European Studies at Maastricht University

European Studies at Maastricht University


Hi there. Right now, I’m in front
of Maastricht University’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences,
or FASoS, as most of our students and staff members
affectionately call it. This is the building of European Studies. This looks like a huge pile of books,
doesn’t it? Well, let’s change your perspective a bit. Well, that’s better, isn’t it? The world sometimes
suddenly looks different when you consider it
from another point of view, doesn’t it? What the camera just did right now
is something that you will also learn to do if you decide to come and study
European Studies, here in Maastricht. That’s because European Studies is what we like to call
an interdisciplinary programme, a programme in which you don’t look
at a problem from one point of view, but from a wide range of perspectives. Wait, let’s switch over to Esther Versluis. She’s a professor at FASoS,
and she can tell you more about that. Think of all the different problems that are surrounding
the European environment nowadays. Think of Brexit and the potential
consequences and impact that has on further European integration. Think of the refugee crisis
that is still ongoing and leaves many member states
of the European Union puzzling over how to deal with that. All these different problems
that arise at the European level will not be able to be analysed
from one single disciplinary perspective. You will not be able to understand
what Brexit really means and what implications it really has
if you only look at it from, say, an economic perspective
or only a political perspective. In order to really, truly understand
what’s going on there, you need to also analyse this
from a societal perspective, from a cultural perspective,
from a philosophical perspective. And this is what the Bachelor of European
Studies here in Maastricht actually does. So, this basically means
that you don’t study Europe by only focusing on history,
political science, international relations, economics or law. Instead, you combine insights
from all of these disciplines. The interdisciplinarity of the programme is what makes the programme
at Maastricht University so unique. Let’s switch back over
to Professor Versluis again. The Bachelor of European Studies that we
have on offer here at Maastricht University is unique in its kind. It’s the only bachelor’s programme
on the European continent that combines the perspectives that we do. What makes this programme so special is
that it’s an integrated programme, so you will follow a curriculum
from year 1 until the end of year 3, and you look at these European problems
from different disciplinary perspectives. This is different
from European Studies programmes elsewhere, that are sometimes more monodisciplinary. It’s really
this interdisciplinary perspective that makes European Studies
in Maastricht unique. More than 75 percent of all the students
come from abroad, and that adds
a whole new layer to the programme. When you study here,
you will study with colleagues of many different nationalities. In the Bachelor of European Studies,
more than 75 percent of our students come from different countries. And what makes this so nice is
that you will actually analyse topical problems
at the European societal level from these different national perspectives. It is very different if you discuss
a topic such as the refugee crisis with only Dutch people or only Germans. It becomes truly special
if you discuss such a topical issue with colleagues
of many different nationalities. European Studies student Thierry
feels the same. Here’s what has to say about the programme. For me to arrive in
the international community of FASoS was, for me, a bit like coming home. I grew up in an international environment,
in international schools, where I’m used to having so many different
cultures and languages around me 24/7. Coming to FASoS,
coming back to the Netherlands, I was afraid I was going to lose
that aspect in my life. Yet what I found at FASoS is that it was
actually more present than I was used to. Every single day, you hear
every language you can imagine. You have friends from all over the world. And it just feels very nice. Another important thing to note is that
European Studies is not only about Europe, it’s also about the relationship
that Europe has with the rest of the world. Isn’t that correct? People often make that mistake. You’re not only focusing
on the European Union. Europe was there thousands of years ago, and that’s where formations
of nations started. All those things
which happened throughout the ages are coming back in our studies right now. We look at how old problems
still influence new problems, how current developments result
in new political situations in the EU, but also how new situations have
an influence on cultural aspects of the EU. All these problems, situations,
developments, come together in European Studies. Ah, yes. What to do when you graduate?
Because the programme is so broad, you can end up in a wide variety
of careers and locations. Wait. Professor Versluis
can tell you more about that. Some people stay here. We have a lot of master’s programmes
on offer here, at the faculty. For example, specialising
in research skills or specialising
in European public affairs. But most of our students
actually go elsewhere. They opt for many different types
of master’s programmes. For example, International Relations,
but also Economics, International or European Law,
Journalism, Cultural Sciences, you name it. And could you also tell us a bit more
about what you can do after completing your master’s? Also here, the options are plenty, and it depends very much
on what you actually make of it. We have students ending up
in many different types of careers. Many of them end up in Brussels,
wanting a European career, working, for example,
for the European Commission, the European Parliament
or one of the consultancy firms. There are plenty of them in Brussels.
But not all students go to Brussels. We also have students who end up
going back to their home country. For example, starting to work
for one of the national ministries, working for embassies, working for
other types of international organisations, such as the United Nations, NATO… Other than that, we have students
ending up in journalism. We have a few who work
for high-quality newspapers, either in Germany or in the United Kingdom. We have students ending up doing a PhD. So, as you can see, it really is
what you make of the bachelor’s programme. Well, thanks a lot. Does this sound like something
you might want to do? Then you should definitely consider getting a bachelor’s in European Studies
in Maastricht.

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