Anthropologist in the World’s Hotspots
Martine Zeuthen, cand.scient.anth, research anthropologist in the consulting firm Integrity Research & Consultancy in London.
Martine Zeuthen has an anthropology degree from University of Copenhagen and Aarhus University, but instead of staying in Denmark she has chosen an international career in the world’s hotspots. She lives in London but spends most of her time in weak and conflict-ridden areas such as Uganda, Southern Sudan and Sierra Leone.
Anthropological studies and field work
Martine did not have a big network in Aarhus so it was a great opportunity to get involved in both student work at the university and political work in a youth organization. This way, Martine got a network which she has drawn upon several times in relation to different projects.
" I put a lot of effort into networking and connecting other people to each other. If you help other people this way, then someone will help you too some day.
“I took all the opportunities I had to get out” says Martine about studying anthropology in Aarhus where she chose an international angle on most projects and tried to combine it with practical experience. After two years in Aarhus and a year as exchange student in Sweden, Martine chose to finish her anthropology studies with a master’s degree at University of Copenhagen.
Student job in a NGO
Martine did all she could in order to get job experience during her studies. She went on field work and e.g. lived in Syria for eight months. She did volunteer work and was engaged in research projects besides her student jobs in several Danish NGOs.
“Studying anthropology was rather theoretical and I understand the world best by getting it concretized”, Martine explains and points to how the study in a sense got easier by having seen how it works practically. Besides much practical experience, working gave Martine a network and many contacts. It was her contacts in Syria that helped her getting her first job.
"There are plenty exiting projects in all kinds of organizations. It’s all about discovering what you would like to do!"
“Reality changes all the time”
“It was very interesting and not as big a step as I had thought,” says Martine about her time as project coordinator in 2009.
After that, events followed each other in quick succession, since Martine continuingly got linked to new projects up until she in July 2010 was co-founder of the consulting firm Integrity Research & Consultancy in London. She works and lives with her boyfriend there, but she spends a lot of her time in weak and conflict-ridden states – lastly a month in Southern Sudan. “Sometimes it is where it hurts the most, you can make a difference”, says Martine for whom it means a lot to make a difference through her job.
An international career
With her international career, Martine has come far away from her network in Denmark. But on the other hand, she has gotten a new perspective on how the world perceives the challenges that take place in the third world.
Even though it sometimes has been hard, it has been an exiting experience to have a career in a foreign country. “It took some time to make sure that I didn’t get misunderstood”, says Martine and uses language as an example.
“I put a lot of effort into networking”
Networking was important while studying and it continues to be important for Martine now that she has moved to London.
“I put a lot of effort into networking and to connect people to each other. If you continue helping other people this way, then someone will help you too”, says Martine who at least once a week gets contacted by people who are interested in her work, wants to read her dissertation or get a recommendation to people in her network.
Overall, there is nothing wrong with thinking strategically already whilst studying, says Martine when asked about good advice to students and new graduates. “Just ask if you can come by and have a cup of coffee – there are so many assignments that are given based on personal recommendations” she explains. “It will also give more clarity about the project and you’ll find out if it is something you actually are interested in”.
“But if you want it, you just have to do it and believe in it”, tells Martine and encourage people not to be afraid of pursuing an international career.