I chose to study the Master of Science in Conflict Resolution and Governance at the University of Amsterdam because the programme promised both an academic and practical approach to learning and is delivered under the auspices of the Graduate School of Social Sciences, which is consistently ranked as number one in Continental Europe.
Studying the Conflict and Resolution programme was an unforgettable experience thanks to the dynamic teaching methods employed by the lecturers. We learned the art of negotiating and conflict resolution through a series of workshops where we applied our theoretical knowledge in practice within a set of scenarios. With the presence of several practitioners already working in fields such as mediation, negotiation and conflict resolution at these workshops, we were able to bridge the gap, as students, between the world of study and the world of employment.
The multidimensional nature of the study empowered me with exactly the sort of confidence needed to gain employment in the field of politics. It can sometimes be daunting when facing a panel of interviewers who want to know how your studies translate into practicable skills in the work place. Being able to demonstrate that my master’s studies have endowed me with intellectual skills as well as practical skills is something that now sets me apart from other eligible candidates.
After my studies, I was looking for a position working in the field of politics, which was internationally diverse and high-paced. While I experienced a lot of rejection, with perseverance I gained a position at the European Parliament working as an intern in the office of a politician. Thanks to the skills I acquired during my studies, I progressed rapidly and was entrusted with tasks above my rank, which is where I gained my first experience of political negotiation.
I now work as a parliamentary assistant to Member of the European Parliament Molly Scott Cato, who represents the Southwest of England and Gibraltar. I assist her on her work in the Economics and Monetary affairs committee, particularly in the areas of sustainable finance and tax justice. I love my job because it requires me to understand people, their objectives and how we come to an agreement. For me, this is the essence of conflict resolution. This is a principle which helps me to carry out my work from understanding citizens’ concerns and how they translate into policy to navigating the cultural and political differences present in an international work environment.
My advice to prospective students would be to appreciate the holistic nature of this programme, because the academic study and the practical study are inextricably linked. Reading is just as important as turning up to classes and resilience in this high-paced programme; all are necessary components to fully profit from this multi-faceted educational opportunity.