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Rianne van Mierlo

Master Ambassador Middle Eastern Studies
Rianne van Mierlo

About Rianne

Hello! My name is Rianne and I am currently enrolled in the master’s programme of Middle Eastern Studies at the UG. I started this programme after having finished the premaster. I feel like Middle Eastern Studies is the perfect fit for me and I am excited to tell you about it!

Why Middle Eastern Studies?

For a long time, I have been interested in learning more about the Middle East. In the media, the Middle East is more often than not portrayed as the battlefield for wars, humanitarian disasters, and an ongoing need for foreign presence and intervention. However, a closer look at the Middle East, its history, people, and cultures, reveal its incredibly dynamic character and offers a chance to better understand the colourful and diverse region. The MA Middle Eastern Studies takes a multidisciplinary approach, focussing on politics, religion, sociology, economy, anthropology, and much more. For me, the MA Middle Eastern studies provides an interesting challenge in learning more about the complex region that is ‘the Middle East’.

Why the University of Groningen?

Middle Eastern studies at the UG has been, without a doubt, the most motivating part of my entire study career. The chance to study at the Rijksuniversiteit in Groningen – the second-oldest university in the Netherlands – is a great opportunity in itself. Middle Eastern studies in Groningen hereby seemed like a natural choice. In the MA Middle Eastern Studies, the classes are relatively small. This gives the students, who are often from various bachelor backgrounds or nationalities, the chance to debate and talk about disputed topics that come up. The lecturers within the department are not only very much engaged with all students, but they are also very knowledgeable and visibly passionate about their fields of expertise. The master itself consists of four courses in the first semester and an internship and thesis in the second semester. Although the programme is quite challenging, the courses are very interesting and highly relevant. The MA Middle Eastern studies offers a balanced programme discussing religion and politics, conflicts, contemporary developments, and international organizations in the Middle East.


Right now, my future perspective is writing the master thesis and doing an internship in the second semester. After finalising the master, I either hope to move to the Middle East to start an internship or a job, or to start an interesting job in the Netherlands that deals with Middle Eastern relations. Luckily, the MA programme prepares you for all sorts of career paths, whether in the Netherlands or abroad.


I would recommend this master to everyone who wants to look further than the everyday Western media content when learning about the Middle East. If you are interested in truly understanding how this dynamic and somewhat chaotic region came into existence, develops, and is dealt with on an international level, I am confident that this programme is a good fit for you. If you have any further questions, please feel free to write me an email!

As-salamu alaykum!

Last modified:04 March 2020 11.28 a.m.