Peter Hendriks (60), researcher in the group Innovative Social Service Provision at the University of Applied Sciences in Utrecht
'Until a few years ago I had no aspiration to pursue a PhD, nor could I imagine what such a project would entail. When my employer offered a chance to apply for a voucher, I saw it as a unique opportunity. Besides, it was a noble way to escape the daily pressure of educational practice. I was in my mid 50s when my application was accepted. It was almost funny to see how many people questioned my motives to commence a PhD project at that age. After all, it is often seen as a preparation for a career, so why invest in someone at the end of it?
I hoped to contribute to education in order to increase diversity of our student population and the inclusiveness of the profession. I have been involved in international education in the field of social work for almost 25 years now, and the connection between international and the intercultural dimensions of the work has always intrigued me. In my qualitative research I decided to focus on the Turkish and the Moroccan Dutch students studying social work, who represent the two largest minority groups in the Netherlands.
For me, all stereotypes about a PhD are true. It is a solitary, exciting process with many insecurities, which can even become obsessive from time to time. I have just started working on my fourth publication, and to my own surprise I have discovered that reading and writing during all those years have also become a rewarding experience'.
Researcher in the group Innovative Social Service Provision at the University of Applied Sciences in Utrecht