20 of 2020: Jelle switched careers and became a dad

Jelle Van Goethem
17 December 2020 |

We are nearing the end of this strange and special year, 2020. Time to reflect on the status quo. 20 people with links to Ghent University were selected at random. They tell us what 2020 meant to them, what they will carry over to next year and above all: what they hope for in 2021.

Jelle Van Goethem graduated in 2010 with a master degree in history from Ghent University. After an advanced master’s programme in business economics and teacher training programme, he spent seven years working as a teacher. Until this year, when he changed jobs. 2020 was also a milestone in his private life, being the year his first son was born.

What did 2020 mean to you?

“In August, it was one year since I started work as a ‘detached’ teacher. The idea is that you are ‘loaned’ to a business, which leads to some interesting cross-pollination. I spent a year at meemoo, in the Education Archives. They provide teachers with digitised audio-visual content from museums and public or commercial broadcasting networks. Such fragments are certainly handy in times of remote education. My role was to select fragments that were interesting for first grade history, STEM, and people and society. In September I was offered a permanent position at meemoo. I fancied something new, so I seized the opportunity. Even so, it was quite a dilemma, as I also enjoyed teaching. It felt strange to be forced to work from home very shortly afterwards.”

Jelle Van Goethem

Of which accomplishment are you most proud in the past year?

“The birth of my first son! That had an enormous impact. He was born in July. The last months of the pregnancy were during the lockdown. It was such a pity that we could welcome so few visitors, and that we unable to share the preparations – it’s nearly D-day! – as much as we’d imagined. Once he was born we actually found more advantages: we weren’t immediately faced with a mass of visitors in the hospital. Working from home meant we could enjoy plenty of peace and quiet, with just the three of us, which certainly had its charms. My son is a very happy chap. Not the best sleeper, but wonderful in every other way.”


Last year was like no other, but it was also filled with warmth. We supported each other and shared in each other’s ups and downs. Now this is your chance to thank everyone who was there for you. Not in the usual way, but with a virtual projection of your best wishes onto the Book Tower.

Who do you most admire at Ghent University?

“I have had lots of really good professors, so it’s tricky to choose just one. I enjoy keeping in touch with friends who work at Ghent University, including Hans Blomme. That means I’m still involved in the university where I spent so many years.”

What do you hope for in 2021?

“A solution for corona, so that everyone can return to the office and get together without restriction. Above all, it’s so annoying not to be able to see friends and family, or when it’s allowed, having to be really careful. I hope we can return to normal.”

What do you wish other people at Ghent University in 2021?

“Lots of people might go travelling. However, we couldn’t do that, because my wife was pregnant. Everything went smoothly in my professional life. So above all, I think I’d warn the people close to me who caught the disease to watch out. And I’d really make the most of meeting up with friends and family.”

What do you wish other people at Ghent University in 2021?

“Good health, of course. Hopefully an effective vaccine and some normality.”


20 people with links to Ghent University were selected at random. They tell us what 2020 meant to them, what they will carry over to next year and above all: what they hope for in 2021.

Read also

Ghent University Alumnus of the Year Marianne De Backer: “When someone tells you you’re too ambitious, you’re on the right track”

Marianne De Backer is a heavyweight in the world of biotechnology. Today she is CEO of Vir Biotechnology, a biotech company headquartered in Silicon Valley. She is a champion of women in leadership positions in this still male-dominated industry.

Alumnus van het jaar

Connected to Ghent University for life: why our alumni are so important to us

The role of alumni within any university is not to be underestimated. “Our contact with ex-students is immensely important for so many reasons: research, education, reputation, talent management and more besides…. ,” maintains Emeritus Professor Kristiaan Versluys.

Alumni UGentt

Serhat goes from Ghent University to Harvard: "I want to bring healthcare to people who are excluded from it"

Serhat Yildirim (26) just completed his final exams in medicine after which he will start at the prestigious Harvard University. He was admitted for the two-year master's degree in Global Health Delivery.

Serhat Yldirim

First Ghent University, then the world

Ghent university has a global network. Through international research projects, collaboration agreements with other universities, exchange programmes, ... And also through its many alumni, who fly off in all directions after their studies.

Peter Cnudde