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Diana Arboleda (MSc in Applied Development Studies 2011)


Fondly called as Dianne by family, friends and colleagues, I'm a Social Worker by profession and had deeply enjoyed serving people in groups and communities immediately after completing my Bachelor's degree in Social Work. I spent most of my time providing technical support to development practitioners in civil society organizations (CSOs) in the Philippines and served the United Nations (UN) system for almost 13 years having assigned at UNDP country offices in Indonesia, The Gambia, Botswana and with the UN Development Fund for Women (now UN Women) in Timor-Leste. Whilst back in the Philippines at the moment, I've been doing consultancy jobs in big NGOs assisting farmers and women leaders on their respective organizational and training needs.

Why did you choose to study at the University of Reading?

I chose the University of Reading due to its track record on teaching and supervising quality research - enabling students to design, develop and disseminate or apply researches of students' interest, which in my case is on studies on International Development. I was informed about the University of Reading's excellent experience and wide coverage of engagements with organizations, institutions, resource groups or persons with enriching background and experiences in development work.

What was the best bit about living and studying in Reading?

I was able to meet other development practitioners from different parts of the world, from least developed to industrialized (middle to high-income countries). I received substantive technical and administrative support from my supervisor/mentor and other professors or lecturers who were all experienced and excellent resource to my studies. Also, the University of Reading offered various learning or training opportunities in addition to the course I was enrolled in.

What top tips would you give to students who are beginning their studies?

I am truly pleased to recommend new students to make the most of every opportunity offered by the University of Reading, use available facilities, join school activities and other capacity building activities of your interest, obtain all the academic and practical inputs from your supervisor/mentor and other professors and lecturers, learn more from classmates especially on the "wonders" of where they come from and how their studies could be of use to yours, and make sure not to engage in procrastination most especially in the preparation of term papers or your final course requirement, either a dissertation or term paper.

What are you up to now? How did you get there?

While waiting for another possible consultancy assignment abroad, I am currently engaged in training women leaders, and in monitoring and evaluation of development programmes/projects directly managed by national and international NGOs. I have continued to use lessons I've learned from my course and from the documentation and materials I've prepared or collected for further reading and future use.

What would be your top tips for students interested in working in this sector?

To learn more from experiences of classmates, professors and lecturers with substantive experience in working in least-developed countries (LDCs), more reading and participation in group discussions.

How has the University of Reading and the Careers Centre helped in your chosen career path?

The Careers Centre has provided me with updates on employment vacancies, tips on how to progress with employment applications and support in my other learning-related concerns whilst in school.

What are your top tips for students graduating this year? What should they be doing to secure the job they want?

To prepare and submit excellent job application and be highly confident and straight-forward during the interview.

What does the University mean to you and what is your favourite memory?

The University of Reading prepared me for higher employment opportunities and the real great feeling of being a University of Reading alumnus. I have several favourite memories whilst at Reading - my assignments in three different schools as volunteer student-tutor to pupils. It was formally recognized in a year-end recognition program for volunteer students -- that was graced by the University’s Vice-Chancellor. Also being able to support Post-Graduate opening days and did my best in encouraging new students to enroll in my school at the University of Reading and finally, I found more friends - both compatriots and those coming from other countries and continents.

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