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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school


Sofia Emma Kristina Sunden

Sofia Emma Kristina Sunden
Sofia Emma Kristina Sunden
Doing Now
UNDP in Brasilia, Brazil

IEP 2010-2011

Tell us about yourself! Who are you and where are you from?

Hi, my name is Sofia Sunden. I am from Stockholm, Sweden. However I been living in (mainly) Edinburgh and Dublin over the last 10 years. I completed my undergraduate degree in Politics from the University of Edinburgh in 2007 and worked for the Scottish Government and two NGO's in Brazil prior to commencing the IEP degree. I am due to graduate from IEP in November 2011.

Why did you decide to do the IEP degree?

I have a keen interest in international politics and international development and the IEP degree was a way to combine my interests in the two. I was also happy to return to the University of Edinburgh where I completed my undergraduate studies since I was very pleased with the facilities and the staff at the university.

After completing my undergraduate degree, I wished to gain some practical experiences prior to commencing a Masters. I worked for the Scottish Government for a year and a half as a Policy Officer within the Rural Department; Animal Health and Welfare Division, Exotic Diseases Strategy and Planning. It was very enjoyable work, through which I found myself having to learn a lot about exotic diseases in animals (!), as well as ministerial submissions, policy making and EU regulations implementation. I really enjoyed the job and it taught me a lot about policy making and politics in practice.

After that I went to Brazil, and started to work for two NGOs based in two favelas in Rio de Janeiro. I was teaching English and capoeira and organizing fundraising campaigns for the organizations. Needless to say, I loved it!

By commencing the IEP degree I wished to bring together my practical experiences from policy making for a national government with my experience of development work. I also wanted to increase my theoretical knowledge in these areas.

What is it that you do now and did the degree help in your career path?

I am about to commence an Internship Programme at the Inclusive Growth International Policy Centre, UNDP in Brasilia, Brazil. Certainly my increased theoretical knowledge of International Politics, International Political Economy and Theories of Development was essential in order for me to receive this offer, as well as my reinforced research skills.

How did you like Edinburgh as a city?

I love Edinburgh and it has been my home since 2003. I really appreciate how close it is to everything and with a bike you can go anywhere in the city in no time. I really like the relaxed life style in the city and if there is a sunny day, the Meadows turns into a festival field with many people enjoying the sun, playing sports, BBQs or training circus skills. Edinburgh is a city which provides for a good quality of life with lots of friendly people, a lot going on throughout the year and close proximity to nature whether you like biking, hiking, fire juggling or just relaxing in the Meadows.

What were your best memories?

My best memories from this year include all my great classmates; the atmosphere among the students was excellent from the start of the year. I loved that we had a large variety of nationalities and students from all continents of the world! The diversity of the student body provided for an additional edge to the classroom discussions, given that people could draw from their own experiences from across the world.

There are great facilities for masters students in the university with access to library until late and computer labs 24-7. Even though it may not be my best memories, it was still quite enjoyable to bump into classmates at 3 in the morning in the computer lab or in the student kitchen, and it was nice to know I was not the only one still awake and working!