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The University of Southampton
Modern Languages and LinguisticsPart of Humanities

Thea Bjaaland MA Transnational Studies, 2009

Project Officer

Thea Bjaaland's Photo

Hi, I'm Thea Bjaaland and I studied MA Transnational Studies within Modern Languages at the University of Southampton.

I really enjoyed that there were students from very diverse backgrounds – from different countries and continents, but also of different ages, opinions, interests and backgrounds. The group atmosphere was really nice and we had great discussions – both during class and afterwards! The course content was very interesting and topical, and the lecturers were interesting and interested, supportive and inspiring.

I'm working with migrant women who have been living in Norway for several years without finding work. We only work with 10 women at a time per project officer, so we're able to follow each woman closely and help with anything from learning Norwegian, to health and family matters, and applying for jobs. The main goal is paid work, but we see that the women are thriving when meeting other women in similar situations, becoming more confident, happier and healthier. This will not only benefit themselves, but their children, their network and the society too. I'm really enjoying it!

I'm using the knowledge and the skills that I acquired during the course every day: when talking to the women that I work with and learning about their situation, their country and culture, and when presenting in meetings and discussing topics related to migration. I also know that they invited only people with Master degrees when they interviewed for the job! It shows that you need a higher degree to stand out in a competitive job market.

 

My advice to new students

Talk to the lecturers - they're great and really supportive. Get to know some international students (if you're not one yourself). Volunteer - do something that you enjoy, but that also will be useful on your CV when you start applying for jobs. Go for long walks on the Common and get out of the university ‘bubble' every so often. It's hard work, but it's worth it - and it only lasts one year. Make the most of it!

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