Master’s Student in International Development Studies: Part I
Before starting my master’s in international development studies at Wageningen University, I wondered; Can I survive to learn all courses? Can I pass the exam? Will I have a lot of readings before starting the class? Will I have a nice classmate? How is thesis life? And other questions and doubts before coming to Wageningen.
Here, I will share my experience as an International Development student.
Following courses…..and group work
During my first year, I followed several courses, both common courses and specialization courses. All common courses usually in a big class, consisting of students from different specialization. My first course in Period 1 was Perspective and Theme in International Development Studies. This is an introductory course, where professors from different specialization background gave lectures in this class. As I have my bachelor’s in political science, I was really struggling to study the material from other specializations. However, in this class, there are group works where the members are from different specialization. I used these opportunities to learn from them and also to know new people.
What I like from studying at Wageningen University, the students are encouraged to work with people from different background and being an open-minded person when learning other science. I think the experience of studying with people from different background in my first year has familiarized me with this. However, ACT is a more complex and difficult course. This is because students were assigned to a group with different study background. Then, we need to give a consultancy to an external party (can be government agencies, organizations, companies, or research institutions).
For me, ACT was challenging but I learn a lot from this course. I was assigned to a group where we need to give a consultancy to a biodynamic certification body, Stichting Demeter. I learned from the project and dynamics of group work!
Finishing my thesis was one of the happiest moments in my Master journey. It all started with an idea and write it into a proposal! My thesis is about the interactions of Indonesia and the EU over the EU Renewable Energy Directives and palm oil trade. During the proposal writing phase, I planned the framework that I will use and how to get data. Here, I make the planning for my fieldwork. I went to my country, Indonesia, to do interviews with my thesis respondents. I also went to Brussels to collect data about the EU policy.
After the data collection phase, I need to analyse the data and write the thesis report. This was very exhausting for me. However, I learned a lot of new things besides my thesis topic, such as academic writing, asking questions, handling feedback from my supervisor, and time management.
I finally finished writing my thesis report in March. Then, I have the final presentation and thesis defence in April. I had the virtual thesis defence with my examiners. In my country, passing a thesis exam is one of a milestone for students. Usually, students who passed the thesis exam will take a photo with their supervisors and friends who watched the exams. As it is an online exam, I only took a photo with my Indonesian corridor-mate who also had her exam in that period.
Well, these are so far the highlights of my WUR journey. I am now having my work-from-home internship and hopefully, I can graduate in August. I am curious where all these experiences will bring me in the future! But, I had a lot of fun and learn a lot by studying at WUR!
More information on my study program can be found here.