Humans of IHS: Sharon Welsh

Humans of IHS is a mini-portrait series that features the people who make IHS a unique place. Many urban professionals with common roots describe it as a welcoming, familiar space. But what stands out the most from their experience are the people part of the institute. This is what drove us to create this mini-series: the wish to give others a glimpse of the amazing people that make IHS special.

Sharon Welsh is part of the Professional Services staff at IHS and is one of the two information managers who run the IHS library. Apart from the various responsibilities she has, she is mainly involved in communicating with students and staff, and developing the IHS library into a dynamic multifunctional information knowledge hub for the institute.

From England to the Netherlands

Sharon originally comes from England, but as she likes to joke, she has been living in the Netherlands longer than in her home country. Before joining IHS, she travelled a lot until she “brought the wheel to herself” one day. After a few years of travelling around the world, at IHS the world comes to her, the various people from different cultures.

“I remember when I came here for the job interview many years ago. The moment I set foot on the floor, it felt like home”.

Sitting in the centre of IHS

Sharon’s biggest takeaway from her work at IHS is the chance to meet new people every day and be around them. 

“My desk is in the centre of the IHS, which means that people come to me and ask me all sorts of questions”. 

She enjoys giving lessons and teaching people how the learning environment works. Even though students often ask her about things unrelated to books or academic information, Sharon is always there to help them. 
When asked about her favourite moment at IHS, Sharon highlighted:

“IHS is very special to me. Every day here is my favourite memory. It’s nice to be with students and colleagues, talk with them and be helpful.”

Being around people 

What she likes the most is the dynamics at the institute. Sharon works closely with the students and both academic and professional services staff.

“My favourite part of the job is being surrounded by people from all over the world. I really enjoy it. I like the participants, I like my colleagues, I like the interns.”

She is also happy that many students who return to the Netherlands stay in touch with her. “If they are here, they will drop by my table or send me a message, and I send them a virtual hug.” She also adds that she is proud of them in every step of their journey.

“IHS is like a magnet. It pulls you back, and people return one way or another.”

Art classes & Qi Gong

Art is one of Sharon's passions and in her free time she is giving art classes. One day she decided to start a workshop at IHS, which over the years turned into a permanent art class she gives twice a week where all students and staff are invited.

“I love art, and I think these classes are a great, informal way to bring people together.”

“Most of the time, they talk with each other in class, but it's only about something to do with their studies. They need a different environment where they are more relaxed and actually get to know each other.”

Alongside giving art classes, Sharon also practices Qi Gong, a traditional Chinese movement exercise.

“When the pandemic started, everyone was at home, sitting at their desk, so I thought about what people need during these difficult times.”

This is how she started giving online Qi Gong classes via Zoom and when she is at IHS she gives them in person there too, where all staff and students can join. “I really enjoy doing it because you need only 20 minutes, and you already feel better.”

At the end of the interview, we asked Sharon if she wanted to add something or leave a message for the students:

“During this pandemic, a lot of things happened. I just want to send greetings to everybody. I know they're getting over their fears because many people are still scared, but I hope they are all okay and doing well.”

Compare @count study programme

  • @title

    • Duration: @duration
Compare study programmes