Sara Murray from the USA, alumna of the programme, now working for Mercy Corps (Global Headquarters)
What did you do before you started the LUMID programme at Lund University?
"Prior to Lund, I spent time studying and volunteering in Latin America and working at a legal clinic for immigrants in the US. At the legal clinic, I witnessed the incredible challenges immigrant families worked through to provide more opportunities for their children. This sparked my interest in working more directly on economic justice and international development issues. I researched Master’s programmess for a year or two, but was concerned about finding a programme that would really prepare me for practical work on these complex issues."
Why did you choose this Master’s?
"The LUMID programme prepares students to work in international development organisations. At its core, development focuses on reducing global poverty. This programme is really unique since it requires students to spend a semester applying theoretical knowledge with an internship in a development organisation. I knew very little about Sweden or Lund University, but was thrilled to be accepted to the programme."
What do you think about your choice of studies?
"The programme was a great experience. I particularly enjoyed getting to know my amazing classmates, who came from all over the world and became a second family. They continue to inspire me from afar."
Did you have an opportunity for practical work during your studies? .
"I spent a semester in Guatemala supporting a global NGO, Mercy Corps. I supported a programme that connected small farmers to new value chains. It was an eye-opening experience. I’ve worked with Mercy Corps ever since graduating from LUMID."
How many students were in your class?
"40 – from Sweden, Bolivia, Ukraine, Pakistan, Australia, Uzbekistan, US, Zambia – just to name a few."
How was studying at Lund University compared to studying in your home country?
"The biggest difference was the focus on group work. I rarely completed an assignment alone, and even did my final thesis with another student. This mirrors the reality of professional life, where you’re always working in teams. But I have to say it made it a little too easy to depend on my group-members to take on tasks I was less fond of (for example, I’m still grateful to Ulugbek and Ksenia for the statistics help!)"
What happened after you graduated? How was your path from being a student to entering working life?
"The internship provided me with a chance to really get to know the NGO I ended up working with after graduation. I would not be doing the work I do today without the LUMID-supported internship. Though I started with a focus on Latin America, I’ve now branched out and have worked in countries as diverse as Nepal, the Philippines, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It has been a challenging and exciting decade!"
Looking back, how have your ideas about the field changed?
"I have an ever deepening appreciation for how difficult it is to address the underlying causes of global poverty and inequality. I’m an optimist by nature."
What was your first impression of Lund?
"I moved to Lund from the centre of Chicago – so at first I was a little shocked by the peace and quiet. Things move at a slower pace, and I eventually grew to enjoy that."
What will you remember the most from your time at Lund University/in Sweden?
"I’d have to say meeting my future husband (also a Lund University student at the time)! We’re now together in the US, but we’ve spent quite a bit of time in Sweden and had our son in Malmö."
What is the best thing about Lund University?
"Its diversity and ability to bring students from all over the world together in a collaborative environment."