Just a stone’s throw away from the parliament of the Netherlands stands the most remote of Erasmus schools: The International Institute of Social Studies, a graduate school made up of mostly-international students. So who will you run into when you wander through the school? This time: PhD student Marina Cadaval Narezo (44) from Mexico.

How did you end up here at the ISS?

“Because of my parents. After the student protest on October 2, 1968 in Mexico City (the Tlatelolco Blood bath eds.), my mother wanted my father to study abroad. A year later, they moved to The Hague together where my father enrolled in a training program at the ISS. They have had such a good time here that I’ve always felt close the Netherlands, despite its differences with Mexico. When my boss in Mexico, without knowing something about my parents’ history, told me that the ISS might be something for me, I knew I had to do it. ”

Are the students here different than, for example, the other students at Erasmus?

“There is a whole different atmosphere here than in the rest of the academic world. Very open, with great attention to diversity and inclusivity. Students and employees come from all parts of the world and there is a lot of attention being placed within research and education on what is happening in those parts of the world. Everyone is working on problems within their own country. That’s unique.”

Everyone is working on problems within their own country. That’s unique

Marina Cadaval Narezo

What is the ‘ISS-feeling’ for you?

“An active community that focuses not only on the academic environment, but is looking for a much wider experience. The people are more than just standard young students. Everyone wants to have his or her voice draw attention to the issues within their home country and everyone is thinking practical ways.”

How does your future in the Netherlands look like?

“I consciously chose to continue at ISS and pursue a PHD after doing my Master’s. Not only because I felt like it, but also because my husband and children feel at home in the Netherlands. My parents planted their seed here fifty years ago, and although I’m not religious, I think it was meant to be to end up here.”