Melodie Zöllner:

My name is Melodie Zöllner, I am 20 linkedinfotoyears old, and I am a third year Language and Culture studies student at Utrecht University. In my study I focus on Intercultural Communication with modern language French, which entails that all my core courses are in French. Next to this, I am also following the Humanities Honours Program in the direction of media and culture, and I am currently doing a minor in Arts Policy and Management.

My study already reflects my broad interests quite good. I love traveling, learning languages, discovering new cultures and meeting interesting people from all over the world. Next to these intercultural interests, I am a sportive girl (tennis, karate, dancing) and I love arts, writing and fashion. My ultimate goal is to combine this creativity and intercultural communication, and to obtain a successful international career in the fashion industry. Last year I studied in Lyon for seven months and it was the best time of my life. While connecting with the people I became part of this culture and learned incredibly much. Now I can’t wait to immerge myself in other cultures and get inspired by the people and their ways of thinking. I am looking forward to working together with people from different disciplines and origins and I am very curious to see the outcomes of our collaboration. With all our different perspectives and inputs it must lead us to some very interesting projects.

Liza Rinkema

I hope I can present myself correctly in this short bio, since I believe there is so much more to a person than just dry facts. But I will try. I am Liza, a 19-year old student Media and Culture at Utrecht University. My field of interest mostly concerns the performing arts and their place within society. I’m very interested in how different art disciplines exactly interact with each other within a piece. The pieces I find most interesting are the ones you can’t easily signify as, for instance, just ‘theatre’ or ‘film’ or ‘dance’ but are rather a mix of disciplines. I also find it very interesting how art and society relate to each other. With that I mean for instance how art works within the public space or how community art develops. Another way how art relates to society is the interaction between representation (for instance of gender, ethnicity, sexuality etc.) and public opinion, which is also part of my interests. Another topic I am working on while writing this bio, is the difference between science and the arts. I am researching the ways in which art can be scientific and science artistic, which I find really fascinating to think about. Outside of my academic interests I like very regular things like hanging out with friends, listening to music, reading and sometimes, when I feel like it’s been too long, I like to go running. I am also taking acting classes which I really enjoy and I’ve just finished a short series of (modern) dancing lessons. I have danced and acted from a young age so I like to continue with that next to my studies, and although sometimes that can get really busy, it is totally worth it. So, that’s me in a (very small) nutshell.

Martijn Kool


My name is Martijn Kool, a second year history student at the University of Utrecht. I was born in ‘De Meern’, a small village close to Utrecht, but currently I am living in the city itself. Within the history study I am specializing in Conflict Studies and International Relations and I am especially interested in the way we can use history as a tool to better understand processes and events which occurs in the contemporary time. In my opinion it’s impossible to understand contemporary events without looking at its history. However, history isn’t my only interest. To make sure I am able to get the most out of my period of being a student, I decided to join the Humanities Honours community in an attempt to work more interdisciplinary.  I am really looking forward towards the research exchange between the University of Utrecht and the Hong Kong University and hopefully we are able to achieve great things together!


Marijn Smid:

IMG_2916 (1)Born and raised in Hilversum, the city that advertises itself as the media centre of The Netherlands, I grew up with a large degree of international awareness. I went to the International School Hilversum, where I finished the International Baccalaureate (Gymnasium niveau). I worked jobs ever since I was thirteen years old, ranging from editor in chief for a multimedia-website to cashier at a market stand for fruit and vegetables and have always been active in sports, music and in my academic career. I am an pro-active and motivated worker. Through my international high school as well as further experiences (community service in the Dominican Republic, frequent stays at the University College Utrecht) I have become very internationally oriented and I am fascinated by the interaction and interplay of different cultures.

Simone de Roode

SimoneDear reader,

My name is Simone de Roode and I am a third year Liberal Arts & Sciences student specializing in Conflict Studies and International Relations at the University of Utrecht. Even though I had a clear vision of in what field I wanted to work after my university education I believe every issue society faces is a multifaceted one. This motivated me to get a Liberal Arts degree, with a broader scope, instead of a regular degree. Now, after three years, I have obtained knowledge of economics, history and philosophy all focused around the central themes of my specialization: conflict analysis, conflict resolution and international politics. The Humanities Honours Programme has provided me with academic and personal challenges. I have improved my writing and researching skills, I have learned how to organize events and have fruitful academic discussions.

I am interested in the way art and media can influence people’s believes and ideology. I have experimented with the former myself during the five years of theatre school I attended. Of course more factors influence society and people’s thoughts and I hope to explore this through the Research Exchange.

Merlijn Karg:

13318696_10208235076387061_1390665358_nMy name is Merlijn Karg and I am in my second year of the bachelor Comparative Literature at Utrecht University. I live Amsterdam and I study in Utrecht because the university’s Comparative Literature program offers a broad perspective on worldwide literature. I started studying Comparative Literature to enhance my own writing and to become a more critical and understanding reader. I have been a fan of manga since I was a teenager. This passion led me to study the cultural history of Japan at first and has expanded into the continuous study of East Asian culture. Literature is my forte, but my field of interest generally consists of the interaction between media and society. Even though the relevance of the Humanities is a hot topic in our university and society, I find that the Humanities are especially important now that our world becomes more globalized. Studying culture allows us to remain critical of ideas, wether they are spatially near to or distant from us. More importantly, being critical of culture allows us to gain a better understanding of others, because it reminds us how we are all affected by culture, wether that is in our favor or against it. Because the knowledge I have acquired at university has allowed me to break free from some heavy ideological chains (rather dramatic, but true), I am very passionate about educating teenagers. I remind them that media itself is created by someone who has certain goals, which are oftentimes aimed to empty their wallets. To rest assured: the goal of this bio was merely to introduce myself to the HRE community. I am really looking forward to working together with such motivated students from Hong Kong university. I am sure that from our collaboration will spring exciting new knowledge!

Jopie de Zeeuw:

2016-05-24-13-14-06-1My Name is Jopie de Zeeuw. I’m twenty years old. I study art history at the university of Utrecht. I have always had a passion for art. First I made art myself, I did prior education on an art academy too. Now I am studying art history, but I still like to be creative. I don’t only like to make art, I am a creative thinker too. I prefer modern art. I love big installations and pop art. When I have finished my study I like to be a facilitator in the art world. I like to bring the art or the artist and the art closer together. I would like to bring people in contact with art, even when they not like to go to a museum. When I like something, I can be very enthusiastic. I’m adventurous and like to try a lot. Despite I like my study a lot, I really appreciate my vacations too. Then I like to go camping. I work in restaurant for a few years now. This improved my spontaneity and dealing with others

Solange Manche:

SolangeLet me present myself. I am currently a third year student of English Language & Culture at Utrecht University who chose the literature path. At the moment, however, I reside in Istanbul as an Erasmus student. The reason I went to Istanbul is that I am particularly interested in the link between literature and politics, or more specifically the political.

Before starting my studies at Utrecht University, I studied fine arts for two years. I am still concerned with the arts and hope to find a way to express that during the exchange programme. If I would have to name a few artists who really impressed me, I would name Bill Viola, Alfredo Jaar, Lee Ufan, and Jan Fabre. Besides, what we would call in a purist way the visual, or fine arts, I also enjoy theatre very much and try to engage with it on a more professional level.

Before moving to the Netherlands in order to pursue higher education there, I lived in France. I lived there for over eight years. Luckily I speak French fluently, since today I am very appealed by French philosophy of the 1960s/70s. Currently I am writing my BA thesis. I am writing a critical analysis of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged,mainly making use of Roland Barthes’s Mythologies and Antonio Gramsci’s concept of Hegemony. I am equally interested in the question of the environment, sustainability and waste prevention. I participate, and participated, in actions that seek to prevent waste and mainly food waste.

Etrey Goh:

13271882_1738996176380393_439982431_oEtrey is second year at the University of Hong Kong, pursing a major in Economics and Finance. He is a Malaysian where his work experience includes interning as a Risk Management Analyst at the Maybank, one of the largest banks in South Asia, and working as Marketing Analyst at various SMEs in the realm of fashion and property in Malaysia. He is an alumi of Axiata Young Talent Programme that consists of highly selected bright Malaysian students across the globe.  He is now a consultant at the HKU Student Consulting Group, which works on various projects whose clients are ranging from NGOs to Startups. He also serves as a Common Core Student Ambassador. His interests include travelling, flyboarding and playing basketball.

Sheela Ganesh:

13271499_1111818935555485_1714308817_oI am Sheela Ganesh, a freshman at the University of Hong Kong, double majoring in Education and Arts. As an enthusiastic and motivated student who enjoys studying literature and spreading the value of language through education, I have worked closely with learning centres in my desire to impart knowledge to young children through storytelling and writing. Therefore, I recognize the importance of making a difference through informing and educating with the aid of my social skills. These skills will help me greatly in the aspect of encouraging change through this project. Moreover, being one of the stage managers of this year’s Shax Theatre Group drama production, “The Two Gentlemen of Verona”, working together closely and communicating with various groups within the production is part of my responsibility. This skill allows me to engage and communicate actively with other participating students belonging to various disciplines. In my free time, I enjoy becoming aware of world changing issues that spark debate and discussion through news clips and interviews, enabling me to be well-informed of different stances and corresponding reasons.

Gayatri Joshi:

13288428_836220633150516_732363580_oI am Gayatri Joshi, currently studying a double degree in arts and education, focusing on the English Language. This programme aims to model us into educators with curiosity for the world and a passion for imparting knowledge. Having taught for about 3 years now, the passion for change and the curiosity is undoubtedly embedded in me. To all of the students I teach, I have an aim, focusing on their improvement in a given amount of time, questioning my methods as well as their learning styles, constantly making advancements. I do believe that if a change is needed, may it be for a student or a whole community, the passion for it is a necessity, as it is the driving force to keep one going. Therefore if  passion exists, the modification  in a society, the environment, a community or a culture will surely be a visible, and this is what I am looking forward for; working with equally passionate people for a change that is a necessity for the world we live in.

Htet Thiri Shwe:

13288688_10208328793593393_737541080_oTransDisciplinary Undergraduate Research Exchange is a very excellent learning program that fits into our today’s world by learning critical thinking, problem solving, research skills and practices, creativity and collaboration skills. In our highly connected world, problems are interconnected as civil war in Syria leads to immigration crisis in Europe. Collaboration is very crucial in our world and especially the collaboration in different geographical region is a new trend in our generation and much needed for future advancement of humanity and peace. Through this research exchange, I believe that we could create tangible and impact solution to our today’s problem like borderless youth ministry, gender equality, world youth cultural library. It could be start of where new model comes up as we build things and make things happen instead of publishing papers. We could be social engineers through this research exchange program and create small but impact solutions.

Saad Ali Faizi:

13271784_1210031142340647_928419012_oAny contemporary topic never fails to garner my attention; issues over the natural and built environments particularly allure me. Truly, I cannot stress enough on the value of sustainable development in the status-quo. Eco-Industrial parks surely set up one fine example of the concept, and are intriguing to research, studying their buildability, layout, and potential in promulgating industrial symbiosis. While the concept is relatively unheard of in many countries, both Hong Kong and Netherlands have such parks in operation. Moreover, new projects are underway. With such great opportunities, we can study the topic in-depth, conducting site visits and surveys. We can also take the initiative of informing public about these ingenious concepts, in attempt to educate them extensively about sustainable development. We can engage ourselves in the designing stage of upcoming projects and maybe come up with an idea of our own to help the parks in functioning better.

Mun Yee

Mun YeeHey there, my name’s Mun Yee. Currently a senior finishing up a Bachelor of Arts in the University of Hong Kong, I am looking to pursue a Master’s degree in Art History or Fine Arts. Hopefully my efforts would allow me to have a career in the art industry permanently. I was originally studying economics and finance for two years as an undergrad; I switched in my third year but still like incorporating economics into my studies within the Art Faculty. I find it very engaging to understand how art navigates within the business world. On the side, I like to venture outdoors whenever I can to get away from the city. I like to climb things and would know great spots in Hong Kong if anyone is up for an adventure. We may get lost, but it’ll be fun. I also enjoy thriller novels, the latest being Tom Rob Smith’s Child 44 trilogy on the socialist times of Russia. Other than that, huge fan of anime and peanut butter. Looking forward to meeting our Utrecht friends soon!

Faustina Yip

FaustinaHi everyone! I’m Faustina, a final year student from Malaysia studying in the University of Hong Kong. With a major in History and a minor in Music, my areas of interests vary between Western and Chinese history, but I’m mostly fascinated by the dynamics of the history between Singapore and Malaysia, given the disadvantageous social and economic position that Singapore held decades before and eventually emerging as a developed nation, Other areas of interests include the usage of education as a platform in understanding the refugee crises, especially in the displacement cases of Middle Eastern refugees. It is with this mindset that I will be pursuing a Master’s degree in Middle Eastern Studies, hoping to combine it with historiography and its methodologies and hopefully, later on with education. In participating in this Research Programme, it has given me the opportunity to combine my areas of interests and make use of my degree, giving me the chance to approach the projects in an inter-disciplinary manner, which I find it to be more necessary in academics and society nowadays.  As of now, I’m currently working as a part-time English teacher and working on an educational law project, which I believe will help me gain practical experience to apply to my studies and future career. During my free time, I like to read and play sports, such as lacrosse or climbing with a group of friends to relax and enjoy life. I also like to play the piano and erhu, though I’m still pretty bad at it! Really excited in working in this project and exchanging cultures and ideas with our Utrecht friends!


Un(fore)seen Cultures: speculations on minority politics, future societies and displacement

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