Why, according to the United Nations, are more than a billion people in the world live on less than a dollar a day? How do government policies and economic systems impact international aid to developing countries? Who are the most vulnerable in experiencing inequality in society and what is being done? These were some of the questions I had the chance to debate at university with students from different countries and backgrounds who brought new perspectives on how these issues can be viewed, understood and solved.
The idea of studying ‘international development’ as a degree never occurred to me before I started looking into universities. Twenty years ago, development studies were a fairly unheard of degree subject. It has developed in popularity as an engaging discipline within universities such as Oxford and Sussex who have interdisciplinary programmes to understand and address some of the world’s current social issues.
If you are interested in global issues and getting to the heart of understanding poverty, inequality and social justice, here are 3 reasons why I would recommend it as a degree at university:
- The opportunity to understand the ‘Big Picture’:
International Development is a holistic and interdisciplinary subject. Complex social issues such as the current global refugee crisis and social movements for example are better understood through a range of lenses. These include: historical, colonial, economic, political and anthropological. If you enjoy understanding issues through different contexts and perspectives, then studying development will give you the chance do just this!
- Debate and problem solve with students and practitioners:
Studying International Development gave me a chance to really broaden my mind by the issues in small classes with students from all around the world who came with different experiences and perspectives. It was also enriching being taught by lecturers who were active in their field and shared their practical experiences creating positive change.
- Develop useful critical thinking and analytical skills:
International Development has definitely challenged my perceptions of what I see and understand in the media. I am able to think critically about different agents of change such as aid agencies, the UN and the World Bank and how they view development. But most importantly, I gained an understanding of what is being done in the name of ‘development’, how this impacts people on the ground both positively and negatively.2017, courses, development, international, international development, Jamila, OISS, oxford, summer, summer school