Pursuing a career in international development is an interesting choice because, in an ideal future, it is an industry that would no longer exist. If development is done right, the demand for development workers will decrease.
So why did I chose to enter this (hopefully) dying field?
Firstly, I am not happy with the way the world is. Studying a Bachelor of Arts (International Studies) meant that I had to learn about everything that was wrong with the world. Topics ranged from global conflicts and global systems that benefit the wealthy at the expense of the poor, to human rights violations and environmental degradation. As you can imagine, it was indeed as gloomy as it sounds. Even the development subjects I chose focused solely on where development went wrong. I finished my undergraduate course with significantly more knowledge that I had started with, but I still felt disempowered to change anything.
Fortunately that is where the MIDP comes in
The masters course provided the perfect opportunity for me to gain practical skills. Although we still learn about the ‘dark side’ of the development sector, we also learn about potential solutions and programs that are devoted to getting development right. Furthermore, units like Project Management, Research Methods, and the internship provide real insight and practical skills that will come in handy for the future.
From theory to practice
Recently, I was fortunate enough to complete an internship in India with a Social Enterprise called Pollinate Energy. It was fantastic. It was incredibly rewarding to see a successful development program in action and be a part of the process. The opportunity gave me the chance to put theory into practice and truly challenge myself. Even though I was very excited, a part of me was understandably terrified. I think everyone at some stage doubts their own abilities- and I had over 20 hours on several aeroplanes to do so. Thankfully, putting my knowledge into practice showed me I was more capable than I had initially thought and I left feeling like I had made a valuable contribution to the organisation.
What makes the MIDP stand out
As well as the practical component built into the curriculum, there is a wealth of knowledge in the cohort itself that I do my best to absorb. For someone wanting to work internationally, being part of a group of mostly international students is ideal. The professional and life experience of both the domestic and international students, and their willingness to share, is what makes this course stand out.
Given the skills, knowledge, and passion of my fellow students, I sometimes wonder whether I should worry about the future of the development sector: it is easy to believe that global issues will be solved in no time and that I might find myself out of a job before I even start. Fortunately, many of the skills we learn are transferable, and the pessimist in me knows development projects and programs will be required for a few more years to come.