Universiteit Leiden

nl en

Alumnus Sam van Raalte: From psychology to podcast

How does a psychology graduate end up with a podcast? Alumnus Sam van Raalte followed his passion into freelance journalism. ‘I studied psychology to help others but you also help people by telling stories.’

Sam van Raalte

Passion for stories and freedom

Sam was born and bred in The Hague, so studying at Leiden University was the obvious choice. His friends found rooms in Leiden and joined associations. He initially wanted the same but decided at the last minute to follow a different path. This entailed finding his own place in The Hague, close to family and friends.

‘Writing stories fascinates me. Each one takes you into a different world.’

Sam graduated in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in journalism. His next step was a master’s in economic psychology. His fascination for journalism arose in a part-time job where he discovered he loved writing articles. That was the main reason why he decided to do a master’s in journalism. ‘Writing stories fascinates me. Each one takes you into a different world.’

He is now a freelance journalist and works for different editors and production companies. His passion project, the De Ondergrond podcast, is his creative outlet. ‘I had a permanent contract, which really is the exception in journalism. But I wanted to do things differently. I gave up my security and steady income and went freelance. It was a leap of faith. But what I get in return is worth so much more: I now have the freedom to do things my own way.’

De Ondergrond podcast
De Ondergrond podcast

De Ondergrond

His podcast De Ondergrond is a one-man production. His focus is on authenticity, so he won’t accept adverts and refuses to bow to the pressure to achieve certain audience figures. In the podcast, Sam shares the unique stories of people who have made the most idiosyncratic of choices. It’s different life experiences that interest him most. He explores the overarching theme of finding meaning in life and believes that despite their differences, people are essentially seeking the same things.

His background in psychology helps him understand the complexity of human emotions and behaviour, and his journalism skills help him approach interviews with an open mind and embrace different perspectives. There is always something to learn from other people’s motivations. ‘That’s the message I want to get across to my listeners. I want to help people understand each other and see it as my bit against the increasing polarisation.’

Follow your own path

Sam’s future plans focus on expanding his freelance work and growing De Ondergrond.

His message to others is strong and simple: ‘Choose your own path. Regardless of whether this means what you study or where you live or work. Own your decisions and everything will turn out fine.’

Text: Merel Rem

This website uses cookies.