University of Twente Student Theses


The Professional Formation of European Studies Students : a phenomenographic interpretation

Wemheuer, Wiebke (2009) The Professional Formation of European Studies Students : a phenomenographic interpretation.

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Abstract:This thesis has been created and written following the traditions of interpretative sociology. Its aim was to interpret the lifeworld of European Studies students. In particular understanding should be created for their professional formation, the transition process between being a student and entering their career paths related to the EU and Europe. The core concepts handled in this study are the phenomenon of European Studies as an educational program, the potential professions following from this education and the process of professional formation as a theoretical link between these two. How do European Studies students experience the content of their own study programs? What is their understanding of European Studies as a profession? To what extent do they feel prepared for the life as a European profession by their study programs? How secure are these students about their future career paths? And finally how does a student’s personal understanding of European Studies shape his or her professional formation? These phenomenographic questions build the corner stone of this thesis’ framework. In order to answer them an online survey has been conducted, which is primarily directed at the students’ ambitions for a career in one of the EU institutions, the way they think their European Studies program has changed their view on the EU and their way about feeling European. These so-called key questions were subsequently taken on by a series of personal interviews. These interviews were designed to gain a deeper insight into the choices the students have made in answering the key-questions and the way they link these choices back to their understanding of the phenomenon European Studies. As a last step the different understandings of this phenomenon could be linked to individual perceptions of students’ professional formation. The outcome is the identification of three groups of students, who each share a certain understanding of European Studies and related career goals, and therefore perceive their professional formation in a similar way. These groups are: the EU Professionals, the Undecided and the Academics. A second step of analysis, the linking back of these groups as the outcomes of the interviews to the combinations of answers given to the three key-questions, as the outcomes of the survey, showed that the Undecided is the most prominent group amongst European Studies students.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:81 education, teaching
Programme:European Studies BSc (56627)
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