Featured Alumnus: Rainier Jaarsma ’16
Rainier Jaarsma (MA ’16) is currently conducting a Robert Schuman traineeship at the Unit for EEA/Enlargement within the European Parliament’s DG for External Policy, until August 2018.
Rainier, who graduated from the Global Studies MA program with a concentration in Russian, Eurasian, and East European Studies (REEES), completed a thesis entitled “The EU’s Lopsided Queue: Conditionality, Compliance, and the Diverging Accession Paths of Macedonia and Serbia”. His thesis examined the differentiation of European Union accession momentum in Serbia and Macedonia. During his time as a Global Studies MA student, Rainier completed a traineeship for the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a teaching assistantship with Dr. Bob Jenkins, a program assistantship at the Burch Research Field Seminar in Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo, & Austria, and a Fulbright Fellowship.
Of his experience and time in the Global Studies MA program here at UNC, Rainier offered the following reflections:
“The Global Studies MA experience allowed me to further develop my regional political expertise, focusing on the European integration of the Western Balkans, and the strengthening of relations with Russia and the CIS. At the same time, the program’s global approach also allowed me to engage in comparative analysis; it was really helpful to exchange views with colleagues who specialized in other regions, and to identify common challenges. Pooling people together with different regional interests is where the Global Studies MA program really sets itself apart from more traditional ‘area studies’ programs. I have noticed that this combination of having a firm regional expertise, good language skills, and the ability to retain a global outlook is genuinely valued in the international professional environment. Aside from the excellent academic climate at UNC, the program’s flexible nature also enabled me to engage in a wide range of other international opportunities, affirming my determination to work in a global environment. These included a traineeship at a diplomatic post abroad and an assistantship during the Burch Field Research Seminar in Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Austria. Combined with my duties as a Fulbright-grantee, I spent almost as much time on my professional development as on my academic research while in Chapel Hill. I also learned a lot from my teaching assistantship for Dr. Robert M. Jenkins, whose expertise of the Western Balkans and kind-heartedness remains virtually unmatched. I could not have wished for a better mentor. Personal connections such as these for me really symbolize the Carolina approach to education, and will stay with you for the entirety of your professional career.”