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International Development Studies

Iida-Maria Tammi: 'This degree allowed me to focus on issues of development and sustainability'

Alumna testimonial

Iida-Maria Tammi, graduated in International Development Studies in 2014.

Iisa-Maria Tammi
Iida-Maria Tammi Photo by: Michael Ritter

My education and career have always had a very strong international orientation. I was born and raised in Finland but in 2012 graduated as a Bachelor of Arts in Contemporary Mediterranean Studies and English Language and Literature from University of Malta. This gave me an in depth understanding of the Middle East and North-African (MENA) region as a meeting point of the oriental and occidental, and got me interested in the global dynamics of the North-South relations. Upon finishing my studies, I had set my mind on pursuing a Master’s degree related to issues of international development.  I in any case wanted to get more practical and theoretical knowledge of issues related to development before doing this. Thus I took a gap year, during which I spent three months in Uganda as a Global Community Development Program volunteer with AIESEC (A student led organization that develops youth leadership.). At the same time, I was doing long-distance studies at the Open University of Finland on issues related to the development, aid, sustainability and North-South relations.

An intriguing programme

In the spring of 2013 the University of Amsterdam accepted me as a student of the MSc International Development Studies programme. I was initially interested by the programme because of its interdisciplinary approach to development and the incorporation of a 10-week fieldwork period into the curriculum. The course was thus a combination of four months of intensive lessons and seminars, after which I spent three months in Chennai, India doing research on community participation and slum relocation. The fieldwork period was followed by another three months of independent work on thesis which culminated in a thesis defence in July 2014. As a result, I gained a solid theoretical and practical understanding of a broad range of topics related to development, with a specific focus on community participation.

A high level of flexibility

I am currently working as an intern in Curitiba, Brazil, focusing on issues of urban sustainable mobility and practising skills in project cycle management and coordination. The internship is funded by a governmental scholarship from Finland and I believe that my academic background significantly contributed towards me being chosen. The IDS MSc programme at UvA not only covers a broad range of topics but it also allows the students a high level of flexibility in shaping their future career path. By being able to independently choose the topic of your thesis and to undertake the fieldwork, the students are actively specializing in specific topics of interest. This degree allowed me to focus on issues of urban sustainability and community participation, strongly shaping my future career orientation.