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J.E.J. (Judith) Zijlstra

PhD candidate sociology / migration studies
Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
Programme group: Political Sociology: Power, Place and Difference

Visiting address
  • Nieuwe Achtergracht 166
  • Room number: B6.07
Postal address
  • Postbus 15508
    1001 NA Amsterdam
  • Research

    Judith Zijlstra is an external PhD-candidate at the AISSR (Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research). She will graduate on the 7th of October 2021. Her research focuses on the migration of Iranian academics to the Netherlands, Turkey, the United States and various other countries. She is particularly interested in how Iranians with a background in natural sciences and engineering engage in stepwise migration processes within the international academic labour market. She thereby looks at several aspects of the migration process, such as the importance of socio-economic background, human and cultural capital, social networks and life course.

    Judith Zijlstra had developed an innovative research methodology called'Trajectory Analysis.' This is a longitudinal and processual research methodology whereby she follows the participants over a longer period of time and in various countries. For her PhD research she conducts at least two interviews with each respondent. In case one of the respondents migrates to another country, the researcher also conducts interviews with the respondent at the new destination, either online or face-to-face.


    Some of her research topics are: high skilled migration, academic mobility and migration, stepwise migration, transit migration and forced migration. 

  • Resumé

    Professional work experience


    2021- current: Labyrinth Research & Consultancy, Utrecht

    In March 2021 I started as a researcher and project leader at Labyrinth in Utrecht. Here I lead various qualitative research projects, for instance about social cohesion, discrimination and willingness to get vaccinated.

    2018 - 2020: Dutch Refugee Council (Vluchtelingenwerk Nederland), Head Office

    VIP was a project where refugees were guided towards the Dutch labour market through training and individual coaching. At the head office I did the general project coordination and set up an impact research of the project.


    2017 - 2018: Expertise center HR Development, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

    Organized career workshops for VU-employees (mostly PhD-candidates and postdocs) at the end of their labour contracts. Provided them with individual feedback on their CVs, cover letters and LinkedIn-profiles.


    2014 - 2016: VU-NT2 (Dutch as a Second Language), Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam  

    Organizing Dutch courses for highly educated refugees, expats and international students. Providing prospective students with information and course registration. Financial administration of courses, also in cooperation with UAF (Foundation for refugee students).

      2015 - 2016: Persian-Dutch translator and subtitlor for documentary on the exiled life of Iranian writer Nasim Khaksar. Production assistant and translator during filming in Turkey


    International academic experience

      2018: Fieldwork in Malaysia and presentation at the conference 'Multinational Migrations', National University Singapore
      2018: Fieldwork in the United States
      2017: Fieldwork in the United States
      2015 - 2017: Fieldwork in Turkey
      2014 - 2015: IMES Seed Grant 2015, Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies, University of Amsterdam. Production and research for a photo documentary and article about the journey of migrants and refugees from Turkey and Greece to North-Western Europe  
        2014: Fellowship of the Netherlands Institute in Turkey (NIT), Istanbul
       2009: Field research among Iranian migrants and refugees in Turkey



    2008 - 2009: Master Migration and Ethnic studies (Sociology), International School for Humanities and Social Sciences (ISHSS), University of  Amsterdam. Thesis: The Benefits of Being Azerbaijani: ethnic identifications and the usage of ethnic capital among Iranian migrants in Turkey (with honours)

      2007 - 2008: Master Turkish studies, Leiden University.
      2003 - 2007: Bachelor Arabic, New-Persian and Turkish languages and cultures, Utrecht Universitity. Specialisation: New-Persian (with honours
  • Publications

    Zijlstra, Judith (2020) Stepwise student migration: a trajectory analysis of Iranians moving from Turkey to Europe and North America. Geographic Research (special issue on multinational migrations).


    Kheir, Zane & Judith Zijlstra (forthcoming) Regional educational hubs as stepping stones to the West? The cases of international students in Turkey and Malaysia. In: Dorina Dedjgoni & Carola Bauschke-Urban (eds) Student Mobilities from the Global South.


    Zijlstra, Judith & van Liempt, Ilse C. (2017) Smart(phone) traveling: understanding the use and impact of mobile technology on irregular migration journeys. International Journal of Migration and Border Studies [Special issue 'Transit migration: Renewing the Focus on a Global Phenomenon'], vol. 3 (2/3), pp. 174-191.


    Zijlstra, Judith (2016) On the way to a welcome (photo essay Greece). AGORA, magazine for social-spatial issues, no 1. 


    Zijlstra, Judith (2015)  Iranian student mobility in Turkey: a precursor to permanent immigration? Journal of Business Economics and Political Sciences, 3 (5).


    Zijlstra, Judith (2014) Stuck on the way to Europe? Iranian transit migration to Turkey. Insight Turkey, 16 ( 4), pp. 183-199.



  • Teaching
    November - December 2016 

    Seminar Qualitative Research Methods, premaster Sociology, UvA

     September - October 2016 Seminar Urban Sociology, 2nd year Bachelor, UvA


  • Publications


    • Zijlstra, J. E. J. (2020). Stepwise student migration: A trajectory analysis of Iranians moving from Turkey to Europe and North America. Geographical Review, 58(4), 403-415.


    • Zijlstra, J. E. J. (2021). Stay close, go far: The stepwise migration of Iranian students and academics. [details]
    This list of publications is extracted from the UvA-Current Research Information System. Questions? Ask the library or the Pure staff of your faculty / institute. Log in to Pure to edit your publications. Log in to Personal Page Publication Selection tool to manage the visibility of your publications on this list.
  • Ancillary activities
    No known ancillary activities