M.A. EYS Student Portfolio


The origins and my expectations

by Leen Van Bockstal

Expectation. The word in itself has a spirit of dreaming, hoping, looking forward to something great to happen. It reminds me of a little child that cannot sleep the night before he goes to school or a far away holiday for the first time. Maybe I am a bit exaggerating, but on the other hand I feel like this little kid that cannot sleep and doesn’t know what to expect but is very curious and eager to discover. Where does this¬†eagerness comes from?

Years ago, I chose to study history in stead of sociology or pedagogical sciences. It was history, because I have always been extremely curious about the origins of everything. Where does one come from? Why do some things happen in certain circumstances, and others don’t? Are we able to have an influence on the track of things? Or is it just coincidence? Are there structures to discover in the sequence of events? This curiousness has become an established fact in my life. And at the end of my studies, I decided not to work directly as a historian (whatever job that could be). I decided to use this curiousness to stand with my two feet in every day reality, not in the past.
I became a professional youth worker, my second passion that I developed as a volunteer since I was 16. The last 5 years I have been working in different youth organisations. I was sure that my historian background would be enough, and even would be an asset to look at situations from a different point of view. I’m still sure that it helps me to look from an different angle to given situations.
But somehow I also felt sometimes that I was missing some theoretical background in sociology/pedagogical sciences/…
And on the other hand, my eagerness to learn, to be curious, to discover, hadn’t diminished.

Last summer I suddenly felt a stronger need to become a student again, to find a broader framework for the work I was doing. In organising the 1st European Youth Work Convention, a big conference during the Belgian Presidency, I had the chance to get in contact with so many new European youth (work) realities, points of view, organisations…that I really felt I had to learn more about the background, the context of all these realities. Also the European factor in my job was quite new. The time had come to become a bit of a student again.

So to end this little ‘history’, what do I expect from this short course?

-I really hope to discover some theoretical frameworks for the work I’m doing – broadening my view as a historian on the youth sector as a whole :-) In this, I’ll try to use and start with the same questions that I used in studying history:¬†Where does one come from? Why do some things happen in certain circumstances, and others don’t? Are we able to have an influence on the track of things? Or is it just coincidence? Are there structures to discover in the sequence of events?
-Next to the theoretical backgrounds I’m also curious about all the different points of views from the other students, but also from the tutors. What is their context and story, and which knowledge do they have to share? I find the idea of another intercultural experience, and another chance to discover some new people and realities very attractive.
-After years of not being a student, I wonder if I can manage the combination with a full time job and find the necessary discpline to keep on track.
-I hope to improve my English and my e-learning skills.

Let’s hope my eagerness to learn and my curiousness will help! In the meantime, I’ll be the kid that cannot sleep…

Leen