Hanna Norelius, a BIDS graduate from the class of 2014 with a major in Political Science, has put her experience from BIDS to use in internships in Malawi and Kenya. Only there she has found her passion for health-related issues, which she now pursues at Copenhagen University with a master programme in Global Health. “Have an open mind and take the opportunities you get”, is her advice to future graduates.
Who is Hanna?
My name is Hanna Norelius and I come from Uppsala. I moved to Lund in 2010 and studied social anthropology for one year and thereafter started BIDS in 2011. I graduated from BIDS in 2014 and have since done internships in Malawi and Kenya and written a bachelor thesis in anthropology at Uppsala University. Currently I live in Copenhagen and study a MSc in Global Health at the University of Copenhagen.
The BIDS experience
I majored in Political Science and went on exchange to University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, during my second year. For the thesis I decided to do a desk study, focusing on the responsibility to protect-principle in relation to the conflict in Central African Republic. BIDS has enabled me to develop my analytical skills, critical thinking and ability to write properly structured academic essays. The programme gives a good and broad base of knowledge due to its interdisciplinary character and I find this useful now as I started my MSc in Global Health.
I went to Malawi for one semester as an intern for IM (Individuell Människohjälp) and worked with one of IM’s partner organisations. I was involved in a project focusing on women’s economic and social empowerment through microcredit groups. When I came back to Sweden I was inspired by my experience from Malawi and decided to write my bachelor thesis in anthropology on the topic of ‘feminization of AIDS’ in Malawi. During this semester I was also active in Red Cross Youth Uppsala. Now I am living in Copenhagen and am studying a MSc in Global Health at the University of Copenhagen. As a consequence of my IM internship and the knowledge I gained about microcredit groups I came in contact with a Swedish/Kenyan NGO and did an internship in Kenya this summer to learn more about their microcredit and family planning projects. I have also done some volunteering work both in Sweden (integration and fundraising) and Tanzania (youth empowerment and education).
Any BIDS-related future plans?
Yes! First of all I will finish my Master’s degree, but in the future I want to get a job related to health and development.
Advice for future BIDS-graduates
Don’t stress too much about the future! Have an open mind and take the opportunities you get. I definitely recommend everyone to apply for an internship, it’s a great way to get some perspective and maybe get an idea of what you want to do in the future. I didn’t think that I would study global health when I started BIDS, but after learning about health-related problems in Malawi and Kenya (access to health care, basic sanitation, malnutrition, etc.) I realized that this is what I want to do!
Interview conducted and edited by Kia Silvennoinen