UCL Department of Geography


Clementine Andre, MSc Global Migration

Meet Clementine, a graduate from our MSc Global Migration course and a Regional Monitoring Manager for the Norwegian Refugee Council.

Clementine Andre

15 February 2024

She tells us about how the interdisciplinary nature of the course and the chance to conduct in-depth research on forced displacement and migration led her to apply.

Why were you interested in studying an MSc in Global Migration?

“I’ve always been interested in working for an international NGO or the UN system to support the lives of refugees, migrants, and or internally displaced persons. Coming out of my undergraduate studies in international affairs and global health, I felt I needed to do some more studies before getting into this sector. 

“I had identified three or four programmes focused on global migration, and especially appreciated the one at UCL as it is was part of the Geography Department. I felt it was the programme that was the most intersectional. 

“While I had the opportunity to take courses on global migration, forced displacement and the impacts of fleeing one’s homes in the past, I felt I needed to study this in a lot more detail, and I wanted to conduct actual research on the topic to understand the nuance of its complexities.”

What was it that encouraged you to choose UCL?

“UCL has an excellent reputation in the UK and abroad, and it was the only programme that I checked which focused on forced displacement and migration and allowed you to take a range of courses (within the Geography Department, and in other departments too). 

“I appreciated the fact that it was an intense one year course, where I could combine learning skills through the eight taught courses, as well as the dissertation work. I felt it was a programme which allowed for great flexibility and one that was looking for diverse backgrounds for its students. 

“I also appreciated that it was a rather small programme, with approximately 30-40 students per year. Coming out of a larger undergraduate university in the USA, I wanted this more one-on-one experience with professors and peers to learn from them.”

What were the most interesting or engaging things you learned on the course?

“Going into UCL’s MSc in Global Migration, I was quite limited in my knowledge of global migration and felt I needed to learn a lot more before being competent enough to respond to the needs of displaced people across the world.

“I understood the different factors that make people flee their homes, but without understanding all the nuances you need to consider when providing humanitarian assistance and setting up development or humanitarian programmes. I had always wanted to combine my global health, geography, and migration background into my studies. 

“UCL allowed me to take a wide range of courses (including one in the Child Health Department, focused on humanitarian action and international humanitarian law). Unlike other programmes, I also enjoyed the fact that it was not solely focused on the economics of migration, the culture of migration, but really brought together a diverse group of professors who each had very specific fields of expertise.”

Can you tell us about any particularly memorable experiences from your time as a Masters student with us?

“One of the memorable experiences of my time as a Masters student at UCL was the group of peers I had the chance to learn from and with. Each of us had a very different background and interests. 

“I felt that because we were such a small group, we were able to really debate, share opinions, and challenge each other’s views. To me, this was really the added value of the programme. Anybody can learn new skills and knowledge through textbooks and syllabus, but it is also key to go beyond the conceptual information and be able to share from our own work experience.”

What have you been doing since graduating and how has your MSc helped?

“Right after graduating from the course in August 2018 I joined the Norwegian Refugee Council’s (NRC) Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) as a Junior Monitoring Expert. 

“My work for the first year consisted of tracking, monitoring, and analysing internal displacements in the Lake Chad region of Africa. There, I combined my quantitative and qualitative skills learned at UCL to put together timely and sound analyses that informed NRC’s programmes in the four lake Chad countries.

“I then expanded this portfolio of expertise to West Africa, and then to Southern and Central Africa, and since early 2023, I have been leading and managing a team of four analysts in the Africa and MENA region. 

“My current role, as the Regional Monitoring Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East and North Africa, allows me to put together analyses on forced displacements, make recommendations to governments on how they can best respond to internal displacement in their respective countries, and provide timely analyses on recent displacement situations (i.e. Gaza, Sudan, Libya floods, Morocco earthquake, Eastern DRC violence). 

“You can see all of my recent analyses on the IDMC website.

“I am IDMC’s focal point and expert on internal displacements in the Africa and MENA regions, and often represent the organisation at international conferences, workshops and panels.”

Would you recommend studying Global Migration in the Department and why?

“Absolutely. The programme at UCL allowed me to grow immensely both as an individual and professional. It challenged me and allowed me to constantly rethink the ways I had been taught about this ever-changing and important topic of forced displacements. 

“Unlike other broader ‘political science’, ‘international affairs’ programmes, the Global Migration course, allows students to really dig deeply into a topic and meet professors from very diverse backgrounds. I was also able to combine my three areas of interest into my final end-of-year dissertation, with all the support of my supervisor, Dr Tatiana Thieme

"This dissertation, “Geographies of Uncertainty and Health: The Case of ‘Le Millénaire’ and ‘Porte des Poissonniers’ Migrant Makeshift Camps in Paris, France’”, allowed me to look into the structural and geography aspects of a ‘camp’ in a city like Paris, understand how the way the camp is structured has an influence on asylum seekers’ mental health, and make recommendations on how these structures could be improved. 

“The dissertation was quite unique and there was not much literature on the topic, but my supervisors were able to guide me in the right direction and always encouraged me to follow my gut and my passion in understanding how being displaced from one’s home has an immense impact on your wellbeing and mental health. A topic which, to this day, remains quite stigmatized and misunderstood.”

More Information

Interested in following in Clementine’s footsteps? Find out more about our MSc Global Migration course and see our other degrees in the Study section.