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E.E. (Esther) Haag, MA

Placement Coordinator Faculty of Arts
Profile picture of E.E. (Esther) Haag, MA
+31 50 36 35844 (
+31 6 3198 4071 (Mobile)

Career Seminar IRIO: sustainable solution to the negative travel advice for placements, 2020-2021

Due to corona the Executive Board of the University of Groningen cancelled all exchange programmes (on-location) at the University of Groningen in the second semester of 2020-2021. The decision applied to both incoming and outgoing students in physical exchange programmes and placement programmes.

This was a huge disappointment, especially for the degree programmes with a mandatory internship/placement and for many students with an international focus. In the second semester of 2019-2020 we counted 101 placements abroad; 61 for IRIO. With a growth of 40% extra students in the Master's phase in 2020-2021, the number would be even higher. Several degree programmes developed courses to cover this loss. Initiated by the placement coordinator of the Faculty and with support of the Faculty Board, the department of IRIO developed a Career Seminar. Lecturer Erik Sportel started training 55 students as off February 2021.

The Career Seminar aims to get students acquainted with the labor market by a sequence of guest lectures by speakers working in or on governance. Furthermore, students will be developing professional skills, of which writing a project proposal is the most eye-catching. One of the methods Erik uses is a full day simulation exercise via the online platform Gather. Next to this, students will work together in a career workshop.

The Career Seminar is a pilot course, and depending on its reception, it could be included in the IRIO curriculum in the future to provide students an option to substitute the mandatory placement and finish their Master's programme within one academic year whilst simultaneously maintaining the learning outcomes of the placement.

It is great to work together this quick in overcoming this challange and to increase our students' employability skills in the Master's phaese of their education!

Career Minor, 2015-present

In 2015, the Board of the Faculty of Arts decided to introduce a new faculty minor system that will form a substantial part of the career preparation in the bachelor's programmes. As of 2018-2019, students can opt for a subject minor of 15 or 30 ECTS, such as the minor in Foreign Languages, the university minor and the premaster minor, but also for the 'career minor'. This includes a placement, a project assignment for an employer or a business plan of 15 ECTS, modules in the field of teamwork, project management and, personal development. The minors are part of the learning line Employability that is being developed for the bachelors.

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Advisory Boards

The Faculty of Arts has an Advisory Board for every degree programme(s) or cluster of degree programmes. The Advisory Board meets three times every two year at most and comprises voluntary representatives of the most important employers of alumni of the degree programme, alumni, staff and students. The aim is to advise the department and the programme committee about keeping the curriculum in line withe the needs of the labour market. The coordinator is Esther Haag.

U4 Career Staff Training, March 2016-October 2017

Professionalization and Quality Assurance of Career Services by:

  • Joint reflection and sharing of views on experiences, problems and solutions with colleagues in the same job through feedback and peer-to peer support.
  • Broadening our expertise and knowledge and discussing new (international) trends, methods.
  • Connection and Collaboration.
  • Creating a sustainable network of career professionals within U4.
  • Connecting initiatives for different target groups (students, academic staff, support staff) within and between universities.
  • Mutually developing new creative ways of working.

Thematic sessions:

  1. Visibility and Branding – Career Professionals as Part of the University - Uppsala University (March 2-4, 2016)
  2. International Specifics - Adaptation of Consultation Sessions (Georg-August-UniversityGöttingen, September 22-23, 2016).
  3. Methodology – Innovative Techniques in Training (Ghent University, March 2-3, 2016).
  4. Future Trends – What is new in our Field (University of Groningen, September 22-23, 2016).
EU-VIP, EU-project on virtual internship placements
In a context of increasing global economic connectivity and interdependence, gaining practical work experience in an international environment is becoming more and more important. However, traditional international work placements, where the learner travels to the company abroad, require a high degree of flexibility and there are regularly financial, geographical, social and other barriers to such physical mobility. For those physical placements abroad that do happen, there are also a number of difficulties to overcome.

In answer to these issues, the EU-VIP (Entreprise-University Virtual Placements) project looks into the possibilities Virtual Mobility can offer in the area of international work placements . The main target of the EU-VIP project is to increase the number of students that undertake an international work placement and to enhance the quality of these work and learning experiences. Concretely the project will result in guidelines and online training material on how to organize virtual and virtually supported (or ‘blended’) international work placements .

The project results will be aimed at the three stakeholder groups with an interest in undertaking international work placements: higher education staff, representatives of businesses / organizations and students.

The EU-VIP project started in October 2009 and will run until September 2011. More information:
INTERN, project of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Groningen
INTERN aims to improve the online support of (international) placements by the Placement Office and the degree programmes Euroculture, NOHA (Humanitarian Action) and Journalism, by designing a Blackboard platform ('Nestor') that allows:  
  • better communication at a distance between students on workplacements, placement supervising teachers and supervisors at the placement providing companies (the project is at this point linked to the herefore mentioned EU-VIP project);
  • better insight in the status and stages of the placements with track of the thereby neccesary documents;
  • launching a solid system to follows each placement from the different perspectives of the Placement Office and the degree programmes, with forms that always exist in one version;
  • acces to the actual information about the were and about of each enrolled student;
  • an informal exchange of experiences and insighs between students amongst themselves and students and their supervisors via social software;
  • training of students, staff and possibly external supervisors in the use of the available tools for online support during the placement and in the procedures that will be developed for this support during the project.

More information:

International Internship and Career Plaza

On 18 March 2009, the first Internship and CareerPlaza  was organised. This yearly event is initiated by the placement coordinators of the University of Groningen, as a response to the International Student Barometer. It aims to be meeting place for companies and prospective trainees. The international set-up makes this event very special, the Internship and Career Plaza not only gives students of the University of Groningen and Hanze University the opportunity to meet internationally oriented companies that offer internships but also hosts regional companies that are interested in international students. It is made possible partly due to the Akkoord van Groningen.

The Internship and CareerPlaza fits perfectly in line with the university’s aim to stimulate international internships. Language of communication will be English. Every year the Rector Magnificus of the University of Groningen presents a IQ award for the smartest international student and for the smartest Dutch student present, who participated in an IQ test on the spot.

The event has an international set-up and aims at stimulating ‘cross-border contact’. By visiting the company's stand, a student from China can get in contact with a company from Groningen in an informal way. In addition to company presentations, there are various workshops and opportunities for ‘speed-dating’.

Approximately 2300 international students study at the University of Groningen. They are in need of good information about the labour market. Many of them are required to do an internship and are keen to do so but there are hardly any career events for this target group. International students are especially interested in internships and research projects in our region: being here, they are already abroad and they do not always have the financial resources for travelling far.

The event also acts as a meeting place for Dutch students and international companies. About 50% of the students at the University of Groningen do one or more interships during their degree programmes. A student who would like to do an internship abroad often spends a lot of time finding a suitable company. By acquainting students with international companies in an informal way, it is easier for them to find out what kind of organisation matches their talents.

Other projects

  • Team Crisis Protocol at the department of Student Affairs at the University of Groningen.
  • Team Future Career Services at the Bureau of the University of Groningen.
  • Chairman Monthly Meeting Faculties University of Groningen on Career Services.
  • Chairman Working Group Bachelor's Placement Assessment.
  • Chairman Working Group Master's Placement Assessment.
  • Secretary Working Group Career Minor Faculty of Arts.
  • Member Working Group Pilot LAB Honours College Universtity of Groningen.
Last modified:25 June 2022 12.16 p.m.