Originally from Kazakhstan, Elena grew up in Germany and studied in the Netherlands. She holds a BA in European Studies from Maastricht University and has done several internships, i.a. at the Friedrich Ebert Foundation. In 2015, she volunteered with the German Red Cross in the department of migration counselling for adult immigrants, an experience that made her conscious of the importance of well-governed migration. She went on to obtain an MSc in Public Policy and Human Development from the United Nations University, where she specialised in migration studies, gained basic technical skills for the design of poverty and inequality reduction policies, and explored gender studies in her thesis. Elena speaks German, Russian, English, and French.