My name is Julle Bergenholtz. I come from southern Sweden and moved after my Bachelor’s to Stockholm to work with communication within development and peace issues, which I did with several organisations before starting my Master’s at Uppsala University in 2016. At Uppsala University I studied the Network on Humanitarian Action (NOHA) Master Programme in International Humanitarian Action.
I had been working in Swedish civil society organisations for a few years, mostly with communicating the work that my different employers were carrying out. During this time, I realised that I wanted to be more involved in creating these results, which made me realise I needed a Master’s degree focusing more on the content and context of carrying out development and/or humanitarian work. The NOHA Master’s programme therefore seemed like a perfect fit.
I wanted to study in Sweden for several reasons, and I felt Uppsala University worked well for me since I was living in Stockholm, but mostly because of its international reputation that would potentially grant me greater opportunities in my career. In reality, I only spent six months in Uppsala due to the structure of my Master’s programme. However, what I did enjoy was the diversity in activities one could do on campus, from fancy dinners to quiz nights and partying. There was something for everyone!
The atmosphere in class was really good, especially since we were quite a small class with only 13 people. Therefore, it was very vibrant and we could together try to create an ambitious level within the class. I would say the atmosphere was nice and progressive on campus, which I felt was a prominent feature in the extracurricular activities I participated in as well.
Since graduating in June 2018, I worked at the Department of Humanitarian and Conflict Affairs at the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs during the summer with Swedish humanitarian policy. Since then, I have been working as a humanitarian advisor for the Swedish INGO Diakonia, where I am responsible for the development and work of the humanitarian programme of the organisation.
Uppsala University prepared me for life after graduation in several ways. First, it provided me with increased knowledge about the current trends within the humanitarian sector, and how these would be relevant for the working field. It also provided me with a big network of future and current humanitarian workers in different countries and fields, which I have already been benefitting from in my work when I have needed specific expertise. Finally, it provided me with increased knowledge on how humanitarian policy is worked with from a state level, thanks to an internship I did at the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
I would like to say to future students that for me, it was key that I had worked within the NGO/INGO sector for a few years and thereby put time into really figuring out what I wanted to do with my career. This also meant that when I started studying, I had more understanding about the working sector than most other students, which made understanding the subject and tasks a lot better. So let things take their time and do not rush into the NOHA Master’s programme (or any Master’s programme for that matter) without being acquainted with the subject in one way or another beforehand in your experiences.
Read more about the Master Programme in International Humanitarian Action