No longer a student…

I’m so happy! Last week I defended my master thesis and therefore graduated with a distinction after 5.5 years of studying. I have been working on my dissertation for quite some time, and although it might not be of interest to all readers, I wanted to share a little bit of what I’ve been working on so much.

Picking a topic for my dissertation turned out to be easier than expected when I came across a flyer for a PhD research in March 2006. They were asking for people who wanted to get in touch with either French or English expats in the Netherlands. Since I’ve been abroad myself, and I know how important and fun it was for me to get in touch with people from that country, I wanted to participate. Although students were not allowed to participate, I had found myself a topic for my own dissertation!

In February 2007 I started my research, which was part of the PhD research by drs. M. van Bakel. With the title “Cross-cultural adjustment: the key to expatriate success?”, I examined the relation between cross-cultural adjustment and job performance of Western English- and French speaking expatriates in The Netherlands. Although the process is quite complicated and it’s hard to summarise the results in a short blog post, the following findings were of most practical importance:

  • having a partner that is adjusted to the new country, be in regular contact with fellow expatriates, to be intercultural communication competent and to have a certain level of language skills is of great importance for the adjustment of the expat
  • there are several forms of expat adjustment that are of great importance to a successful job performance, however, being psychologically adjusted (to feel well and satisfied with the international assignment) stands out the most

I have talked to many people, such as relocation agencies, expatriates, fellow students, friends and family, about my thesis but the nicest comment about it came during a job interview at a multinational. The interviewer said it was the most interesting and useful dissertation he had ever heard of and we discussed about it for almost half an hour! Right now, I’m happy that I’ve finished and I’m enjoying my last free days of the year. I hope you’ll do the same :-)

Fashion Fotography = Art?

I had already read about it in Dutch press, and during my short visit to Düsseldorf the past week some banners reminded me of the exhibition again. I’m talking about the current exhibition in the NRW Forum called MODE:BILDER.

This exhibition combines three things that I enjoy a lot; namely photography, fashion and art! The exhibition is on until 24th March 2008 and shows a selection of works by 100 photographers extending over a period from 1843 to 2006. The main accent is derived the personal style of the collector and curator F.C. Gundlach. The main theme of the exhibition is that it wants to make clear that fashion photography involves a lot more than the mere reproduction of an item of clothing.

Bilder Dovima with elephants

Interesting is that the exhibition is literally divided into two parts. The first part is the more classic part of the exhibition, focusing on elegance. My favourite picture ‘Dovina with elephants – 1955 – Richard Avedon’, which I’ve posted here, is the quintessential of this style. The second part, on the other side of the building, was much more contemporary and controversial. The intriguing picture of a naked John Lennon wrapped around Yoko One (by Annie Leibowitz) was part of this section, together with quite some great David LaChapelle pictures (see below, Milk Maids). I have absolutely enjoyed the exhibition, and I can recommend anyone who is slightly interested in either photography or fashion to visit it!

David LaChapelle Milk Maid