When Dorine had almost finished her bachelor’s programme Animal Management at a University of Applied Sciences (=HBO), she decided to do a master’s programme before she would start working. During her bachelor’s programme, she already had affinity with communication and education. As the bachelor’s programme had taught her practical skills, she wanted to know more about the theories behind communication by doing a master's programme. The master’s programme Communication, Health and Life Sciences perfectly combines communication courses with her interest in animal welfare and nature conservation, as she could take some life sciences courses in these topics for instance. Dorine chose the specialisation Communication and Innovation, because she wanted to know more about the role of communication in issues related to her topics of interest.
Besides the compulsory courses, the master’s programme offers optional communication courses. Dorine chooses ‘Intercultural Communication’, because she aims to do her internship in Laos. This course seems to be a good preparation, since it offers insights in how cultures can differ and how you can deal with those situations. Dorine stresses that this is very important when you talk to stakeholders in any future job as well. Even acknowledging that people differ and that you will encounter differences is very useful. The course ‘Facilitating Interactive Processes’ is Dorine’s other choice and she learnt how you can actually facilitate stakeholder conversations. Both courses offer Dorine relevant knowledge and tools to work with during her later career. Moreover, in both these and in the compulsory communication courses, examples of teachers and assignments can easily be linked to ‘Life Sciences’.
To enter the master’s programme, Dorine had to send a motivation letter, an overview of the academic records of her bachelor’s programme (which need to have an average of at least 7.0) and she had to do an English test to show that her English was of sufficient level. When her application was approved, she, together with the study advisor, discussed her current and her missing knowledge. On this basis, she followed some communication and statistic courses during a 6-months linkage programme preparing her for the master’s programme.
Currently, Dorine’s focus is on her internship where she will work in an organisation promoting sustainable agrobiodiversity. At the moment, they are in the final phase of their project, and they want to make sure that the community continues with the ideas after the project is finished. An online platform is a necessary tool to obtain information, so Dorine’s job will be to support setting up a sustainable agrobiodiversity online platform. After her internship, Dorine will start her master’s thesis on the online communities that were involved in the online debate on the policy of the Oostvaardersplassen in 2018.
Dorine: “What I like most about Communication and Innovation is the diversity in the programme. You do not have to focus on one aspect of communication only: you consider innovation theories, but interdisciplinary theories and facilitation as well.” This gives Dorine the feeling that later on she can work in different directions. In ten years from now, Dorine would like to work for an organisation such as Staatsbosbeheer or Natuurmonumenten. She also considers a job in politics; mainly to give input to new policies.
Dorine’s advice to other HBO-students would be: if you consider doing a master’s programme, do it now! Once you start working, you will probably not start a new study anymore. If you do a master’s programme directly after your bachelor’s, you are still in the flow of learning. Moreover, it is important to consider your own interests and do what you like (and not necessarily look at better job opportunities), and then find a study that really matches these interests. Make a well-balanced decision, because it takes (in case of this master’s programme) two years before you are finished.