Alumnus testimonial

Testimonial Sjors Joosten – MSc. International Development Studies

I am following the master International Development Studies at the Wageningen University and am specializing in the sociology of development and change

I might specialize in the tourism sector, but for now I want to keep my options open

What do you do?

I was trying to decide between this master and the master Leisure, Tourism and Environment. However, I had already done the bachelor in Tourism, which was a good choice, but am now more interested in the broader picture. In the end I might specialize in the tourism sector, but for now I want to keep my options open, so this master, which has a lot of different courses and topics, is a good choice for me. During the courses, we discuss topics, like globalization, humanitarian aid, doing fieldwork, sociology, etc some of which were also covered in the bachelor. These are the subjects that really interest me, so I like to work on it. And of course I am very enthusiastic about the opportunities within and next to my studies to travel, relax, meet new people, and experience new cultures and food.

Role of BTO in career development

After graduation from high school I didn’t really know what to do, I had been orientating at a lot of bachelors, including BTO, finally my dad told me ‘’I think it’s really something for you’’. Well, he was absolutely right. The basis of the bachelor is tourism, but due to all the different courses amongst others sociology, environment and research methods you get the bigger picture of all that is tourism, the positive and negative impacts. I guess that by seeing this bigger picture of tourism it made me realize I would like to broaden myself. Hence, I choose to follow the master International Development Studies at the Wageningen University. I orientated myself by reading the brochures of Wageningen University and all the different masters which were available After not too much thinking I realized that this master would be a good choice for me, due to the fact that it is broad and you can choose your own courses within the master which allows you to go your own way; in my case it is the more sociological path, because  economics, policy making, and technology courses do not attract me.

Student life

Because BTO is a joint-degree you first study for 2 years at NHTV-Breda University of Applied Sciences, then you can do a minor wherever you want for half a year, and the last half year you study at Wageningen University. During my minor period I went to Jyväskylä, Finland. You probably never heard about it, and that is why I kind of liked it, the unfamiliar. In this minor I choose courses all related to globalization: Environment and Globalization, Sociology of Globalization, Inequality of Globalization, etc, that is why my minor was called ‘’Living with Globalization. I can say that there are quite some differences between all these places. Breda is a real city, however the student life is still a bit underdeveloped, but booming. Wageningen on the other hand is a real student place, the city itself is not that big, but the campus is pretty awesome and every week there is more than enough to do for students. In Breda I made some of the most amazing friends. Spending time, eating, and going out with them was really awesome. I cannot say much about Wageningen yet, because I haven’t lived here for that long yet. But now I am meeting a lot of international people which I really like, Wageningen is in that sense a globalized university. And Jyväskylä, let’s just call it the Wageningen of Finland, the city itself is not that big, but the campus is pretty huge and the surroundings are beautiful. Here I met some of the most wonderful people from all over the world, especially from Europe, which made me realize that it is wonderful to be able to meet new people in this way, and that it does not really matter where I am, in the freezing cold, but the people matter the most, they make happiness.

Future plans

The main idea I had for doing this master was to combine it with my background knowledge of my bachelor, so International Development Studies and Tourism with a focus on sociology. I think this can be a nice combination, and I guess that there haven’t been many students who did the same. In the end I would like my work to involve helping people in developing countries increasing their quality of life by means of tourism; a kind of tourism which is sustainable of course, but also shows the tourists the authentic way of life of the hosts. Or I would like to work in a travel-program, which allows me to see much of the world. Or I will start my own live-music-beer-café, if studying doesn’t work out.

Advice for future graduates

I don’t have any clear-cut advice, it totally depends on the person you are. Some people like economics or management, while others want to do environmental policy, but I think that everyone who has done the bachelor of Tourism has been given the thought that the world is not a perfect place and tourism is not only a ‘’happy’’ phenomenon. I guess it is important to make up your mind if you want to continue with tourism in the future or not, and if so in what kind of direction. After the bachelor you must have some kind of idea, but if you then still don’t know, drink a beer or two and do what comes up in your mind first, do not think too long.