Alumni in the spotlight
Dick and Izabela Bemelmans: escaping the rat race
Too much work stress, too little time for family, constantly busy — for many people, this is the daily reality. Last year, Maastricht University alumni Dick and Izabela Bemelmans decided to leave the rat race. They moved to a secluded spot in the Polish countryside, with the aim of offering guests rest and relaxation and to teach them something about by nature. “We may be working harder than ever, but we’re more relaxed.”
Tamar Valkenier: From psychologist to 'full-time adventurer'
Imagine: you graduated successfully, found your dream job and live in the city. You seem happier than ever. At least, until you get restless. Would you leave everything behind and go? Tamar Valkenier, alumna from Maastricht University, would at least. Since 2015, she has been a full-time adventurer. What does her life look like?
Anna Karmann: Alumna in Silicon Valley
What New York is for fashion, Los Angeles for entertainment and Wall Street for stock markets, Silicon Valley is for technology. Tech behemoths such as Google, Facebook and Apple have their headquarters in this region near San Francisco. What is it like to live and work there? Alumna Anna Karmann answers this question. ‘‘The secret of Silicon Valley is the electrifying, unique environment.’’
Jeroen Hendriks, alumnus in Australia
For five years now, Jeroen Hendriks, alumnus of the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, has lived the Australian way of life. His heart skips a beat when it comes to innovative cardiovascular care, bike rides to the Australian beach and... the Maastricht Onze Lieve Vrouweplein. What’s the story of his life and career?
Guillaume Hansart: Building his very own Pisco imperium in Mexico
Guillaume graduated in 2011 from International Business and in 2013 in Public Policy and Human Development from Maastricht University. An internship at the UN made him realise he had a preference for the private sector after all to have more impact. Working as a consultant didn't quite give him the satisfaction either. He started his own business two years ago, the Pisco business.
Joep van Agteren: 'My focus is on people who are feeling low, but who are not so unwell that they need to see a psychologist.'
Joep van Agteren studied for a bachelor's in Psychology and Neuroscience and a master's in Health and Social Psychology at UM. He obtained his degree in 2013. Since June 2017, he has been employed at the independent South Australian Health & Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI). He also works for Flinders University. Together with a friend, he published the book ‘Je diploma in 100 pagina's’ ('Your degree in 100 pages') (2012), a compendium of study techniques for students. 'It shows you how professionals look at your texts and things such as target groups. It's very informative.'
Denyse van Opbergen: About living in Toronto, sustainability and more
If Denyse van Opbergen has to choose one word that suits her, that is ‘wanderlust’. After years in Ghana, Vancouver Island and Edinburgh, she returned to her hometown of Maastricht for her master's degree. She is now on the other side of the world again. It's Toronto, Canada, where she lives and works.
Jan-Joseph Stok: 'I want to confront people with the consequences of their choices and encourage them to be more critical.'
Friday 24 February marked a momentous occasion for alum Jan-Joseph Stok. Following six years of hard work, the documentary Che in Congo - A Dream of Liberation on which he collaborated with producer/director Ben Crowe saw its European premiere at the international documentary festival DOCfeed in Eindhoven. Che in Congo is a multidisciplinary project (including publications, a photo album, a documentary, exhibitions and a non-fiction book) about Che Guevara's secret mission in Congo (1965), which is used to compare the situation in Congo at the time to the present situation and call attention to it.
Paulien de Haes: "The perfect generalist for the job"
Ten months ago, Paulien de Haes (32) moved to Tripoli in Lebanon for the mission of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). With her degree in business economics and majors in organisation and sustainability, Paulien is the perfect generalist for the multifaceted job of Finance and Administration Manager. 'I have always been internationally oriented. I also find it extremely motivating to work for an organisation which I believe in. That really runs deep. As a result, it didn't come as a shock to my parents when I started working for the ICRC and was posted abroad'.
Samuel Laurinkari: Feeling at home at the interface of law, business, and politics
Samuel Laurinkari, Head of European Affairs at E-Bay, is the linking pin between E-Bay and the European institutions when it comes to legislations or policies that affect their platform or stakeholders. “I share our views on the regulatory framework and related policies with European policy makers. Sometimes that includes telling them than something is not a good idea, something that includes supporting ideas that have been put forward. As eBay is an open commerce platform, there’s a huge amount of legislation impacting us and our users“
"It gives you so much courage to contribute having a positive impact in this world.”
Luise’s enthusiasm for her job radiated from a picture spotted on her LinkedIn profile. She was on this field work trip in Malawi, Africa. Extremely curious to hear what she was doing there and how she got this position, we scheduled an interview with her. It was Luise’s passion for international relations that brought her to Maastricht. She had been doing internships and volunteer jobs for various international and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) like Amnesty International, women’s shelters and refugee aid organisations since she was fifteen years old.
Maartje Linzell: From psychologist to alumni coach
Who am I? In essence: I’m a ‘bon vivant’ who’s mad on wine, running and cycle racing. Following wake-up calls like thyroid cancer and a diagnosis of MS, I grab all the opportunities I can. Blogger on my website: www.maartjelinzell.nl. Mum to 2 boys and a wife. And a true lover of life. I persevere and push the boundaries. I’m proud of the fact that I took part in and raised money for the Alpe d'huzes challenge, and that I ran the Rotterdam Marathon on 9 April. That’s Maartje so far in a nutshell.
Haike Spek: "The online market in Germany requires durability and reliability"
'I actually advise most companies against taking their business to Germany'. I advise these relatively small companies to focus their efforts on the Dutch market first. The online market in Germany requires durability and reliability. German consumers are sticklers for certifications and standards like Amazon has, and not every company can compete with that. Because we usually work for commission, we always research everything thoroughly and create a strategy for a lasting partnership. That is why we prefer to focus on businesses that stand a really good chance.'
Lea Pfefferle: We live in an expat bubble in Brussels which makes it hard to really blend in
In 2008, Lea Pfefferle, 28 years, decided to study European Studies in Maastricht. She is originally from Kerpen, Germany and has been keen on learning more about politics from a young age. Additionally, “I was quite interested to do my bachelors in English and at that time in Germany there weren’t that many universities that were offering the opportunity for a degree in English.”
Sabrina Bos: Hey, come on, you’re earning well, why don’t you hang something decent on the wall?
Sabrina Bos received her Bachelor's degree International Business in 2011. Quickly after her graduation she found a niche in the market and started her own business. AccessART is an online platform for buying affordable art by contemporary artists.
Koen Willems: A Running Existence in Barcelona
As owner of Running Barcelona, 39-year-old Koen Willems never knows quite how his week will turn out, yet these last few weeks were especially hectic. “It’s been a busy period. With the birth of our second daughter on 25 April, my parents-in-law came over for an extended visit from my wife’s native country Argentina.”
Jasper van Mastrigt: Registered for the ‘diplomats class’ after graduating from European Studies
‘Naturally I chose Maastricht because of my surname’, he said jokingly. But no, that was not the reason. After he graduated from secondary school, he began a degree programme in Social Geography and Planning at Utrecht University in 2005. However, the programme did not meet his expectations. He quit halfway through the year and decided to switch to European Studies in Maastricht.
Robbert Rietbroek: one of Australia’s youngest CEOs, can already look back on an impressive career
After graduating in 1996, Robbert Rietbroek (41) quickly started working for Procter & Gamble. Was it easier to get a job then than it is now? ‘No, not really’, he says. ‘Back then it took an average of around twelve months before you could start your first job. Fortunately, I was always very active in addition to my studies. That helped.’ Now, 18 years later, he is one of Australia’s youngest CEOs, and he can already look back on an impressive career.
Bettina Klein: Working in an international emerging art market
Bettina Klein graduated in 2007 from her Master of Arts and Heritage. She now works as an exhibitor Relations Manager at Art Dubai in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Bettina is a very committed alumn and member of the External Advisory Board of her faculty which aims to maintain the quality of the programme and monitor the preparation for the labour market for it's graduates. We asked her a couple of questions about then and now.