This month’s talent has travelled over 6000 kilometers to follow her dream: work for the Dutch news organisation NOS in Washington D.C.. Simone Tukker has a bachelor in American Studies (RUG) and managed to get a three month internship for her master study Journalism in the United States. During the elections. We spoke to her about the ins and outs.
What exactly are you doing in Washington D.C.?
“I am a junior producer. This means that I’m assisting with television and radio productions. Keeping track of news, making phone calls, sending e-mails and sometimes getting to go to special events. Big events, like the elections and hurricane Sandy are obviously interesting news facts, but sometimes we have to look for smaller news, which is still interesting for Dutch citizens. That’s the hardest part of my job.”
How did you get the internship?
“I was lucky that I knew the previous intern, who was also from Groningen. That’s how I knew about the opening, but I did have to apply like anyone else. I had to write a letter and do an interview over the phone with three people from the NOS. But I did it all and got the job. Afterwards, I wondered how many applications there were. It turned out there was a huge interest in the internship.”
What did you have to do before you could move to Washington D.C.?
“The most important thing is to get a visa, otherwise you can’t get into the country. Then I had to arrange somewhere to live, which is quite hard if you are going to move to the other side of the world. I found a student house, which is called International Student House (ISH). I also had to apply for the ISH, because they want people who are social. You can’t live there if you want to stay in your room all day. Now I live with people from all over the world, Chinese, Argentinians. Every morning we eat together and on Sunday we have a family lunch. In the U.S., you have roommates, which I had to get used to. But I have a really nice Danish roommate, who also studied American Studies.”
What is the coolest thing you did?
“I got to go to a press conference of Obama in the White House. All the big news media were there, like CNN and BBC. People are already asking me if I am becoming tired of Obama, because I have already seen him a couple of times. But I also got to see a ‘Romney Rally’, which was totally different from Obama’s rallies. It was held on the country side, where we could find ‘real’ Americans. That was particularly interesting, because of the huge differences between Obama and Romney voters.”
What do you miss most about the Netherlands?
“The Dutch ‘gezelligheid’ (cosiness), like eating together with my parents and sister. In the U.S., people mostly go out to eat, and I miss sitting and eating at home. Going out is also very different here. When you go out you go to a club or a sports bar, but I miss just going for a beer in a pub in the Poelestraat.”
What do you suggest to students who want to do what you are doing?
“Be sure you know what you want and don’t be afraid to work hard. Keep trying your best. I have already known for a long time that I wanted to do this, but I had to work really hard to get here. And don’t be scared to move to the other side of the world. It can be hard in the beginning, but eventually, everything will turn out OK. Don’t think about what other people are capable of, but what your talent is. Have faith in yourself!”
By Yoni Pasman