Dina is from Kazakhstan and she graduated from the BIDS programme in 2015. Currently, working as UN Youth volunteer in Astana, Kazakhstan

. She shares her thoughts on her BIDS experience and how it got the best of her.

The experiences of the BIDS-programme
“I majored in Economic history, and I think Economic history suites my Academic interests the most. I got lots of help from the department and specifically Erik Green, who supervised my thesis. The department supported me once I decided to go for exchange studies, so I did not have any problems transferring my credits into my major. On my second year I went for one year exchange studies to Ritsumeikan University in Japan. Ritsumeikan University is a private university with the highest number of international students in Japan. For me it was a great experience as I wanted to visit Japan ever since I started studying Japanese at high school. At Ritsumeikan University I chose Japan and Global Perspectives track: I studied courses such as the United Nations, International Sociology, International Relations,  Economics, Japanese Economic History and many others. In total I took 20 courses within 1 year, and I had a chance to study everything I had interest in. For me the most valuable experience was to learn more about different development approaches, as Japan is one of the largest international donors for infrastructure in developing countries. I had a chance to discuss the differences and the efficiency of the approaches with professors and guest lecturers, who have experience in international development and cooperation.”

The BIDS influence
“As many other students when I was taking some of the courses, I was not sure how can I apply obtained knowledge and skills in real world. However, once I started to work, I realized how much I learned from the BIDS programme. I think the most important thing I learned is to analyze an issue from different perspectives: economic, social, environmental and others. While implementing any development project one should keep in mind possible indirect impact of the project.”

Making the most of your time in Lund and after
“During my studies I volunteered for many different organizations and events. As a volunteer I have translated documents, organized events, escorted guests and even cooked the dinner for a hundred guests. While volunteering for student organizations such as the debate society and AIESEC gave me an opportunity to meet people from different countries and share with them Kazakhstan’s culture and values. Volunteering at international and local organizations reshaped my career path and life direction as I identified my professional interests and I got my first job offer from the organization I volunteered with. Currently, I am looking into volunteering opportunities with local feminist and animal rights organizations as those the concerns I have. I believe that volunteering gave me an understanding of the community’s concerns and possible ways to resolve them.”

Life after BIDS
“Just after the BIDS I returned to Kazakhstan and did an internship at local NGO, where I was later promoted to a project assistant. After one year of work on human rights project I decided to study some economics at local university. Now I am starting a work with the UNDP as a communications assistant. I will support the UNDP staff to coordinate the organization arrangements for the EXPO-2017.”

Future aspirations
“I think that I want to continue my work as a development professional. I would like to challenge myself by trying out for the UN Volunteers and WB Young Professionals program but I have to wait a bit as I don’t have enough qualifications and experience. In a long run I would like to focus on the development issues of middle-income countries, and particularly Central Asian countries.”

Advice for future BIDS-graduates
“From my experience, my advice would be study as many different things as you can. I believe that a successful development professional should have an expertise in various spheres, as you never know what kind of project will you lead. Another thing I would advise do some internships and volunteering, so you could get an idea how development projects are done.”

Interview conducted by Jessica Iyer

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