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Carolina Hamma has studied international migration and ethnic relations at Malmö University. Now she is an Electoral Adviser for UNMIT (United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste).
Migration and its effects on a global scale has become one of the most fundamental
You will learn through lectures, workshops, group discussions, shared project work, individual assignments and self-study of literature.
issues concerning societies worldwide. Governments, corporations, politicians and individuals all over the world try to grasp the possibilities and concerns of increasing mobility on a global scale. International Migration and Ethnic Relations at Malmö University addresses these issues.
Refugees from war-torn regions of the world, people seeking to find jobs and a decent living away from their country of birth, executives in multinational corporations; they are all part of migratory movements. This programme studies the effects of migration at a global and national level, on the formation of ethnic communities, religious groups, families, individuals — to find out how policies could facilitate integration and hinder segregation and racism in societies worldwide. It also addresses fundamental issues concerning concepts such as culture and ethnicity.
In the past decades, Malmö has gone through a dramatic change. What recently was a working class industrial city is now a thriving city, focused on the production of service and knowledge rather than industrial goods. Malmö is also one of the cities in northern Europe with the largest proportion of newly arrived migrants. It is therefore an exciting place to study the effects of international migration and ethnic relations and we collaborate with the surrounding society concerning these issues. The strong international element in the programme is emphasized by the possibility for students to take an entire semester abroad with one of our partner universities around the world.
Carolina Hamma has studied international migration and ethnic relations at Malmö University. Now she is an Electoral Adviser for UNMIT (United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste). She is part of a team ensuring that international principles on elections are fulfilled, in cooperation with local agencies.
How did you end up working in Timor-Leste?
"I uploaded my CV to the UN-Volunteers website and they contacted me a few months later about this opportunity. It sounded really interesting. Then I had a phone interview, where I among other things had to prove that I speak Portuguese."
Carolina on her way to her district.
What else have you worked with since graduating from Malmö University?
"I’ve had many different jobs; I’ve worked as a project assistant on a research project about young people in Malmö, and as a social worker at a home for refugee minors. I have also interned at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs and worked for RedR UK, a non-profit in London that trains humanitarian NGO workers. I have always done what I’ve felt has been really meaningful, and it hasn’t always been easy achieving my goals. Language skills have been crucial; I speak several languages, including Spanish and Portuguese which I’ve learned while travelling and taking classes."
What’s a typical day at work like for you in Timor-Leste?
"Each day is different from the last. But I’ll give an example from the other day: I woke up at 6am and heard what I thought was a very loud, broken motorbike emitting a strong smell of burnt rubber. It turned out it was the Health Ministry that had decided to gas the area for dengue mosquitos. Dengue fever is a big problem here. The gas lay thick and foul-smelling around the whole block. After an ice-cold shower, I took the jeep to work. We were going to Iraler, a mountain village in the district where I work. Six of us fit into the four-wheel drive: three international UNVs and three staff from CNE (National Commission for Elections). Iraler was some 75 km away, but it took us a few hours to get there as the roads are mainly eroded sand, dirt and mud. When we arrived we met up with some colleagues from the Secretariat for Election Administration who were conducting Voters Education in the village. We were going to monitor the event. We also interviewed first-time and young voters about the knowledge about and access to information on the presidential election of March 17. We also delivered election material to the democratically elected village chief and recorded the GPS coordinates of the village. This is needed because the village is so isolated that the votes have to be collected by helicopter on election day. When we were done the village hosted us for lunch, as we had travelled so far to visit them.
A UN vehicle on the beach near Uatolari, Viqueque.
After that we went to a different village to check on a campaign for one of the presidential candidates and leave some information material about the election. Then it was time to go home. The roads were lined with children waving and shouting ‘malaj malaj!’ (which means foreigner). There are a lot of young people in Timor-Leste, 69 per cent of the population are younger than 25. Many of the older people died during the Indonesian occupation 1975-2000. A third of the total population is thought to have lost their lives during those years."
Do you have any advice for current students?
"Be realistic when you follow your dreams and find out as much as possible about what they entail. Become an information junkie. And it’s alright to give up and try something new (ha-ha). I know that everyone says the opposite, but there’s nothing wrong with choosing a new path."
Graduates typically get jobs within a wide range of areas such as government and non-government organisations concerned with issues of globalisation, migration, refugees, integration and segregation. Graduates can also find jobs connected to social work, journalism and various businesses concerned with global issues. You can also proceed to studies at advanced level/master's courses and eventually conduct research at the PhD level.
The programme was established 02 March 2007.
This programme syllabus (version 10.1) was approved 07 November 2012 by the Board of Studies at Faculty of Culture and Society.
The syllabus is valid from 02 September 2013. Replacement for programme syllabus ratified 30 August 2012.