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  • INSMS International Network for Students of Migration Studies

Gender and Peacebuilding student at the UN mandated University for Peace with working experience at

This P2P Campaign article is about Irene Ruiz, a Spanish national with whom we spoke about her journey after completing a joint master's degree in contemporary migration studies at the Autonoma de Barcelona and the Universitat de Barcelona. Irene believes in not only trying to understand the larger context of migration and keeping up-to-date with current international news in this regard, but also in connecting with grassroots organizations on the ground, as they tend to have more detailed information about local issues related to migration.

Irene is 25 years old, comes from Spain and is currently studying her second Master's degree in Gender and Peacebuilding at the UN mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica. Previously, she worked for the Red Cross in Spain as an intercultural and social mediator

in humanitarian aid and support for the homeless.

When we asked her if it was easy to find this job, she answered that it was not, but that her previous international work experience most likely helped her get this job. She also stated that: "Getting a job in migration often has to do with being in the right place at the right time" Since Irene was looking for a job during the pandemic, finding a place was an additional challenge. However, she was lucky!

Like the Red Cross in other countries, the one in Spain is active in most social areas. There are a variety of projects, ranging from humanitarian actions for migrants to projects for the homeless. During the pandemic, the Red Cross was also active in fighting the impact of Covid.

When asked what a normal day at work looked like for her, she replied that no two days were the same, as her work was very varied:

"Part of my work as an intercultural and social mediator at the Red Cross was, for example, to accompany migrants to appointments with authorities regarding their legal procedures, to mediate in conflicts, and to plan and conduct integration workshops».

To the question whether Irene liked this work, she answered that so far she had always pursued an occupation in which she directly supported migrants and individuals, which she enjoyed very much and in which she also saw her strength. However, in order to take on a challenge and change perspective, she now wanted to reorient herself and move to the policy level where decisions are made and become part of that policy-making process. As she is also very interested in the gender perspective of migration, Irene identified her current Master's as the ideal program to deepen her knowledge in this regard and to specialize for future employment in her desired career.

The change Irene would like to see in the field of migration

On the one hand, Irene sees the current obstacle in regard to the migration field in the fact that many employers have not yet fully recognized the value of migration students. However, according to her, people from this field are strongly problem-solving oriented, which would therefore be a very beneficial skill for companies According to Irene, it simply is not acceptable to be confronted with poor working conditions, even after years of study. This is where she sees the greatest need for improvement.

On the other hand, Irene sees the great potential in migration studies, international networking to learn from and support each other, as there are very many people in the migration field who speak many languages and are specialized in certain areas and consequently could share their knowledge.

Tips for success

Irene's final tip for migrant students is to narrow their interests in the migration field, as this will make it easier to find employment within the migration field if you specialize in certain issues or topics within migration studies. "The migrant population is not homogeneous, and we should keep that in mind: Specializing in one region or aspect can be helpful!" Irene has found her interest in migration from a gender equality and peacebuilding perspective. We are very excited to see where Irene is headed and look forward to following her path!

*INSMS is always looking for interesting career paths of former migration students. If you would like to share your professional history with the network, please contact us by email:, Subject: P2P campaign

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