Student portraits

Magnus

Graduated BIDS in 2019. 

What was your major and did you do any internship or MFS?

I majored in Economic History, which was the subject I expected to enjoy the least when I started the programme but I ended up loving it!  

I did a desk study rather than an internship or field study. I spent a couple of months digging through colonial records to study the impacts of the Central African Federation on Nyasaland (modern-day Malawi). It might not sound the most exciting but I actually enjoyed the process of exploring the historical documents, kind of like an incredibly dull Indiana Jones. Apparently, 640 people have downloaded my thesis so that's kind of cool. 

Why did you choose to study BIDS?

I was drawn in by the interdisciplinary approach and the subject just sounded really interesting. It was actually the only course I applied to, so lucky I got in really! 

It was my second crack at uni, having previously dropped out of Ecology at Edinburgh University. I knew if I were to go back, it would have to be for something I found really engaging and BIDS turned out to be perfect. It also helped that nobody tried to make me memorize the Latin names of trees the second time around... 

What do you think was the best part about studying BIDS and if you could, what would you change?

By far the best thing was my classmates, I had three amazing years with some of the kindest, funniest, most intelligent, and inspirational people you could wish to meet. Sounds a bit hyperbolic but honestly, the BIDS community is a special thing! 

Academically, I think BIDS gives you some really useful insights into the way the world works. There's a huge range of topics that BIDS gives you an overview of and I think that can act as a great base for going deeper into what interests you. 

I wouldn't change a thing about the programme! 

Do you have any tips to give to new BIDS students and/or students that are about to finish their education?

To new students- throw yourself into it, socially, academically, extra-curricular-ly. You've got time to try a lot of new things so find what you enjoy and really go for it. Obviously easier said than done but- don't stress too much about the academic stuff. There's plenty of help available if you need it so don't be afraid to ask. You'll get there! 

To those finishing- it probably going to be a really uncertain time, prepare for things to not always go the way you imagined. Be open to changing your plans and trying something different. Look after your mental health, work on some strategies to build your resilience if you can! 

What have you done since you graduated and is it related to the program?

I applied for a few development-related jobs in the UK but didn't have any luck. After a couple of months, I decided to move to New Zealand.  I came out here in September last year on a working holiday visa. 

About 3 weeks after arriving I landed a job at the Department of Conservation. Originally it was through a recruitment agency doing mainly admin work but they liked me and moved me to a direct contract, as a Systems Design Advisor. I work in a team that designs systems for how the department deals with our statutory functions, such as granting permissions to carry out activities on conservation land, engaging in planning consent processes, and writing management plans for national parks. Basically, it's our job to make these processes more efficient. 

New Zealand has some truly amazing and unique nature and I'm proud to work for an organization devoted to protecting it. I also recently got a new contract and visa so I can stay over here for another year, which I'm absolutely delighted about! 

If yes, what aspects of your education do you think has been the most valuable for you during your time after BIDS?

At first glance, my role might not seem related to development but there certainly are aspects that have come in handy. 

Firstly, the course Managing Sustainability, Society and Collective Behaviour proved very useful in my Essential Skills visa application, thanks to one of the teachers at BIDS! We also covered a bit of Systems Theory in BIDS which lines up nicely with my job. This is just an example of how you can link back to BIDS in some way to show you are qualified for a wide variety of roles.  

The other development-related issue which is very prominent in Aotearoa-New Zealand is the colonial history of the country. The Treaty of Waitangi/Te Tiriti o Waitangi (the document which set out the relationship between the British Crown and the indigenous Māori iwi) is still a very important political, cultural and social issue. DOC is legally bound to give effect to the principles of the treaty and so constant consideration of our obligations to our treaty partners is required. I won't go into too much detail here but it's a fascinating and really important topic which I'd encourage people to read into if they get the chance. (I can recommend Ka Whawhai Tonu Matou- Struggle Without End by Ranginui Walker for a history of Aotearoa from a Māori perspective) 

Student standing in front of Mount Taranaki in New Zealand.

Anna

I graduated from BIDS in 2018. As a major I had Political Science and I am very happy with the choice. I did not do any internships nor MSF during bids. However, I did an internship right after my studies. 

Why did you choose to study BIDS?

I think I really just wanted to study abroad. I had always been interested in things such as human rights, women's rights, democracy and so on. But it is actually thanks to my dad that I ended up in Lund. He used to work in Lund quite a bit and he told me about the university. I found BIDS programme and knew immediately that I wanted to apply. Luckily I got accepted. 

What do you think was the best part about studying BIDS and if you could, what would you change?

I think the best part was the fact that we were able to learn so much about different topics. I personally think that it is an advantage to study in an interdisciplinary programme. At the same time, we were able to choose a major which was also great. Also, I am still forever thankful to all of my classmates. I met some of the best people in Lund. 

What have you done since you graduated and is it related to the program?

After BIDS I decided to have a year off from studies as I knew that I wanted to do a Master's at some point. Right after my studies, I did an internship in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. I worked in a local NGO for 4 months. After that, I worked as a teacher in my home country, Finland. After I year of working I started missing studying so I applied to the University of Helsinki. I got accepted to a programme called Global Politics and Communication. I am majoring in Global Political Economy. Currently, I am starting my final year. I am also doing an internship at Plan International Finland at the moment. So I would say I have done quite a bit that is related to BIDS. But once again what is related and what is not?

What aspects of your education do you think has been the most valuable for you during your time after BIDS?

I think in general just the fact that we learn so many things about many different topics. At some point, I was confused as it felt like I actually did not know anything. However, I have started to realise how much I was learning during my year in BIDS including knowledge on theories and methodologies and so on.  But I have to say that I have never needed SPSS in my life so far so if you hate quantitative methods, don't you worry - you'll be fine. 

Student sitting outside, smiling.

Dina 

Graduated BIDS in 2015.

What was your major and did you do any internship or MFS? If yes, where?

I graduated from BIDS in 2015 with a major in Economic History.  After my first year, I did an internship with UNICEF Kazakhstan, which was my first time encountering the UN system. 

Why did you choose to study BIDS?

As I was graduating from high school, I decided to pursue the career where I can help people, so I entered the med school in Kazakhstan but shortly I felt that this was not for me. After browsing through different programs abroad I came across BIDS, which was something very different from all the programs offered for undergraduates. BIDS drew my attention as the interdisciplinary program, where I could freely pursue my interests in economics, politics, social policy and others. 

What do you think was the best part about studying BIDS and if you could, what would you change?

I really appreciate the program’s flexibility, which allows the students to pursue their own interests and structure the program to suit their personal and career goals. As I was interested in economic development and particularly, Asian Economic Miracles, I went for an exchange year at Ritsumeikan University in Japan. During my exchange studies I was able to learn more on the topic of economic miracles and explore different perspectives on global development and international assistance. Overall, I think that the program has a great balance between the theory and practice, and I was able to benefit from the gained knowledge and skills both in my career and graduate studies. 

Do you have any tips to give to new BIDS students and/or students that are about to finish their education?

I would really advise BIDS students to use all the great resources and opportunities university and department offer be it exchange studies, career services, guest lectures, volunteering and others.  

What have you done since BIDS and is it related to the program?

Currently, I am serving as an International UN Volunteer at UNDP IICPSD in Istanbul, Turkey. I support the advancement of Digital Transformation solutions through volunteerism in development organizations, SMEs, CSOs worldwide, and particularly in Global South. Previously, I worked and volunteered for UN agencies as well as international non-profits such as Oxfam Novib, Eurasia Foundation of Central Asia and Penal Reform International. 

If yes, what aspects of your education do you think have been the most valuable for you during your time after BIDS?

I can’t single out a particular course as the most valuable for my career but rather I think that the most valuable takeout from BIDS for me would be the holistic thinking. Thanks to BIDS I understood that it is always important to see the bigger picture and consider the possible positive and negative outcomes of any project or policy. 

Portrait of a student named Dina
Picture of a student named Dina sitting on a bench.,