Where in the World: Francijna van Alphen, Class of 2013

As can be seen from our map, LUC alumni can be found all over the world. Today’s post was written by Francijna van Alphen, World Politics Major, Class of 2013.


World Politics Major, Class of 2013

Life in Exciting Guangzhou, South China. 

Time flies in China’s mighty manufacturing city: exciting Guangzhou. Already five months ago I started my traineeship at the Economic Department of the Netherlands Consulate-General in Guangzhou.

Driven by China’s economic boom and my interest in the Sino-Dutch economic cooperation, I applied for a traineeship at one of the most beautiful Netherlands Consulates-General in the world, with an office that overlooks Guangzhou’s Tianhe Central Business District and that exhibits the best of Dutch design.

It is fascinating to experience the excellent trade and investment relationship between China and the Netherlands. To seek business opportunities in South China and to contribute to the extensive Dutch economic network, which helps both Chinese and Dutch businesses to cooperate with potential partners.

My traineeship has taught me that China and the Netherlands offer each other a great deal of cooperation: from water management, food security, urban planning, renewable energy to health care. I also found out that the famous Canton TV Tower was designed by two Dutch architects!

A typical day at the Consulate does not really exist. My responsibilities are diverse and include promoting the Dutch Top Sectors, providing matchmaking services, monitoring social media and supporting trade missions. Besides this I was in charge of organizing the H2o13 Conference, which successfully brought together Chinese and Dutch stakeholders from the soil and water sector, including governmental representatives, renowned companies, universities and young professionals.

During my free time I enjoy exploring the world of Chinese cuisine (especially Chengdu and Sichuan dishes!), visiting international art exhibitions in Guangzhou, participating in events of the Benelux Chamber of Commerce and meeting other expats at activities of InterNations. The most important lesson I have learned so far, is that the “Guanxi” network is essential in China’s business environment and business culture.

The interdisciplinary combination of a major World Politics, a minor Mandarin Chinese and a Business and Entrepreneurship track at LUC The Hague has proven to be excellent for my 6-months traineeship at the Consulate-General in Guangzhou. LUC has challenged me to put theory from courses such as international trade, international politics and Mandarin Chinese into practice. Giving presentations, reporting, data collection, organizing, networking, interviewing and budget management are just to name but a few valuable skills that I gained during my studies.

After experiencing what it is like to work in the public sector, I would be thrilled to work in the private sector for 1 or 2 years, before applying for a PhD at Sciences Po or an MBA at Harvard Business School.

I would like to encourage you all to dream big and aim higher to reach your academic and professional goals!

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