My name is Franziska and I studied the MA International Communication at the School of Media and Communication this year. I was lucky enough to obtain a departmental bursary to attend the Centre for Global Development Summer School 2015, which was a great experience both academically and personally. It allowed me to expand my knowledge in Development Studies in a very interdisciplinary environment, as everyone who participated in the School came from a different academic discipline or work background. It thus became very easy and enjoyable for me to learn about contemporary development issues such as food security, gender equality or peace building in the different sessions as these were designed for any knowledge level. The School provided a great opportunity to engage in interesting discussions with international experts in their fields, of which I particularly enjoyed Professor Michael Rudolph’s (Director of Wits Siyakhana Initiative for Ecological Health and Food Security, South Africa) presentation on food security this year. In this particular session, Professor Rudolph talked to us about the potential of urban gardening as a means of tackling health concerns in South Africa.
He provided us with a very inspiring talk on his urban gardening project in Johannesburg, which teaches poor communities about gardening and the benefits of a healthy diet. I felt that the speakers were always very eager to discuss their research interests with us, and moreover designed their sessions in a very interactive way that kept the Summer School engaging throughout. We for example learnt about the “Most Significant Change” evaluation tool used in development projects during a role-play and enacted finance summits as well as peace building conferences to engage with the materials in a more interactive manner.
Aside from contributing to my knowledge in Development Studies, I think that the Summer School was capable to inspire new directions for my future research and certainly enabled me to enlarge my professional network, as I was able to meet very interesting people from all over the world. It is a great opportunity to take for anyone who would like to gain some basic knowledge in the field of development, as well as for those who want to advance their existing skills and knowledge. Overall, I am very grateful that I was provided with the opportunity to attend and will hopefully be able to integrate some of the experiences I made into my studies and future career.