, becoming involved in the Euroculturer gives you the opportunity to meet so many Euroculture students and alumni, which makes you feel like you are part of an amazing community. It also taught me teamwork and how to be creative and organized. On top of that, it was my very first experience in managing a team, which was sometimes challenging, but I feel like I learned a lot from it. In fact, I have always considered my time at the Euroculturer as a true professional experience, even though it was in a university context.

The Euroculturer also gives you the opportunity to try things that you might have been interested in for a long time but which you never got the chance to do – creating content for social media, writing and proofreading articles, organizing events, doing interviews, etc. So it’s a great way of learning more about yourself and what you like/don’t like to do.

And finally, the reason why I would recommend students to get involved with the Euroculturer is because it is first and foremost a media by and for the Euroculture students, who can turn it into whatever they want it to be. It has taken so many shapes and forms over the years depending on the various editors in chief and teams, which is the proof that it is really up to the students to take it in the direction that they want. I can only recommend embarking on that adventure! 


For the full Euroculturer 10th Anniversary Special: Click here!

SOS!Editor-in-Chief: Guilherme Becker (2019-2020)

Have you ever wondered what being part of The Euroculturer is like? In this mini-series, former editors-in-chief will reiterate upon their experiences as a Euroculture student and the impact that being part of the Euroculturer has had on their professional career! In this second edition, Guilherme Becker (2018/2020, Göttingen and Groningen) will tell you about his experiences.

The Euroculturer Magazine (EM): Out of the universities you have attended, which one did you enjoy the most (and why)?

Guilherme Becker (GB): I honestly liked – and could improve my knowledge in – both of them. What I perceive now is how good Göttingen had at that time prepared me in the first semester to go to Groningen, for example. The learnings of both of them have some different paths, I would say, along with their peculiarities and deadlines, but it seemed worthwhile to me having had a very good introduction in Göttingen and then going to a quite different system in Groningen, where I was able to improve especially my theoretical perception.

EM: What did you do in your third semester? What is the most valuable thing you learned during your research/professional track?

GB: I did two different internships. The first one at Deutsche Welle, in Bonn, Germany, from October to December 2019, and the second one at a newspaper called Thüringer Allgemeine, in Erfurt, also in Germany, from January to March 2020 – and then the world went upside down because of the pandemics…

Well, as a journalist, the most valuable thing I learnt was the fact that I could put some experiences into practice and, at the same time, work in a German newsroom – or a German journalistic environment, which is simultaneously quite similar and quite different compared to the experiences I previously had in Brazil. I mean, the fact that I could write my thoughts in German for the first time and, while in Erfurt, witnessing the Thüringen state election of 2020, when moderate parties sealed an alliance with a far-right party for the first time in German history since the Second World War was something intense. You can read what I wrote about it here.

EM: Why did you decide to become part of The Euroculturer team, and how long were you active?

GB: Because I am a journalist and I love writing and editing, and I thought I would be able to help the team in some way, bringing interesting ideas and talking to classmates to write about issues and analysis from their countries, regions, backgrounds, experiences, which in the end I think I could accomplish somehow. I worked as editor from October 2018 until July 2019, when I became editor-in-chief until the end of Euroculture, in August 2020.

EM: About what did you write your Master thesis?

GB: My thesis is titled: Back in Germany: identity and cultural perspectives of German-Brazilians in their ancestors’ land. As the title already tells, I tried to explore the identity and cultural perspectives of Brazilians who hold German citizenship because of their ancestors, based on German citizenship laws. I interviewed five German-Brazilians (qualitatively) who had been living in Germany at least for a year (at that time) and then crossed those information with identity, culture and migration theories. So, basically, these people are doing the reverse way their ancestors once did. Anyway, they immigrated. They are officially Germans, but they are actually Brazilians. They are both. They are Brazilians who live in Germany, but hold the local citizenship. Do they feel completely at home? Are they seen as foreigners? Do they carry the cultural boundaries their ancestors once brought to Brazil? Because regarding papers and documents, they are officially Germans living in Germany. But are they really? Do they feel completely at home or there’s a lack of sense of belonging, identity and culture, in regard to their immigration background? Those are some of the questions I asked and tried to answer after comparing their answers with theories aforementioned.

Continue reading “SOS!Editor-in-Chief: Guilherme Becker (2019-2020)”

The Entry-Level Paradox: Stella Meyer on the pitfalls of post-grad job searching

Interview by Leonie Glaser

Stella Meyer is a German Euroculture alumna from the 2019-2021 cohort, having studied in Uppsala, Göttingen, and Bilbao. In the following article, Stella tells us about her life as a recent Euroculture graduate. Entering the job market, even with a MA, is not that easy.   

I am an inherently indecisive person. On bad days, it takes ages for me to make a simple decision. As simple as do I want to have an apple or a banana for a snack. I know it doesn’t really matter and is an incredibly unimportant question to dwell on. Yet, it is a classic example of me being absolutely lost and unable to make a very basic decision. Now, the prospect of having to actively choose a career path is downright terrifying for me. I am aware that nothing is set in stone and career changes are not only possible, but normal – if not recommended. Yet, it still feels like a pretty big decision to me. Where do I want to go? What do I want to do? Who do I want to be? And then there are the more practical questions concerning work-life balance, salary, benefits, potential career opportunities and so on. As it turns out, indecisiveness in light of the sheer number of options is not my only hurdle. The industry I am looking to work in comes with its own set of challenges: sky-high expectations and little to give in return. That does not pair well with my own – admittedly also high – expectations and career ambivalences.

Continue reading “The Entry-Level Paradox: Stella Meyer on the pitfalls of post-grad job searching”

SOS IP! Jodie van ’t Hoff (2020-22, Groningen – Olomouc – Göttingen)

Interview conducted by Loura Kruger-Zwart

The Intensive Programme can seem daunting to new Euroculture students, but it doesn’t have to! Jodie van ‘t Hoff talks us through the IP preparation phase, paper writing process, and how the (online) IP in 2021 went for her. While Jodie’s Euroculture experience has been almost entirely online due to the ongoing pandemic, she is making full use of the programme’s mobility. Having started in Groningen then attending Olomouc online, Jodie moved to Göttingen for her third semester and is currently preparing to spend her fourth semester in Olomouc (in person this time!).

Euroculture Magazine: Would you mind giving us a small introduction about yourself? Where are you from, what are your universities, and how did you find out about the Euroculture programme?

Jodie van ’t Hoff: I’m Jodie van ’t Hoff, I’m half Dutch/half German, and I am currently in my third Euroculture semester doing a research track at the University of Göttingen. My first semester was in Groningen, my second in the Czech Republic. During my Bachelor’s programme, which I also completed in Groningen, I learned about the Euroculture master. In the end, I applied because the subjects seemed a great continuation of my Bachelor and the mobility aspect to me was a real selling point.

Continue reading “SOS IP! Jodie van ’t Hoff (2020-22, Groningen – Olomouc – Göttingen)”

City Guide – Göttingen

In this edition of the Euroculture City Guides, Maike Mewes (German), who recently finished her second semester at the university of Uppsala, will give you an insight into life in the German city of Göttingen, where she studied at the University of Göttingen during her first semester.

The City Guide Project is led by Paola Gosio and Felix Lengers.

Euroculturer Magazine (EM): Why did you choose to study and live in this particular city?

Maike Mewes (MM): I already completed my Bachelor’s degree in Göttingen – more by chance – and got to know about the Euroculture Master’s programme. Göttingen is a very beautiful city with a high percentage of students (almost 25% of the inhabitants). Located in the middle of Germany, Göttingen also offers the possibility to visit many other interesting places – either with the regional trains which are for free as a student (at least in Lower Saxony and some neighboring cities) or with the ICE which connects you to Berlin, Munich, or Cologne within only a few hours.

EM: What are the aspects you appreciate the most about the city and which ones are those that you like less?

MM: In my opinion, Göttingen is the perfect city to study! It is quite small which helps a lot to find one’s way around after a short time and not to feel lost. One can easily walk or go everywhere by bike or use the bus for free, and there are several green areas like parks and the forest around the city. The Kiessee, a small lake, is the perfect place to go for a picnic during a nice sunny afternoon with some friends.  Göttingen is also a city with a large number of students and therefore offers many possibilities to meet friends in cafés and bars and to do cultural activities, which are included in the Kultursemesterticket, like going to the theatre or concerts of the symphony orchestra (depending on the theatre/concert either for free or almost for free!). Tip: have a look at the long list of activities one can attend with the student card!

Continue reading “City Guide – Göttingen”

Behind the scenes: meet the Euroculture Staff – Marcella Zandonai

Interview conducted by Johanna Pieper & Paola Gosio

Marcella Zandonai is an Euroculture alumni (cohort 2015-2017) from Trento, Italy. She spent her first semester at the University of Göttingen, Germany, and continued her Euroculture studies in Bilbao, Spain. After doing some volunteering, travelling in New Zealand and working for a local NGO in Trento, she joined Euroculture again in 2020 as the Assistant Coordinator at the University of Göttingen.

Euroculture Magazine (EM): What were your expectations when you applied/started your job position as professor or coordinator and does it match the reality?

Marcella Zandonai (MZ): I have to say that I started my job in a very unrealistic period of our Earth´s life. The 2020 health crisis completely changed my perception and my work tasks as well. When I started, there were actually hints of a return to normal life around July 2020. However, a couple of months later, the virus came back and I started working remotely
I only had a vague idea of how my job was supposed to be, since I did my MA in Euroculture as well. I was seeing my (now) ex-colleagues doing a lot of work, being outside, traveling, being with students, and enjoying themselves. I supposed that in a utopian world my job would be hectic and I would be always on the move, meeting up with people and exchanging smiles with students. 

So, my answer is: no, the job expectations did not match reality. But unfortunately, there is no one to blame. Maybe it would be easier if there was but…oh well: such is life.

When I applied I thought that the first wave would have been the first and only. But then this turned out not to be the case. We are living in uncertain times.

Continue reading “Behind the scenes: meet the Euroculture Staff – Marcella Zandonai”

Behind the scenes: meet the Euroculture Staff – Lars Klein

Interview conducted by Johanna Pieper & Paola Gosio

Dr. Lars Klein has been part of the Euroculture staff since 2008. He is currently the Euroculture course-coordinator in Göttingen and his academic interests lie in (European) identity, belonging and participation, and foreign policy, amongst others. By participating in his teaching modules “Introduction to Euroculture”, “Cultural Construction of Europe” and “Europe in a Global Context”, Euroculture students in Göttingen have the opportunity to learn more about the aforementioned research fields. You can contact Lars via the following email: lklein@uni-goettingen.de.

Euroculturer Magazine ‘EM): What were your expectations when you started your job position as professor or coordinator and does it match the reality?

Lars Klein (LK): I started with Euroculture in April 2008. Some of my Ph.D. colleagues in the Graduate Programme (“DFG-Graduiertenkolleg”) I had pursued prior to that had done Euroculture while it was still a 60 ECTS programme, some of the academic staff were also contributing to Euroculture then. So I had an idea of what to expect, but Euroculture in Göttingen was in a transition at that time. Our Director, Martin Tamcke, had just taken over a few months earlier and started a completely new team with me and Marc Arwed Rutke, our coordinator. Having said that, I never would have expected to enter a job that would take on such a big part of my life and which I would still be working in 13 years later. And I certainly would not have imagined that the daily work with students and colleagues in the Consortium would be such a lively, fruitful and diverse endeavour.

EM: What is your academic background and can you tell us about your previous job experience before starting to work for Euroculture?

Continue reading “Behind the scenes: meet the Euroculture Staff – Lars Klein”

SOS Eurocompetence II! Groningen, Uppsala, Göttingen & Strasbourg

By Bryan Trannin Bayne

Choosing, starting, and managing a project often are daunting tasks. The Euroculturer conducted a series of short interviews to showcase some of the many projects Euroculture students came up with in the Eurocompetence II course. These interviews were designed to give current and future students an idea of what has already been done and to learn from previous experience.

We asked each student the same three questions: What was your Eurocompetence II project? Did you put it into practice? How was your experience? Here are their testimonials:

Virginia Stuart-Taylor – Uppsala 2017 – War on Truth

Our class in Uppsala 2017 decided to plan, fund, and run the ‘War on Truth’ international conference on the topic of fake news, bringing students and locals into contact with leading figures from academia, think tanks, the media, and start-ups from across Sweden and the Netherlands. Held in May 2017, only months after Trump’s 2016 election, misinformation and fake news were crucial issues, making the conference well-attended and a big success. 

The hardest part of working together on the project was the ideation phase and picking a feasible, realistic, and sufficiently stretching project. We looked to examples of previous Eurocompetence II projects for inspiration and scope but also scoped out our own skills, interests, available resources, and pressing issues it would be worthwhile to address. Once we settled on running a conference, the division of roles within the team and execution of our individual responsibilities was easier, and regular meetings helped us make decisions, keep on track and manage the project. Overall it was satisfying to complete such a tangible project as a conference, with our post-conference report being a good physical outcome.

Continue reading “SOS Eurocompetence II! Groningen, Uppsala, Göttingen & Strasbourg”

SOS IP! Rhys Nugent (2019-21, Göttingen – Deusto)

Interview conducted by Johanna Pieper

Rhys Nugent (2019-2021), from the UK and Ireland, spent his first semester at the Georg-August-University of Göttingen and the second at Universidad de Deusto. He holds a Bachelor degree in Modern Languages and decided to apply for Euroculture to develop his interest in European affairs and culture while taking advantage of the social, professional and personal opportunities that formal education provides. He is currently residing in Bilbao, Spain and working as an intern at the European Citizen Action Service.

Euroculturer Magazine: What were your expectations when you applied/started the Euroculture MA and does it match the reality at the moment?

Rhys Nugent: I had expected that studying in multiple countries would challenge my preconceptions, improve my language skills and enable me to gain better insight into the cultural and social dimensions of Europe. I had also hoped to meet students from around the world, learn about new projects and opportunities and make memories to cherish alongside new friends around Europe. Needless to say that a global pandemic had not been at the forefront of my mind when applying for MA Euroculture but, alas, here we are.
Most of my expectations were met during my first two semesters of MA Euroculture. I was able to study in two fascinating countries that lie close to my heart. I managed to improve my German language skills in my first semester while refreshing my Spanish language skills in my second semester. I feel like I have a significantly better understanding of European affairs and politics, partly thanks to my degree and partly thanks to my extracurricular activities, and I have made new friendships which I value greatly from all corners of Europe and beyond. I am particularly grateful for the flexibility that both universities have provided me, whether it was their relaxed approach to class attendance or how generous they were regarding essay deadlines. This might seem an odd point to make but one of my greatest fears in returning to formal education was that my epilepsy might disrupt my studies and hinder me from making my deadlines – fortunately, both universities were incredibly compassionate when I faced issues. In this regard, my expectations have certainly been met.

EM: How has the pandemic affected your studies?

Continue reading “SOS IP! Rhys Nugent (2019-21, Göttingen – Deusto)”

SOS IP! Celia Onsurbe Castellanos (2018-20, Göttingen – Strasbourg)

Interview conducted by Johanna Pieper

Celia Onsurbe Castellanos (2018-2020) is from Tomelloso, Spain. She started Euroculture in Göttingen and spent the second semester in Strasbourg.  She has a background in Translation and Interpreting, holding a bachelor’s degree from the Autonomous University of Madrid (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid). After graduating, she applied for Euroculture because she wanted to do a Master programme in European Studies where she could also live and experience Europe in different countries. During the third semester she went to Mexico for the Research Track (UNAM) and was able to do an internship afterwards at the EU-LAC Foundation in Hamburg, Germany, before starting her 4th semester.

Euroculture Magazine: What were your expectations when starting the Euroculture MA? Did they match the reality? Continue reading “SOS IP! Celia Onsurbe Castellanos (2018-20, Göttingen – Strasbourg)”