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Over onsFaculteit der LetterenOnderwijs Faculteit der LetterenBachelorInternational Relations and International Organization

Minja Sillanpää

Bachelor's student of International Relations/ International Organisation
Minja Sillanpää
Minja Sillanpää

About Minja

Hello there! My name is Minja Sillanpää and I am a second-year IRIO student, born in Helsinki, Finland! People always ask me how I found my way to the streets of Groningen all the way from Northern Europe. Frankly, it was like taking a leap to the unknown, but surprisingly enough, since the beginning of this adventure I never had a single doubt about my choice. And now after living on my own in this city for a year, it is safe to say that I did land on my feet! Besides enjoying the courses of our programme, I take pleasure in lot of things such as reading, writing and making food together with my friends! Furthermore, I am extremely happy to be this year’s layout editor for Checks&Balances – an IRIO magazine produced by students for students published by IRIO’s own student association CLIO!


I have always been intrigued by the way the world around me is constructed. Thus, it felt like a natural choice to opt to study the most complex social structure of them all: International Relations! Furthermore, IRIO was the right path for me because I took interest in too many things to decide definitively what I wanted to study. And the simple solution was therefore to study a subject which combines all these different dimensions from politics and law to economics. The strength of the IRIO programme is expressly this multidisciplinary approach which brings together people whose interests diverge from each other and gives a lot of room to critically assess different kinds of world views!

Why Groningen?

I came to Groningen because it is one of the few places in Europe where you can study IRIO as an English-spoken undergraduate programme. The fact that the programme is exclusive in this sense is actually quite fortunate as it attracts people from different backgrounds who all, nevertheless, share a common passion for world politics. What I find is that the learning process does not limit itself to the lectures and seminars but a great deal can be learned from interaction with fellow students as well, when it comes to for example different cultural habits (which are also by the way an eternal source for amusement as well).


Life after IRIO is an adventure because there is no one right path to choose. I know people who dream of becoming politicians, researchers, diplomats, human rights lawyers, journalists… Personally, I hope that I will able to combine my passion for writing in my future career. Furthermore, after a study excursion to Brussels last year, I have to admit that I would not mind calling an EU institution my office either.

Golden Tip

Choosing the right university programme is a difficult choice which includes some risk-taking because you can never be sure if the programme is made for you before you give it a try. As mentioned above, I do not think there is a “typical” IRIO student because we come in many forms with different kinds of backgrounds and goals in life. Therefore, if you feel excited when you think about studying the International, in an international environment, IRIO might be just the right choice for you!

Last modified:17 November 2017 10.32 a.m.