Andrei Burlacu, alumnus MA Arts and Culture: Contemporary Literature and Arts


Since my teenage years, I have harboured a desire to play an active role in changing the world. Some time ago, while leading a normal life in Romania, I pondered what steps I should take next to realise this dream of mine—and I found my answer. I applied to the Arts and Culture master's programme, uncertain of whether I would be accepted. To my delight, I was! And in a matter of months, I found myself packing my life into two suitcases and relocating across the continent to a new country, city, and social circle. However, looking back, I can confidently say that my time in Maastricht was nothing short of amazing, particularly as a student. Whether it was strolling through Tapijn Park in the evening or enjoying a night out at the cinema, there were countless enjoyable moments.

Moving to Maastricht and enrolling at Maastricht University marked one of the greatest successes of my life. The specialisation in Contemporary Literature and Arts was particularly distinctive as it delved into how 21st-century literature and arts intersect with issues of social justice, including racial injustice, class and gender disparities, climate justice, the rights of migrants and refugees, LGBTQ+ discrimination, ageism, and ableism. Among the courses, my favourite was "Entering the Field: Social Justice in Contemporary Literature and Arts" taught by Christin Höne. It provided us with an initial exposure to the realm of contemporary literature and social justice, analysing key texts from critical and cultural theory that deepened our understanding within the context of social justice. Throughout this course, my favourite case studies included "Girl, Woman, Other" by Bernardine Evaristo and the "Stracrossed" playwright by Rachel Garnet, as well as the "Refugee Tales," which served as the focus of my paper examination.

Reflecting on our studies, we explored various facets of the social justice landscape, making it somewhat challenging to narrow down our specialisation. Nonetheless, with the guidance of professors, staff, and peers, we were able to make informed decisions. Towards the end of the programme, I had the privilege of undertaking an internship at KU Leuven, within the English Literature Research Group, where I concentrated on gender studies in literature and speculative fiction, aligning with our coursework in period three, "What If…?" Speculative Fiction in Search of More Just Futures. This internship, coupled with the knowledge gained during my master's programme, solidified my decision to focus my thesis on gender studies, specifically masculinity and femininity in speculative fiction literature.

Looking back on my time at FASoS, I deeply miss the experience. It was an incredible opportunity to interact with individuals from diverse cultures and backgrounds, and to receive support from anyone whenever it was needed, whether it be a professor, mentor, or student advisor. Additionally, reflecting on my role as a student ambassador, I realise the significant impact it had on my understanding of the behind-the-scenes workings of events at the faculty.

Following my graduation from Maastricht University, I relocated to Brussels in an effort to immerse myself in the European scene. My master's programme clarified my aspirations to contribute more to the field of social justice, particularly in terms of policy advocacy and human rights. Currently, I work in the European Quarter in Public Relations and Communications, with a focus on environmental aspects stemming from my master's degree. I can confidently say that my master's program helped me realise my passion for working in Policy Communication, with a particular emphasis on inclusive communication.

Andrei Burlacu, PR and Communications Officer
Aggregates Europe - UEPG, Brussels
Year of graduation: 2023