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New Media and Digital Culture (Media Studies)
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Juliana Marques

'The Master's programme New Media and Digital Culture is a perfect balance between theory and practice, and equips you with useful career skills, while also imparting valuable, practice-based knowledge.'

Juliana Marques

Educational background

I have a Bachelor’s in Social Communications from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. As part of my Bachelor’s I majored in Journalism. 

Why New Media and Digital Culture?

After completing my Bachelor’s I started working within the field of digital journalism, where I had to extensively use social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Aside from working as a journalist, I also started dealing with the more technical aspects of digital journalism and became involved in content creation and content management, developing applications, analysing user numbers, etc. Despite becoming more versed in these digital skills, I still felt as though I lacked a theoretical underpinning, which is why I decided to study further within the field of digital media. Although there are some courses you can do in Rio de Janeiro, there isn’t a fixed degree programme specifically focused on digital media. I therefore started searching for such a programme abroad and came across several programmes, one of which was the Master’s in New Media and Digital Culture at the University of Amsterdam.

After doing more research about the university and the programme, and speaking to former students (and  following them via Twitter) I eventually chose to enrol at the UvA.

Has the programme met your expectations?

It has exceeded it. The programme is a perfect balance between theory and practice, and equips you with useful career skills, while also imparting valuable, practice-based knowledge. On the one hand we deal with topics that have a clearly philosophical and ethical nature, such as the way technology changes humans and the dilemmas posed by social media, while on the other learning valuable skills, like how to visualise data and analyse whether a country enforces internet censorship. The programme also introduces participants to well-known experts in the field, as well as other digital media users from across the globe. As a student of the programme, I actually feel like Amsterdam is a hub that gives me intimate access to a worldwide media network.

Before starting with the programme, I was a bit worried about whether my limited technical background might hinder me from successfully participating. Luckily the curriculum is structured in such a way that you gradually becomes acquainted with the programme’s more technical aspects. Since commencing with the programme, I have had the opportunity to learn coding, website-building and design. Seeing yourself develop every day is really motivating!

Any other projects / extracurricular activities?

Aside from the programme, I also try to do as much travelling as possible. Since moving to Amsterdam, I have already visited several European countries, including Germany, France and Portugal.

What do you think about the UvA / Amsterdam?

Both the University and Amsterdam are just wonderful. The UvA is really beautiful and the staff friendly. After finalising my enrolment, the University organised almost everything for me, including a bank account, accommodation, etc. The staff even showed me the best place to buy good, affordable food!

As for Amsterdam, well, there is always something to do. You cannot get bored while living here. What I love about the city is its beautiful architecture, cosmopolitan feel and diverse mix of nationalities. I admire the way that Amsterdam (and the Netherlands in general) manages to integrate technology into the cityscape while still preserving the past.

Plans after graduating?

I would love to work within the digital media sector, preferably as a journalist. After graduating I hope to find employment in Europe, as this is where the largest companies are established. In the long run, however, I plan to use my international experience and return to Brazil, where I am hoping to start up my own company. I really love my homeland, and would like to give something back to it in return for everything it has done for me.

Tips for new students? 

First of all, try and get a clear idea of what it is you want to focus on and what you would like to do with the knowledge you obtain in the programme. Also, be disciplined and work hard. The Master’s in New Media and Digital Culture is a very intensive programme, and requires determined effort. If you give it your all, the rewards will be great!