HOI: A Future Full of Joy – Meet Dr. Arno van der Hoeven

Thinking about my future career, I usually find myself struggling to visualize what it actually should be. How to choose the best option? Is there something that I can do to make a future work pleasant?

What if I still can’t decide my occupation after graduation?

I know, from time to time, each of us thinks in the same way. Unfortunately, there are no exact answers to these questions… But no worries! I found a person who shows, by his own experiences, that an exciting career is a reality that each of us is able to achieve!

Meet Arno van der Hoeven – an assistant professor in the Department of Media & Communication and a lecturer of the ‘Media industries and Audiences’ course in BA-1 of IBCoM, and other Master’s courses. In his interview, he shed light on his way to a job for life.

For Arno, it was only at the end of the bachelor that he understood that he wanted to do a PhD and proceed in the academic field. “I hold a master’s degree in communication studies but then got interested in sociology, which at the end became my second master program. I was studying for almost 6 years but do not regret it and now I am really happy about this decision.”

What really drives Arno in his job is the combination of teaching and research. Research is a possibility to study particular topics of interest, while at the lectures he discusses the findings with students and receives different views on the topic. This interaction gives Arno a lot of energy. Especially the international orientation of our program, which makes the interchange of knowledge fascinating both for students and for the teacher.

During the lectures, Arno usually gives a lot of examples on the topic he is definitely passionate about – music. “Music is a significant part of my own life. I listen to it a lot and often go to concerts.” Arno’s recent research is indeed also focused on it. He is currently involved in ‘POPLIVE’, a research project about trends in the live music industries. His own investigation is dedicated to the role of live music in urban development.

Many people in our course get a deep understanding of the subject in question when music-related cases were provided. “Music is a form of communication for me. I find it interesting how people connect to music and how music can be an expression of collective identities.” No surprise, it was relatively easy and always interesting to follow lectures and learn new theories within the course as they were explained by something each of us relates to in everyday life.

When I finally asked Arno about the genres of music he likes the most, he mentioned that his musical taste was quite broad. Starting from indie rock, Arno currently listens a lot to hip-hop as for him “…it’s really an urban genre which connects you to the culture of the city. And I like the storytelling and how it developed certain musical new conventions”. I was very interested in finding out about what song drives such a passionate person. Arno shared one of his personal playlists – titled ‘a city walk’ with his favorite songs.

Enjoy this inspiring music and make it happen!

Author: Varya
Editor: Ayesha

Humans of IBCoM: Rachel’s Story

If the photos don’t make it easy to recognise Rachel, that’s okay. Her Facebook profile picture is non-existent. When I ask her about it over late night ice cream at Witte de With, she laughs and brushes it off. “I just don’t care for those photographs, you know?” she says, shrugging as she nibbles on her waffle.

Rachel is a 20-year-old Rotterdam native, though her family hails from Hong Kong. “My friends do call me Fine China for a reason,” she laughs. After ice cream, we head on to the Erasmus Bridge so that I can take some photos of her while the sun is still remotely out. She chose IBCoM because it felt like the right choice for where she sees herself in the future, and her interests primarily lie in the business side of the entertainment industry. “I love travel, but I figured that for my degree I would stick to my roots. It’s certainly cheaper than moving elsewhere.”10 - Rachel

Now’s the time for change. The majority of our friends are currently full-time interns, which is why we only ever meet at odd times. “I think it’s good, we get to fully experience the real world and figure out if it’s something we are comfortable with,” she tells me. “I’ve always been interested in the music industry, but I have no idea if it’s something I will actually pursue.” We halt about halfway over the bridge. I fiddle with my camera, Rachel looks for a trash can, but to no avail. “Did IBCoM really align with what you had in mind for it?” I ask her. She grimaces a little, thinks about it, and then answers, “I think we could use more practical knowledge, you know? Classes are great and all that, but it would be nice to have a little more knowledge about what it’s really out there in the workforce. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, and I wish we’d stop portraying it that way, too.”

To round things off because we’re tired – I had work 9-to-5, Rachel had a resit – I ask her where she sees herself in five years. That’s an easy one. I can tell because she starts talking excitedly, animatedly. “I want to live in Japan and be a dog mom!” Doesn’t she want to be employed? “Yeah, sure, that too.”


Humans of IBCoM: Kayla’s story

As the first signs of spring began to show, I sat out in the sun and interviewed exchange student and fellow IBCoMmer, Kayla. Fascinated by her constant enthusiasm and open mindedness I witnessed during the classes we had together, I knew she would be a great candidate for this edition of humans of IBCoM! Here is Kayla’s story.

Kayla is a 3rd year exchange student from Washington 9 - KaylaDC in the United States. She decided to leave her home and travel all the way to The Netherlands to obtain international experience, be exposed to a variety of culture, widen her worldview, and avoid the somewhat ethnocentric tendencies some Americans have.

When asking her why she specifically chose Ro
tterdam, Kayla explained “It was on a whim!” In the US, she does a double major in sociology and public relations and she was looking for a University that allowed her to do both courses at the same time. Erasmus University was the only one that offered this possibility, so spontaneously, with no other questions, she packed her bags and left!  “I’m open minded and I really want to be here”, so luckily, from day one she was able to adjust really quickly.

In regards to how she felt about the student life here, Kayla reflected on how people here seem to drink and party a lot more than her friends back in America. Interested by the fact that her experiences were not like the stereotypes of sororities and fraternities that we see in movies and TV shows, I asked her how her student life at home was. Kayla replied: “I’m in a fraternity (both boys and girls combined) and it’s not like the stereotypical frat life. We don’t have random school hosted parties on Tuesday night. We don’t go out during the week actually – we mostly go out on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, while the rest of the nights you’re at home studying.”

Kayla also stated that student life here varies from America regarding student associations: “At home, since most people live on campus, there is more interaction. There are over 350 student organisations there, but here there are a lot less and as an international student, only speaking English, you have to factor out the ones for Dutch students or the ones that are not too long. So, yeah student life has been a little tricky.”

Inquiring more on the difference she experienced here compared to back in the US, there was not too big of a culture shock as Rotterdam and DC are quite similar. The biggest difference Kayla did notice, however, was in regards to the elections: “We recently had our elections and the Dutch did as well. Back home, people were campaigning like CRAZY, my friends and I would go door knocking, there were flyers everywhere, there was so much discussion in all the different student organisations, everyone was hosting different talks about the candidates and their issues. Whereas here, I hardly even knew elections were happening.”

Asking her more about her difficulties, Kayla expressed how she would have periods of feeling lonely as a result of feeling insecure about talking to different people. “I don’t want to assume that they speak English and so I feel this really big barrier even though I know so many people do speak English. At home, there’s a lot of criticism around asking foreigners to speak English and so being here and being a foreigner, I don’t want to impose my language on anybody. I feel bad asking people to switch from Dutch to English!”

Apart from language issues and limited student associations, two of the best things Kayla has experienced so far have been going to a cheese farm: “I went to a cheese farm in Gouda! I love cheese tasting and especially hearing about how cheese is made and the differences between them – I thought that was pretty cool!”

The second thing was, Stukafest! “I went to Stukafest where you apartment hop and listen to different music – it’s the coolest concept! I always wondered what Dutch homes were like and through this I was able to go into people’s homes, it was so nice. You also get to talk to the musicians and get to hear stories that inspire them. It was definitely not an event I would have found back at home.”

Another thing that Kayla thoroughly enjoys is IBCoM! Asking her how she felt about the programme, Kayla said she would 100 percent recommend IBCoM! “I love how the classes are set up in terms, because it allows you to focus more on your classes and delve more into your work compared to home. I also like that there are different types of classes: workshops, seminars, lectures and tutorials, as it’s really effective, more hands-on and interactive. You get to immerse yourself more in what you’re learning than you would in the US. It is more real life oriented.” Kayla also stated: “The IBCoMpanions were really helpful. I asked my IBCoMpanion a million questions before I came here and it made me feel better about arriving.”

To finish off, we talked about life lessons, which could serve as a tip to any of us! Kayla reflected that after almost two months of being an exchange student, the biggest life lesson she has learned is to “be true to who you are and being bold in that, because it is easy to get caught up in your circumstances here. Find other people who you can associate with, but also make sure you interact with other people who don’t value the same things so that you’re not missing out!”

Thank you Kayla for sharing your story!