Sixten, a BIDS graduate from the class of 2015 with a major in Sociology, is now taking a one-year break from studying. We have talked to him about his time in the BIDS program, which brought him to exchange studies in Iceland and Minor Field Studies in Nepal.
Where are you from and what led you to studying the BIDS program?
I am originally from Lund, Sweden but lived longer time periods in Austria. I found development related themes to be most interesting which led me to apply for, and later complete, the BIDS program.
The BIDS experience
I majored in Sociology, partook in an exchange semester and conducted fieldwork. For my exchange semester I studied at the University of Akureyri in the north of Iceland. During my studies in Iceland I was able to study courses of the Polar Law program, which focused on development, environmental issues, and societal structures in the Polar Regions. What I found most interesting included the survival strategies and diverse development strategies existing among smaller, more secluded communities. With this in mind, I applied for a research grant and was able to conduct a minor field study in the Himalayas of Nepal and investigate how local people from secluded communities, engaging in the mountaineering industry, cope with sudden economic dilemmas. In other words it was an analysis of the welfare strategies existing in the Khumbu region of Nepal. The gathered empirical material functioned as a ground basis for my bachelor thesis, which aimed to not only describe current welfare approaches in the Khumbu region of Nepal, but also flaws in the working conditions affecting local populations in the Himalayas.
Though many aspects have affected my perception of the BIDS program and contributed to my BIDS experience, the general theme would include examining and analyzing different welfare structures in secluded areas.
What did you find useful from the BIDS program?
I enjoyed the structure of the program and how I as a student was able to choose rather freely of what I wanted to focus on. Though many courses, as well as literature, were mandatory, I still thought it was possible to seek something within the obligatory boundaries that I found interesting. To point out single parts as being more important than others, is rather difficult in my opinion. However, I believe that the field study I conducted was of most value. Not only because it enhanced the quality of my bachelor thesis but provided me with hands-on experience and allowed me to explore and examine a remarkable topic.
After BIDS I decided to take a one-year break before continuing my studies on a master level. With this study leave I returned to some of my former jobs and some new ones. I am currently writing my master applications, hoping to study in Stockholm in 2016.
Any BIDS-related long term future plans?
I wish to keep studying within the field of development for at least two more years. I have not started to reflect on what I will do, or keep myself occupied with, after I finish university. To work in a BIDS-related field is of course a possibility, and I would consider it to be both fun and rewarding. However, I am unsure of what the future holds and what other topics of interest might inspire me during the coming years.
Interview conducted by Clara Nepper Winther
Edited by Yannick Schwarz