I think it's really important to have a critical eye, to take a step back, and not just listen to what’s going on in the media. If you're really interested in something and you want to understand something, then you have to take the time to understand it from different perspectives.
I'm Swedish but I was born in London. I did my undergraduate at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and then attended IE University where I did my master’s. After graduating from St. Andrews, I wasn't really sure what I wanted to do, but I felt like I hadn't really explored the area of international relations as I had hoped. Because I studied psychology and social anthropology, which are extremely interesting, I still wanted to learn more about the world and global politics.
Inspired by her prior studies in psychology and social anthropology, Anna Carle enrolled at IE University eager to delve into international development. Originally considering programs in Amsterdam and Paris, she relocated to Madrid to study at IE School of Global Public Affairs in 2019.
Joining the first graduating class for the Master in International Development, Anna gained the knowledge she desired to work in global trade and EU policy. From economics to climate change, each class at IE University complimented each other in preparing her to enter this field.
Thanks to the small class sizes, skilled professors, guest lecturers, and diverse student body, Anna appreciated how the program made room for so many perspectives. While class discussions could get heated, Anna says this helped her develop the critical thinking skills to approach international development pragmatically.
One of Anna’s favorite courses was statistics since, in her opinion, statistics provide the means to measure the effectiveness and sustainability of international development programs on the ground. Indeed, while she describes statistics as “a completely different brain exercise,” Anna came to realize that the discipline is applicable in interpreting and fact-checking current events.
Tying into her social anthropology interests, Anna collaborated with the AI Africa Center for her Capstone Project. She examined how African governments communicate and brand themselves differently among global actors, depending on who they were engaging with. This involved running quantitative analysis from 200 speeches to detect how words and sentiments changed depending on the audience.
“Social anthropology really gives you the understanding that people’s behavior is based on the environment you grow up in.”
By relating this sentiment to international development, and always wanting to see the bigger picture, Anna has avoided taking one-sided approaches in her current profession. After graduating and interning for a spanish Member of the European Parliament who sits in the international trade committee, today she’s managing post-Brexit communication strategies for the British Chamber of Commerce in Brussels. Specifically, it’s a membership organization facilitating bilateral trade between England, Belgium, and the European Union.
As Communications Manager, Anna loves how she can stay involved with EU policy and international trade while still expanding on the skills she gained in completing her Capstone Project. And she has some advice for prospective international development students. Anna says that pursuing this career to change the world can be risky. Rather, she encourages candidates to ask themselves: what can I learn from this experience? What skills can I gain? How will this add value to what I’m interested in for the future?
Reinforced by IE University instructors, another word of advice from Anna is to understand that international development is complicated, with numerous actors at play. Because of this, both patience and focus are other essential skills to succeed in this arena.
While Anna wants to continue focusing on EU policy and international trade, she intends to keep her horizons open. Being a lifelong learner, she plans to keep on absorbing information and exploring new topics. She’s always open to networking, and says this is easy in Brussels, where she’s surrounded by clever, passionate, and ambitious people.
Moving to the EU capital during the pandemic, now Anna’s taking advantage of the many cultural opportunities available, including museums, art galleries, and restaurants galore. Even better, she loves running in the city’s many parks and taking the quick train rides to nearby cities like Antwerp. With friends all over and family living in London, the location couldn’t be better for this global citizen.