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Ms J.E.J. (Judith) Zijlstra

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
Contact details
  • Research

    Judith Zijlstra is an external PhD-candidate at the AISSR (Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research). 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

    2019 - now

    Dutch Refugee Council (Vluchtelingenwerk Nederland), Head Office

    Project VIP

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

    2018 - now

    Career trainer and coach, SyvNL (Syrian Volunteers in the Netherlands)

    For SyvNL I organise career workshops for refugees concerning applying for jobs, networking and LinkedIn. In cooperation with the company Celanese we also organise speed dates, mock interviews and mentoring programs. Furthermore, together with the participants we create personal career plans that helps them to build up their career again in the Netherlands

    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  
    March – April 2014    Fellowship of the Netherlands Institute in Turkey (NIT), Istanbul
    March – June 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 (forthcoming) Following stepwise migrants over time and space: Using the Trajectory Analysis method for researching Iranian students in Turkey, Europe and North America. Geographical research, special issue on Methodological Innovations in Studying Multinational Migrations, edited by Anju Mary Paul and Brenda Yeoh


    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


  • Ancillary activities
    No known ancillary activities