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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Arts
December 10, 2016
Canadian Excellence



Faculty of Arts

Finding My Niche in Global Studies

By Shafferan Sonneveld, class of 2011

Oct 5/11


Dr. John Ejobowah, Chair of Global Studies (

I graduated from Global Studies in 2011 and I am currently pursuing a two-year Masterís Degree (LLM) in International Laws at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. At Maastricht, I am building on my desire to seek global justice, a desire that I developed as a Global Studies student. This passion for global justice, and most notably human rights, emerged from the variety of inspiring courses I was able to explore in the different streams that Global Studies has to offer, namely Peace and Conflict, Comparative Development, and Globalization and Culture.

Taught by passionate professors with a genuine care for the subject matter and the students, they have encouraged students like myself to critically analyze global injustices through interactive lectures, community projects, real-life interviews, academic research and class discussions in a multi-faceted manner. Having a strong sense of what global issues entail with this interdisciplinary background that I gained at Laurier, I am now undertaking challenges posed in the international legal arena with a more kaleidoscopic lens.

Since the field of International Laws requires a wide understanding of global interactions, knowledge of a variety of languages and the ability to engage in intercultural dialogue, Global Studies has prepared me for these challenges in numerous ways. Like the Global Studies Department at Laurier, my current program also encourages students to develop intercultural skills by going on international exchange to a foreign university. At Laurier, I embarked on a 4-month intercultural/linguistic exchange to the University of Alicante in Spain during my third year and I went on a 6-month exchange to the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa through the International Human Rights Exchange program in my fourth year. Here, I was able to gain hands-on experience as an Intern at the South African Human Rights Commission.

As a Global Studies student, I was also able to apply the theoretical material obtained in the classroom at relevant organizations in the Waterloo Region such as at Project Ploughshares as a Research Intern and at Focus for Ethnic Women as a Co-op Student. Moreover, the language component of my Global Studies degree has allowed me to minor in Arabic and Spanish and therefore prepared me to master two of the official languages of the United Nations. My current program also requires me to attain fluency in another language, which will be French.

At Laurier, I found my niche as a major in the Global Studies Department, where I was given the right amount of encouragement, guidance and freedom to develop my passions and to prepare myself for the next step in life, which is to continue the ongoing movement for justice as a human rights advocate.

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