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Meet our interdisciplinary PhD students - Part 3: Saskia Nijmeijer

18 December 2017
Saskia Nijmeijer
Saskia Nijmeijer

I am working on a project about foreign language learning in elderly. As the world population is growing older, the number of citizens aged over 60 years old is increasing fast. Although many of these people are in good health, ageing is often accompanied by declined functional, mental and physical capacity and increased risk of diseases. Attenuating the development and course of prevalent disorders of old age is therefore of major importance. In my project, a foreign language is taught to healthy, mild cognitive impaired and remitted depressed individuals to study when and how a bilingual advantage might arise and whether it has any effect on levels of wellbeing.

I came across this project during my Masters as I wrote my master thesis under supervision of Marie-José van Tol, who is also one of the supervisors of this PhD-project. I really wanted to do a PhD after my Masters and this project was an amazing opportunity which I did not want to miss. So I spent a lot of effort into writing a research proposal and to my own surprise, I actually got the PhD position.

Since I only started this PhD project in October 2017, I am still in the starting phase. At first, I felt like I was swimming in the middle of the ocean, no land in sight, no water wings, no flippers. However, soon I got water wings so it was easier to keep my head above water. But still, no land in sight, no flippers. After a while I felt like I had flippers, and now I even have land in sight. I hope that in four years I have crossed the ocean, endured all of its challenges and reached the land.

I can only advise future PhD students to try to keep your head above the water, it will get easier.

Last modified:09 April 2019 3.48 p.m.

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