My name is Adriana Unzueta and I am originally from Bolivia. Last July I graduated from the MSc in Latin American Studies. I decided to do this program because I wanted to shift my career and learn more about the region. Although I am originally from Latin America, I had been living in Europe and the United States for the 7 years prior to moving to Oxford.
I have always been passionate about water issues, so my plan after graduation was to move back to Latin American and work in the Water and Sanitation Sector. Fortunately, that is exactly how my plans worked out, only with a longer stay in Oxford and a 3 month stop in Asia.
After graduation, I worked as a research volunteer for Professor Thomas Hale, who is based at the Blavatnik School of Government. I researched into Latin American countries for his policy-oriented project "Stepping up climate action at home: how local governments, the private sector, and civil society can work domestically to help deliver Nationally Determined Contributions and raise ambition.” The final policy brief was made available for the Global Climate Action Summit and was presented at Climate Week in late September 2018. Simultaneously, I was working as a research analyst at Global Water Intelligence, a private company in Oxford that works on water research. After that, I moved to Cambodia. There, I worked on a research project at WaterSHED, an NGO that focuses on strengthening the market for water, sanitation, and hygiene to make it more sustainable, inclusive, and efficient.
Since the beginning of this year, I have been working as a project coordinator at Natura Foundation Bolivia. My main role is to transform the Water-sharing model (Acuerdos Reciprocos por Agua), used by the foundation for over 16 years, from a donor-sponsored charity to a business model that requires no philanthropic funding and is thus more sustainable. Working on the implementation of projects in rural Bolivia has been challenging and, naturally, very different from the academic environment of Oxford. Nonetheless, I get to use many of the skills and knowledge that I acquired at the LAC whilst exploring and learning about my region.
My experience at the LAC was better than I expected. Academically, it is very enriching and multidisciplinary. You can audit any class and participate in all the weekly seminars, which cover a variety of topics from across the region. Personally, what I enjoyed most about my time at the LAC was all the great people that I met. As it is a small department, students are able to interact with each other, with the staff and with the professors frequently. Hence, it is easier to build closer links and that makes the LAC feel like a big diverse family.