I am Elise Hakkaart and have been living in Amsterdam since I started studying Social Sciences (Algemene Sociale Wetenschappen/ASW) five years ago. During this bachelor I had the opportunity to choose my own track and took courses in Urban Geography as well as Conflict- and International Development studies. With the knowledge of all these different fields of expertise I found that I was really interested in environmental development issues.
Since I love living in Amsterdam, I really wanted to take my master’s here as well. This is where I became interested in the environmental track of the Human Geography master’s programme. In the first semester you attend an intensive course which examines the issues around climate change and sustainable development from the international to local policy level. You are also given an all-round and up to date view of the environmental issues from all over the planet. Next to your track course, you also take an intensive research skills course in which you get fully prepared for writing the thesis in the second semester.
This year, for the first time, the theses are being written in so called thematic groups in which you write your own thesis around a thematic topic. My thematic topic is about sustainable fisheries and that is why I get to go to Sri Lanka for two months to do research on how fish traders are coping with the ban the European Union placed on Sri Lankan Fish export to the EU, due to illegal, unreported fishing in Sri Lankan waters. I’m really excited about being able to do research in a foreign (and sunny) country!
Since this is a one year master programme I already have to look at what comes next: the job search. The job prospects after my master programme are mainly in governmental fields, such as the Dutch Water Board, but I’m also looking at traineeships with for example the Social and Economic Committee of the European Union, or interesting environmental development programmes elsewhere in the world. One tip I have for new Environmental Geographers is: be prepared to get overwhelmed by all the new information you get from this course (and that’s a good thing!).