Alumni Spotlight #23 Klara Lindvall

klaralindvallRead about Klara Lindvall, who did an interesting Minor Field Study in Turkey, studying local Turkish migration management in relation to the EU external border and migration regime. Klara recommends everyone who considers it to dare go on an MFS as it challenged her and she gained a lot from it. Moreover, she expresses how important it is to try different things and not settle straight away.

After traveling and working in her gap year after high school, Klara Lindvall realised that international affairs and development was her main interests. “Then I found BIDS, and instantly felt that the structure of the program and the subjects offered were exactly what I had been looking for. The diversity of the programme was really what made me choose it from the beginning.”

Klara graduated in 2015 with a major in Political Science, but describes sociology as close to her heart too. “Instead of doing an exchange I stayed in Lund and took a course in sociology, on gender, class and race, which was very interesting.”

Minor Field Study

Klara did a MFS in Turkey, looking at how EU’s external border and migration regime influenced local Turkish migration management. “I was caught up on concepts of power and discourse, so I chose to base my study on the concept of ‘Securitization’. I went to a small city in north-west Turkey, called Edirne, which is situated just by the border to EU; Greece and Bulgaria. Here I did a lot of interviews, visited the migrants Detention Centre, spoke to political parties and migration managers. I also went to Ankara and visited some NGOs and the Border Office. It was such an interesting and rewarding time, especially since I had to make all contacts and wrap my head around the issue in field, alone. I was very fortunate and found (by emailing almost everyone with an English speaking internet presence in entire Edirne) people who helped me so much finding my way in this very unfamiliar setting. “

What did you find useful from the BIDS programme?

“There is so much things I’m taking with me from the programme. Especially from my MFS in Turkey, since being alone and developing almost this ‘new life’ in Edirne, getting all these contacts and working around the clock with this very fascinating and complex issue, was so rewarding.

I was just 19 when I enrolled in BIDS, and I think I grew up a bit with the programme and all the amazing people I met through it. Our class was wonderful, and the ways of thinking and talking about development and surrounding issues, we learned and developed is something I really use all the time.“

After BIDS

Since graduating Klara has travelled in Rwanda and Uganda, but describes that she needed a bit of time of from development and academia.

“(…) I spent a very nice summer working as a guide at a museum in my hometown, in an exhibition about animals, animal rights and people’s relation to animals, which is a very rewarding job. I think I needed some time to land after the intense three years of BIDS, and also after my experiences in Turkey and the following thesis.”

Hereafter, Klara has spent some time applying for jobs and has realised the difficulties of being newly graduated with lack of experience. “My pro tip here is to just apply for a lot of things, and keep in mind that it’s really tough, but eventually there will be an opportunity. Look for temporary employments and ‘junior’ vacancies. “

“This spring I have spent doing a really interesting internship at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here in Stockholm. It started at the Department of the European Union, but after an internal reorganisation I’m now finishing it at the Department for International Development Cooperation (a real win-win), Here I’ve been doing all sorts of assignments, high and low, and learnt so much about development cooperation in practice, and especially in the EU.”

“I will now go on to do my master’s degree at Kings College in London, at a really interesting programme called “Conflict, Development and Security”. It’s going to be so much fun, and I really look forward to studying these important subjects abroad”

Do you have some advice for future BIDS-graduates? 

“I have so much advice! No – but I have some things that I ‘wished I knew’ during the programme and the time after. I recommend everyone to go on an MFS if you feel like it’s something you want to do. And dare to do so even if you don’t have so many contacts – I had one single meeting with one professor in Istanbul set up before I went… You will be able to challenge yourself to make contacts. I also think it can be valuable not to ‘know’ too much or too many beforehand, and make a wide and diverse net of contacts in the field your working. “

“And don’t stress too much. It is not important what you do all the time and what grades you get, it’s why and how you do it, and how the process forms you. Take your time and try different things and ways. You don’t have to settle straight away. I stressed way too much during the programme and the thesis, and it took quite some time to recover from.”

“And take advantage of the BIDS Alumni network, it’s so great that it’s been established! Feel free to contact me if you have any thoughts or questions about internships at MFA or studies in London or maybe where to find the best köfte in Istanbul.”

“Listen, learn, discuss and develop yourself (and subsequently maybe the world too)! And hang out with all the nice people you will meet during your time in BIDS and Lund. “

Interview conducted and edited by Anna Butondo

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