Today’s blog is from Rika Idei who is using the skills she learned during her MA in Social Development and Sustainable Livelihoods, to study the effectiveness of development projects on poverty reduction. Here she explains what attracted her to Reading, and why she would recommend it for those who want to work as development practitioners in the field of sustainability, particularly those living and working overseas.
I had two main reasons for my decision to apply to the MA course at the University of Reading (UoR). Firstly, it offered comprehensive programs related to international development, through the Graduate Institute of International Development and Applied Economics (GIIDAE). That comprehensiveness was helpful for us to rethink ‘development’ from various perspectives. The second reason was that only UoR had an MA course aimed at revisiting ‘livelihoods’, which is essential when discussing how people’s lives should be improved sustainably through development works.
After joining the course, I noticed many interesting things. For instance, most of the students had experience as practitioners from all over the world. We could enjoy exchanging opinions based on our own field experiences and, sometimes, lecturers and professors joined our discussions. Another finding was that it had a robust academic network among the universities in the UK, which provided us with access to their libraries, and helped me to find a variety of texts related to my dissertation.
Before coming to the UK, I worked for more than three years as a regional planner in developing countries. Even after such an exciting period, the one-year life at UoR was a life-changing experience that broadened my perspectives and changed my communication style. I enjoyed my living environment, which was well equipped, and offered a very comfortable and secure room for students to study. The city was safe and convenient for shopping, and was covered well by public transportation networks. Throughout the year, I experienced plenty of local culture through various art events and concerts offered by local performers. I thoroughly enjoyed living and studying in Reading.
Nowadays, there are many universities offering international development courses all over the world. However, I would really recommend UoR as a strong option, if you want to pursue your career as a development practitioner. You can study the area you are interested in for your future career, with students and professors from diverse backgrounds and with a wide range of experience.
You can find out more about GIIDAE at the University of Reading here.