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“I don’t have stage fright. I just prefer to let other people shine”

“I don’t have stage fright. I just prefer to let other people shine” “I don’t have stage fright. I just prefer to let other people shine”

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Loraine Bodewes and archive TO

Alumni about their dreams: did they come true?

“I wouldn’t want to go back to my student days. I was so insecure back then. I didn’t live life to the fullest”, says Arts and Sciences alumna Tineke Oosterloo (49). She works as a journalist and has two sons with her husband, Raymond. “I’m no longer standing on the sidelines. I’m actively involved in the game now.”

Arts and Sciences alumna Tineke Oosterloo

She knew from an early age that she wanted to be a journalist. “I love acquiring knowledge, I love people, and I like sharing things. Journalism allows me to bring all that together.” That’s why Tineke Oosterloo enrolled in journalism school when she was eighteen years old, leaving her parental home in Sneek in the north of the Netherlands and moving sixty-five kilometres south to Zwolle. She was in her last year, doing an internship, when she realised she didn’t feel ready to enter the labour market. “There was so much I didn’t yet know about society, philosophy, art, politics…” Pursuing a degree in Arts and Sciences at Maastricht University was the perfect way to satisfy her desire for more knowledge. “I came here in 1993 and stayed”, she laughs. “I didn’t expect that. Then again, I didn’t want to move to the metropolitan west of the Netherlands. I’d worked as an intern in the cities of Leiden and Amsterdam; they’re too big, too busy. Maastricht is a better fit for me. The city is not too large and it’s located in a beautiful area where I can walk, run and cycle.” Though neither born nor raised in the province of Limburg, she calls herself a Limburger. “Unfortunately, I don’t speak the local dialect. People laugh at me when I try. But I can understand it. My husband, Raymond, is from around here. He does speak the local dialect, as does our eldest. Our youngest doesn’t; none of his friends happen to speak it.”

Sidelines

She loved the wide range of courses on offer at UM. “I like looking at different things from all kinds of perspectives.” She didn’t join a student association. “I went everywhere, attended the parties. I both was and wasn’t part of it all. I stood on the sidelines, not because I wanted to, but because I was insecure and it felt safer to me. I hid my insecurity from the world, though.”

Remaining loyal to journalism, she worked for Observant and for local radio station L1, where she made both radio reports and TV items. “I prefer radio – keeping in the background, with listeners only occasionally hearing my voice. Making a radio report allows you to really focus on a topic and place it at the centre of attention. The best compliment I can get is when someone tells me, ‘I felt like I was there’.” She doesn’t long to be in the spotlight herself, although she will take centre stage if she has to. “I don’t have stage fright. I just prefer to let other people shine.”

Dream job

After graduating, she landed a job as an information officer at the then Faculty of Economics. Soon after, a vacancy came up in the newsroom at L1, where she had worked for years as a student. “I really wanted it, but it wasn’t necessarily my dream job. I don’t think in those terms. I just love this work. Every day is different; sometimes I delve deeply into a topic and other times I quickly put an item together. And I get to go anywhere – the mayor’s office at city hall, the Euro summit, President Bush’s visit to Maastricht…”

Tough journalist

She isn’t a “tough journalist who badgers people with questions and puts them on the spot. I’m the kind of person who listens and prefers to go along with people, although I do remain critical, of course.” Like many journalists in the Netherlands, she has never had a permanent job. “I’m self-employed. I’ve always worked for different clients.” She is currently expanding her professional network again. “I didn’t work much for a while because our eldest son fell seriously ill. It took the doctors a while to find out what was going on with him. Fortunately, he’s recovering well and is now able to continue his schooling. He’s a smart kid, very driven and interested in many different things.”

Bon vivant

Did she always want to have children? She laughs. “I always liked the idea, but I was realistic about it: I would have to meet the right man and manage to get pregnant.” She met the right man when she was about thirty years old. “I was a very serious person. Raymond is a bon vivant. He’s a cook, works in the catering industry, trained as a pianist, studied law for a few years, reads the newspaper, is intelligent and takes a very relaxed approach to life. He was exactly what I needed. Our way of life is quite casual and cosy. We like having people over. We’ll cook, eat good food, and then Raymond will sit down at the piano and we’ll all sing together.”

Eighteen

What would eighteen-year-old Tineke think of all this? “She wouldn’t be surprised. I was looking for a balance – living a wild and adventurous life isn’t for me – and I found one. I’m very glad I did. What I didn’t realise when I was eighteen years old is that having children will leave a gap on your CV. I don’t consider myself a feminist, and I wouldn’t go to the barricades to fight for it, but I would like this to change. I’d like men and women to have the same opportunities.”

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