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Jemima Sint Nicolaas: 'At Japan Studies I felt at home'

Jemima Sint Nicolaas (22) is an East Asian Studies master's student. In addition to her studies, she is an intern at LeidenGlobal, a student assistant and has a job as a barista.

'Japan is my first love'

'I have a bachelor's degree in Japan studies. My interest in Japan started with anime and manga, but shifted to Japanese language and culture. When I had to choose a bachelor, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. But I was good at studying languages and found out that you could study Japanese. When I started the study programme, I felt right at home. There are a lot of nice people and the study association LVSJK Tanuki organizes a lot of activities.' 

'For my master's in East Asian Studies I also take Japanese language courses and courses on Korea. As an elective during my bachelor I took Korean language courses. I also enjoyed Dr. Green's lecture on Korean migrants. I think Korea is interesting, but Japan is my first love.'

From Leiden to Nagasaki

'During the second year of my bachelor, I went on an exchange to Japan and studied at the University of Nagasaki. It was a very nice experience, but in the beginning I was also a bit nervous because I didn't know my fellow students with whom I went on exchange that well. Luckily, these were all very nice people and we became good friends. I also met a lot of people in Japan. Soon a Japanese friend is visiting the Netherlands, she was my tutor in Nagasaki.' 

'During my bachelor's I chose not to move out because I knew I would go to Japan in my second year. When I came back I wasn't sure about what I wanted to do yet and it was easier to live at home. I travel from Almere, but fortunately my internship doesn't start until half past nine, so I don't have to leave the house too early. If I would like to live on my own? It sounds nice, maybe in Utrecht or Amsterdam.'

Asia and beyond

'I finished my master's thesis last semester. Aya Ezawa was my thesis supervisor and I am also her student assistant. She is the new Diversity Officer and deals with gender in Asia, which makes my job as a student assistant very interesting.'

'I have a lot of free time now, because I'm not really a 'real' student anymore, so I can do an internship. I currently work three days a week as an intern at Leiden Global, a joint venture between the University of Leiden, the National Museum of Ethnology and the National Museum of Antiquities, among others. It's nice to work there, LeidenGlobal is very broad in scope and organizes cultural activities that teach people a lot about different regions. As an intern, I am mainly involved in communication, for example handling social media, conducting interviews and sending out the newsletter.'

'After finishing my master's I would like to continue to do something with Japan, but I don't think I would want to permanently live in Japan . I have applied for internships at Japanese companies in the Netherlands, but it is very difficult to find a job and you do not always get a response.'

Coffee, dancing and fun parties

'On weekends, I work at the Starbucks at Schiphol Airport. My colleagues are very nice and you meet all kinds of people with different nationalities. I've always enjoyed going to coffee shops myself, so this part-time job suits me well. It's always fun, although getting up early in the morning to travel there is still a challenge, haha.'

'In my free time, I like to dance. Every week I take Zumba classes at the USC, which is more intense than you might think! Last year I took hiphop dance hall classes at the LAK and you can often find me dancing at a nice party or festival.' 

In the Humans of Humanities series, we will do a portrait of one of our researchers, staff members or students, every other week. Who are they, and what do they do? You can find more portraits and information on this page.

Suzé Klok
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