Alumni Spotlight #3 Vera Karmebäck

VeraVera Karmebäck graduated from BIDS in 2013 and has since been living in Nairobi, Kenya. With a major Human Geography and a thesis focusing on the sustainability of the food chain her advice to her fellow BIDSters is simple, “Don’t panic about the perceived impossibility to find a job in our field- start somewhere, say yes to opportunities that open up for you and don’t underestimate the value of practical experience.”

About Eva

My name is Vera Karmebäck, I am of Swedish nationality and grew up in Berlin, Germany. During high school, I went for an exchange year to Costa Rica, to where I returned after I graduated from high school in 2009. In 2010 I decided to explore my Swedish roots and moved to Lund to study BIDS. Since I graduated from BIDS in 2013 I have been living in Nairobi, Kenya, working on various projects and currently employed as a Travel Consultant in a company called Enchanting- Africa.

Specification during the BIDS-Programme 

I majored in Human Geography and received an MFS scholarship to go to Kenya during the third year. One of my largest interests during BIDS (and in general) is sustainability in the food chain, so I took a few courses during the second year relating to food consumption and production. I wrote my thesis on post- harvest losses in maize grain, which is the staple food in Kenya. My thesis was titled “Missing Grains”.

BIDS-programme and practicalities

I think that after BIDS I was so full of information and confusion about a lot of topics (in a good way!) that I have now really been enjoying some more practical experience being employed in various projects and now in a company in the private sector. If anything, I really learnt to be tolerant and more humble through interacting with people from such diverse backgrounds.

Life after BIDS 

After BIDS I moved to Kenya and for 1.5 years I worked as a junior researcher in two separate research projects, through contacts I made during the field work and through my supervisor in Lund. Since one year, I am working for a boutique travel agency with a focus on sustainable development, operating in all of Eastern and Southern Africa with the headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.

Vera’s advice for future BIDS-graduates

Don’t panic about the perceived impossibility to find a job in our field– start somewhere, say yes to opportunities that open up for you and don’t underestimate the value of practical experience.

From an Alumni-Page Vera wishes to…

Get to know where people live and what they do – something like a world map where all the alumni and their locations are listed. This way, we can network and exchange employment opportunities, information, thoughts and experiences.

BIDS-related future plans

I will most likely continue to study a master’s at some point, obviously that will build on BIDS but will be more specified in e.g. Integrated Food Studies or similar. Also, I will most likely live for another few years in Kenya, in case that counts as “BIDS”- related, and I will most likely continue to work in something in or close to the field of study of BIDS.

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