'The main reason for pursuing my academic career at the UvA was my wish to put everyday life in perspective instead of studying abstract theories, and to make this a tangible starting point for study and research. With this idea in mind, I chose this particular Master’s track and it turned out to be a great choice.' Read Stephanie Welvaart's story about Sociology: Social Problems and Social Policy.
My name is Stephanie Welvaart and I come from The Netherlands. I came to Amsterdam to follow the Master’s programme Social Problems and Social Policy, a track of the Sociology department. Before I began with this Master, I finished the Bachelor’s programme of Anthropology and Development Sociology at the Radboud University Nijmegen (The Netherlands).
The main reason for pursuing my academic career at the UvA was my wish to put everyday life in perspective instead of studying abstract theories, and to make this a tangible starting point for study and research. With this idea in mind, I chose this particular Master’s track and it turned out to be a great choice.
At first, I was concerned about the shift from an essentially anthropological field to the sociological field, as I was insecure about the parallels between theories and backgrounds. Although there were a lot of differences between students and their educational and theoretical backgrounds, the selection of courses, I believe, gave the students the opportunity to brush up with the theoretical knowledge needed.
Another strong point for this Master’s programme is the international diversity of the students. Due to this diversity, courses became more interesting as examples and experiences could be shared from countries and societies other than the Dutch.
I have one advice for future students. I think it is important to start thinking about subjects for your Master’s thesis from the start of the programme. Even though the subject for the thesis doesn’t have to be clear in an early stage, it does help to keep the future thesis in mind as this will make it easier to take full advantage of the content of the courses. For me, at the start of the programme, it wasn’t really clear what my main interest was out of a broad range of topics. Fortunately, by the passage of time, I was stimulated by the different courses, and able to narrow the topic down gradually. My thesis covered ethnic categorization in care policies in the Netherlands.
I can conclude that this programme does what the title suggests: it gives you the tools and insights to approach social policies and problems critically. My experiences are very positive and I thus recommend this track to future Master students worldwide.