My name is Rebecca Lindqvist and I am a graduate of the Network on Humanitarian Action (NOHA) Master Programme in International Humanitarian Action, and am currently working with UN OCHA in Turkey. I studied Political Science and Business Administration for my Bachelor’s and have a professional background in international development cooperation.
I chose the Master Programme in International Humanitarian Action because it complemented my relatively theoretical Bachelor’s degrees and accommodated my growing interest for strengthening the famous humanitarian, development and peace nexus. I applied to the NOHA programme as it offered exactly what I was looking for in a Master’s – an internationally attractive degree with the opportunity to focus my studies on societies in transition, and especially states emerging from fragility and conflict.
Uppsala University was my first choice as it is internationally renowned and offers interesting and appealing degrees. What I loved about studying at Uppsala University was the mix of theory and practice, academia and case studies from the field. The professors and guest lectures all had relevant experiences and encouraged the students to take an active part in class. Classes were very interactive. We were taught and provided hands-on tools and skills to use in the field, which have helped me in my current assignment with UN OCHA.
The atmosphere in class was very vibrant and intellectually stimulating. Being surrounded by fellow students who brought experience from the field and different academic backgrounds truly enriched my two years at Uppsala University. The vibe on campus was equally dynamic, with events organised by students and teachers from different programmes - the Master Programme in Euroculture in particular.
I spent the fourth and final semester of my studies in Nairobi, Kenya conducting interviews for my thesis on peacebuilding in the Somali region. During this time, I started a 6-months internship with Interpeace Eastern and Central Africa. The internship involved frequent travels to Somalia and Somaliland, a great opportunity to get hands-on experience from supporting locally-led peacebuilding and state-building processes.
Since October 2018, I have been based in Gaziantep, Turkey working as a UN Volunteer with UN OCHA and the Turkey Humanitarian Fund (THF) for Syria. In my capacity as Monitoring and Evaluation Assistant, I oversee humanitarian projects that are part of the UN cross-border operations from Turkey to Syria.
Thanks to my studies at Uppsala University, I am in a better position to advance my career in international aid work. I applied for a traineeship at DG ECHO in Brussels, an eight-week research track at Fordham University in New York and a Minor Field Study grant to undertake the research in Nairobi. The three placements were offered by Uppsala University and came to be very helpful in gaining relevant experience and field exposure. I believe my Master’s Degree from Uppsala University and my experience from DG ECHO and Interpeace qualified me for my current assignment – to work with cross-border humanitarian assistance to Syria with UN OCHA.
If I could do the Master’s programme all over again, I would definitely have been a more active member of the Nations and attend more of the social events organised by Uppsala University. Instead of travelling from Stockholm every day, I would have rented a flat in Uppsala and hung out with my fellow graduates and spent more time on campus.
My advice to students who are interested in a similar academic and professional career path as me would be to make the most of the opportunities offered by Uppsala University and apply for anything that seems exciting. Learn from your peers and teachers who have experience from humanitarian work and be curious. Keep your eyes and ears open for scholarships such as the Minor Field Study grant that can be the gateway to your first exciting field work. Have fun and enjoy all that Uppsala University and the NOHA network has to offer.
Read more about the Master Programme in International Humanitarian Action