Karin Höglund has the best of both worlds. She lives in the beautiful Swedish countryside in Uppsala with her husband, two young children and Misse the cat and works in bustling Stockholm three days per week, teleworking the other days to save time on commuting. Karin’s been with NIRAS almost five years and is an Administrative Coordinator for the International Training Programmes (ITPs). She’s currently involved in ITPs on Sustainable Urban Water and Sanitation (SUWAS) and Media Regulation in a Democratic Framework.
Although she has a BA in Political Science from Uppsala University, Karin’s professional career started in a completely different field. She was a site manager for two hotels and in charge of daily operations and staff for eight years. “My experience from the hotel business has been very useful when working with the training programmes at NIRAS as I handle all communications with participants and staff and arrange the logistics for the Swedish phase of the course as well as some of the programme that takes place abroad. I also administer e-learning tools,” she explains.
NIRAS organises a number of ITPs for different stakeholders from developing countries and transition economies on behalf of Sida. Each programme runs for 14-16 months and consists of five compulsory phases, including three-weeks in Sweden and a two-week phase in one of the participating countries. The remaining three phases consist of mentor-supported self-studies, in conjunction with the participants’ ordinary work.
Growing up in a small town called Hudiksvall, in central Sweden, Karin has always loved nature. She lives next to a big forest and goes there frequently to hike, play with her kids, or have a picnic. During holidays, she likes to go to the mountains in the western and northern parts of Sweden, hiking in summer or skiing in winter. She travelled to Tanzania once for a regional phase of an ITP course and loved it. “It was a really nice experience. The climate is wonderful and the food was fantastic. I hope that I’ll be able to return to see more of Tanzania at some point.”
Karin especially loves two things about her job at NIRAS. “First and foremost, I get to meet a lot of really nice and interesting people from all over the world. We are quite a large number in the Swedish office and the staff are from very different backgrounds,” she says, adding “I also meet lots of new people in the training programmes.” The second best part of Karin’s job relates to the first. She loves the variety. “Even though I’ve had the same job for five years now, I often find myself in new situations. The main reason for this is that I meet new people in every programme and people are never the same. They need different kinds of support and also share many different stories and experiences. I’ve worked with training programmes on a number of different topics and this affects the setup of the programme.” Earlier ITPs that Karin has supported include Strategic Environmental Assessment and Integrated Sustainable Coastal Development. So depending on the topic, she works with different partner organisations and organises different study visits.
If you are participating in an ITP, Karin looks forward to welcoming you to Sweden!