Alumni Profile: Reid Standish

Issued: Thu, 16 Nov 2017 10:02:00 GMT

What is your background?

I'm originally from Langley, which is a town in British Columbia, Canada.  I received my undergraduate degree in International Studies from Simon Fraser University.  For most of my studies, I've had a strong interest in the former Soviet Union and took all the courses related to that part of the world that I could while doing my Bachelor's degree.  I did a work exchange programme in Ukraine when I was 19, which peaked my interest, but was then drawn to Central Asia over the course of my studies and I focused on that region while at the University of Glasgow.  Throughout all the school work, I knew I wanted to be a journalist and worked at my school paper in Canada and also edited and managed a now-defunct international affairs magazine for students called 
The Hidden Transcript, which the IMRCEES programme supported during my tenure in 2012-2014.  During my second year in Kazakhstan, I freelanced and blogged for several media outlets while writing my thesis.

What is the best memory from the programme?

It's hard to pick one moment.  I made a lot of great friends during the progrmame and was able to travel, live and do research in several different countries.  IMRCEES also funded me while I did an internship after my first year in Washington and that helped me get a sense for the city and build some ties that were useful after graduation when I was looking for work.

What are you doing now?

After graduation I was hired by Foreign Policy magazine in Washington D.C.  I started there as an editorial researcher, fact-checking articles, doing editorial tasks and blogging but was promoted over the years to editing and reporting.  In addition to reporting in DC, I also did reporting trips in Europe and Central Asia and was able to hone my skills as a journalist and truly get a sense of what it's like to be part of a fast-paced and dynamic news organisation.  I left Foreign Policy as an Associate Editor in August 2017 and currently live in Helsinki, Finland where I work as a freelance correspondent for several U.S. publications, like The Atlantic, Public Radio International, and Foreign Policy magazine.  I currently cover nothern Europe, the Baltics, and Eastern Europe.

What advise would you give to our current students and applicants?

Work hard and take risks.  The programme offers a lot of opportunities and other avenues for important experiences, skills and contacts that will come in handy, but it's up to you to make it work.  Enjoy the experience, make friends and roll with the sometimes stressful flow of coursework and your thesis, but don't be shy about taking the initiative to get more out of the programme.