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Alumni stories

Learn more about what graduates from AUC have done after their studies

The Master's programmes and career paths that AUC alumni choose to follow after completing their studies are as diverse as the curriculums and individuals themselves. You'll find a sample of their stories and experiences featured on this page.

  • Roanna van den Oever, Class of 2014 - Gender Advisor at Aidsfonds
    Roanna van den Oever

    What did you study at AUC?

    I majored in the Sciences at AUC and focused on the Biomedical and Public Health Tracks. I found out about AUC after I went to a United World College (UWC) during high school. Being in an international and diverse environment already at UWC, I was looking for a similar environment for my Bachelor’s. Also, I had broad interests so I did not want to choose a really specific Bachelor’s at a young age. What I really liked about AUC were the small classes. I think what makes university worthwhile is not what you learn from books you read in your room, but what you learn from discussing important topics with your peers in the classroom.

    What steps did you take after AUC?

    In most of my classes at AUC, we were given room to choose specific topics we were interested in for papers and presentations. I found myself writing about issues of women’s health and taboos around sexual health. This is how I found that I was particularly interested in understanding the social side of health issues. AUC gives you the opportunity to redirect within your degree, so I started taking courses in anthropology and qualitative research methods. In realising my interests, I found a Master’s in Reproductive and Sexual Health Research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

    My Master’s was a fantastic choice because it was very specific. After being broadly educated at AUC, this worked well for me. After my Master’s, I stayed in London and gained practical field experience as a sexual health outreach worker giving sex education at high schools. Currently, I work at the Dutch Aidsfonds where we fund such outreach projects. I am the Gender Advisor at Aidsfonds, ensuring we critically look at how our programmes address issues of gender inequality and HIV, as well as reflect on gender equity in our own organisational processes.

    What skills did you gain at AUC that were useful for your future?

    One major thing that I did not expect was how good my writing skills became. With the number of essays you have to write, I think you really learn how to write well. Similarly, I now have really good presenting skills. But mostly I learned a lot from my peers at AUC in terms of critical thinking and intercultural communication. Being in an international environment, you get exposed to both what you have in common as well as how you differ. This has proven to be really beneficial now that I work in international environments.

  • Thomas Dulfur, Class of 2015 - R&D Analyst at Quin & Professional Bassoonist
    Thomas Dulfur

    What did you study at AUC?

    I liked the idea of designing your own curriculum and that a multi-disciplinary perspective was encouraged. I chose the Pre-Med Track at AUC and combined it with playing the bassoon at the conservatory of Amsterdam. I enjoyed the small-scale education which created a challenging environment where you are trained to do many different things simultaneously.

    What steps did you take after AUC?

    After AUC, I continued to pursue my Bachelor’s degree in music at the conservatory. After one year, I felt that I also wanted to continue my studies in biomedical sciences and found the Cardiovascular Research Master’s at VU Amsterdam. Since I enjoyed the course Cardiovascular Diseases at AUC, I knew it would be a good fit.

    From April 2020 until March 2021, I worked as a Research Assistant at the Amsterdam UMC cardiology department. Through a classmate from my Master’s at VU Amsterdam, I found my current job at Quin – an online healthcare platform – where I am responsible for developing new healthcare pathways for cardiovascular diseases. I am glad that I can still combine this job with my music career.

    What skills did you gain at AUC were useful for your future?

    Personally, I really enjoyed the courses at AUC because they are comprehensive and you learn to look at issues from a multitude of perspectives. Also, my English improved greatly at AUC, which has proven to have a major impact on my career. The take-home message I would like to share is that if you want something, you just have to go for it. It does not matter if you have all the necessary pre-requisites or not; if you really want something there is always a way!

  • Bibi Piets, Class of 2020 - Master’s in Applied Museum & Heritage Studies
    Photo by Aliya Tanwir

    What did you study at AUC?

    ‘I was a Humanities major at AUC and I focused mostly on art, media and culture. During my time at AUC, I really wanted to do a class in museum studies and curating. Such a course was not offered at AUC, so I looked at my possibilities and found the University of Toronto. There, I was able to take a course in museum curation as well as courses that focused on art outside of the Western world.’

    What steps did you take after AUC?

    ‘When writing my AUC thesis, I stumbled upon an author that seemed interesting. So, I looked up where she had studied and found out about the Reinwardt Academie in Amsterdam where they offer the master’s Applied Museum and Heritage Studies. This was an interesting opportunity for me because it was much more practical than any other programmes I had previously looked at. It is a master’s at an applied university (what we in Dutch call a HBO Master), so it is a combination of academic as well as practical work. This means I am gaining practical experience working with professionals in the field whilst also being able to immerse myself into interesting academic literature.

    After AUC, I felt as if I had all this knowledge but not really the skills to work with this knowledge. So, I am really happy I chose this master’s because I am gaining a lot of useful and practical knowledge as well as academic knowledge.’

    What skills did you gain at AUC that were useful for your future?

    ‘I gained really good academic skills at AUC, studying here shapes people into critical thinkers that are able to look at things from many different perspectives. My reading and writing skills are also of a high level which has really helped me in my master’s. Over the three years at AUC, my English skills have improved insanely as well. Finally, AUC teaches you a certain work ethic because of how much they expect from students which is challenging but a valuable learning experience.’

  • Melanie Rietveld, Class of 2020 - Master’s Biomedical Sciences (UvA) & Philosophy: Bioethics & Health (VU)
    Melanie Rietveld AUCAA Profile

    What did you study at AUC?

    ‘At AUC I studied biomedical sciences, but I was also interested in other subjects such as literature and philosophy. The environment at AUC was engaging and I enjoyed being surrounded by a diverse group of students where everyone was studying different subjects. This is the kind of environment I ended up looking for in my future studies as well.’

    What steps did you take after AUC?

    ‘Currently, I'm completing a Master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Amsterdam and a Master’s in Philosophy: Bioethics and Health at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. I always knew that I was interested in biomedical science and the course Epigenetic Regulations at AUC really affirmed my passion and interest in it. On the other hand, I also took the course Ethics which introduced me to a completely different way of thinking that I also wanted to incorporate in my future studies. Hence, this is the reason that I'm doing a double Master’s degree.’

    What skills did you gain at AUC that were useful for your future?

    ‘Since starting my Master’s degree, I realised that my level of writing and presenting skills are much more developed in comparison to students from other universities. These are exactly the kinds of skills that you can't just learn from one specific course but have to be incorporated in all your courses. In terms of lab skills, the courses AUC offers are good as they are very small-scale. Unfortunately, I could not gain a lot of lab experience because AUC didn't offer many lab courses and COVID-19 also had an impact on my studies. So make sure to go out of your way to get as much lab experience as possible because it will be really useful for your future studies. Finally, one of the most valuable lessons I learned at AUC is that a healthy work-life balance is important. AUC can be intense, but it's a good way to figure out what your priorities are and what you truly care about - not just in your academics, but also in life.’