“When you do things, you must do them well. That’s my approach to life,” says Ruaira. “I think America is the place to be if you want to make it big. So that’s why I wanted to get an international degree.”

The IBCoM student aspires to a career in either New York or Los Angeles. If it were up to her, she would become Justin Bieber’s new PR officer. “Perhaps it’s a bit of a cliché, but I really think he’s the bomb.” But even if Bieber is not in need of a new PR person, she still wants to go into PR. “Working with influencers is a new aspect of public relations. It’s getting more and more important, so there are more and more jobs in that field. I think that’s a very interesting development.”

Ruaira Maitimu

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Before the start of the academic year, and particularly before the first day of Eureka Week, Ruaira was sick with nerves. She did not know anyone and was afraid she would not feel at home in her group. “I was told the week would be mostly about attending parties, and I’m not much of a party animal. But I had such a great time. I actually sincerely miss that week. Once that week is over, you know a lot of people, and that’s a great basis on which to embark on your degree.”

With respect to said degree, Ruaira has a few reservations. Some of her lecturers could do with better English, and some of them like to make perfectly mundane things into big things. “A regular conversation is suddenly called ‘interpersonal communication’. That’s nonsense, as far as I’m concerned. Thankfully, we also talk a lot about the media, social media and fan culture. I find that a lot more interesting.”

Ruaira’s parents are not too worried by her wish to leave the Netherlands and build a career abroad. “They’re tremendously supportive. They just can’t always support me financially. Which is completely understandable – I have a sister and a brother, and attending uni is expensive. I don’t mind having to pay my own way, but it is hard. Some of my textbooks cost 150 euros each.” She says she is good at saving money, but does not make enough money in her side job (with a bakery in Woerden) to pay all her expenses. “I have a student loan, and I absolutely hate it. I wish I could get my degree without running up a debt. That is why I still live with my parents, because I’d rather spend my hard-earned money on being an exchange student in America.”