Danya Salinas uses Master of International Development Practice to amplify international career
After starting her career in monitoring and evaluation for not-for-profit organisations in Mexico, current Master of International Development Practice student Danya Salinas (pictured right) realised she needed to dive into postgraduate study to realise her professional ambitions.
‘I quickly realised the labour market is very competitive,’ said Danya. ‘I looked at my options, and realised a master’s degree could provide options for networking and building up my industry connections, and help me improve my expertise in the development sector too.’
Danya started looking for a top-ranking multicultural university in an English-speaking country that offered mentoring, volunteering and internship opportunities, and discovered that a Master in International Development Practice at Monash fit the brief.
‘I chose Monash because it’s ranked in the top 100 universities and I loved the units that this Master’s offered,’ said Danya. ‘It was a challenge at the beginning as the education system is different from back home in Mexico, but Monash has been so welcoming. There are a lot of ways to connect throughout the Master of International Development Practice, including through professional internships and the volunteering department for postgraduate students.’
‘Through the volunteering department, you can do volunteering inside or outside the university,’ Danya explained. ‘It gave me the chance to go into the market or into organisations here in Australia, and look for opportunities to volunteer and then maybe eventually do an internship or work.’
Danya also took advantage of the Master of International Development Practice’s innovative online mentoring platform, Colab M, which is specially designed to fill the gap between post-graduate study and professional employment.
‘My mentor was from India and she gave me incredible first-hand insights into development and the industry on a global scale,’ said Danya. ‘I’m also currently mentoring incoming students through a Monash Arts program. Mentoring new students has enhanced my leadership skills – I’ve developed my ability to be a good listener and confidence in providing help and advice.’
The Master of International Development Practice has also provided Danya with essential networking opportunities, enabling her to grow her professional contacts.
‘I’ve found that attending the range of conferences and development workshops on offer is a great way to meet practitioners. The units often include guest speakers, so I’ve gotten to know working professionals who have done incredibly interesting things and have heaps of experience in the field.’
Danya’s experience at Monash has solidified her passion for the development sector. Now close to graduation, she plans to explore professional options in the areas of education, refugees, the disability sector, children and employment. ‘I’m considering two professional career pathways – academia and working in a consultancy or an organisation where I can keep improving my skills in research methods and my skills in data analysis.’
‘More than anything, this degree has opened my eyes to just how far I can take my studies – I feel confident about taking my passion for development and turning it into a great career.’