Where are you from and what brought you to the Institute?
I am originally from South Korea but I have been educated in many other countries. I received my undergraduate degree at Peking University in China, where I minored in Japanese and studied International Relations with a focus on East Asian Studies. In 2015, I did an exchange at Sciences Po Paris. As a Korean studying in Europe, it was fascinating to understand the difference in ways of thinking between the East and the West. I decided to pursue my master's degree in Geneva, a francophone and also international city, where I can combine professional experience with learning a new language, hence why I came to the Graduate Institute.
What is the value-added in pursuing a Dual Master in Global Health and International Affairs/Development Studies in Geneva and in three years instead of four?
The dual master has broadened my academic background in Global Health in addition to Development Studies. When I did my exchange with the Université de Genève’s Institute of Global Health, I was able to enjoy resources, such as seminars and lectures, provided by the two schools at the same time as well as different focuses: I found that the courses at the Graduate Institute focused on policy, whereas at the University of Geneva, the concentration was on technique and scientific knowledge.
Please explain your internship at the World Health Organization (WHO)? What you are doing, what your role is and how it ties in with what you’re learning?
I did an internship at the World Health Organization (WHO) as part of the Dual Master's in Global Health. I worked within the Medicines, Vaccines and Pharmaceuticals (MVP) department. My role was providing technical assistance to the global safety surveillance of medical products, data management, as well as ad-hoc research. The experience tied in well in with what I am learning because I could apply theories into practice and observe the technical challenges WHO headquarters, regional and country offices were facing. These experiences allowed me to understand the role of WHO in providing norms and standards, technical advice and operational emergency response. I also learned how countries propose agendas to the World Health Assembly and shape global health governance.
What will you do once you have completed your degree?
As I did not expect to pursue a dual master’s degree before coming to Geneva, I am not certain on what I will do after graduation; however, I am ready to take on any opportunity in a field I am passionate about, and which will force me out of my comfort zone. That experience will lead me to either gain a more hands-on experience related to health and development in the field or continue my academic endeavours in health policy. A third alternative, which I am considering, is pursuing a medical degree.