Friday, 31 January 2014

Studying Globalisation and Development at IDS - a graduate's perspective

By Maria del Mar Maestre Morales

Just over a year ago I was beginning my MA Globalisation & Development; two days ago I formally graduated (see very happy photo below - I'm the one on the far left) and today, I am working as a Research Assistant with the Globalisation team at IDS.

Credit: R. Coleman - IDS

While the building is the same, new students have replaced the faces I knew. Today I see those new faces with envy (and a bit of relief!).

When I was amongst those new students, we all had different expectations of the year ahead. Having previously worked for a few years, I came to IDS to strengthen my knowledge in development, to find answers that would enable me to find better solutions, to do my job better.

As expected I learnt about the global economy and its interconnectedness; its main actors, their dynamics; and the tools to drive countries towards sustainable and equitable growth.

However, IDS offered more than I anticipated.

In addition to learning from leading development experts I had the opportunity to interact with more than 100 students, from more than thirty countries, with different professional backgrounds, opinions and perspectives, all interested in development. Lectures became the place to learn, discuss, express opinions and debate.

It's not just quality teaching...IDS offers a unique learning environment

Beyond the lecture room, IDS is a place to explore any topic, organise workshops and, most importantly, interact with a wide network of students and researchers. The fact that all students have previous professional background helps create this environment, and meant that I not only learnt from theory but from my own or my colleagues’ real experiences.

I found IDS a unique environment to learn - I was not just a student, but part of a community determined to learn and work together to create change.

Last year was a journey of self-reflection and discovery. I engaged in amazing conversations and debates, not only with Globalisation colleagues, but with other students and researchers. My time was filled with presentations, term papers, lunchtime seminars - there was always something happening - seeing this year’s students brings back the memories.

As my fellow students are again spread around the world implementing the changes we learnt about at IDS, I continue, with my former teachers to explore and research how businesses can contribute to development.

For those of you who want to broaden your knowledge and reflect on how to improve your work, IDS is ideal. But beware, if you are looking for answers, you might discover those answers only lead to more questions! Your assumptions and current knowledge will be constantly challenged, but in the end, that is probably what you are looking for, right?

Maria del Mar Maestre Morales is a Research Assistant with the IDS Globalisation Team.  She has previously written on this blog about business and unpaid care work