The term development cooperation arouses associations with fundraising campaigns for starving children in Africa and volunteers who build wells or schools in arid desert regions. In the professional world of development cooperation, however, it is about the sustainable change in the situation of people in poorer countries and crisis regions . The concept stipulates that something can only be achieved by helping people to help themselves .
In concrete terms, using the example of Africa, this means : creating better training opportunities and strengthening local industries. In this way, the countries become equal (trade) partners in the long term. The word development cooperation has therefore replaced the previously used word development aid in this context .
Achieving the goals of development cooperation requires skilled workers from all areas :
- Midwives and doctors
- Linguist and cultural scientist
- Social worker
Bachelor’s degree in development cooperation
In Germany there are so far only a few undergraduate bachelor’s degrees in development cooperation. In some social science courses , however, it is possible to focus on the area of development cooperation, for example in political science .
Master’s degree in development cooperation
According to Searchforpublicschools, those who have completed their bachelor’s degree also have the opportunity to specialize in development cooperation in a master’s degree. These courses usually include a project stay , semester or internship abroad , in which the students can put their theoretically acquired knowledge into practice.
Working in the field of development cooperation requires a high level of commitment . You have to cope with being separated from friends and family for long periods of time and sometimes living in the simplest of circumstances. Budding development experts and helpers should therefore bring a healthy dose of idealism and commitment and be very resilient. Also cleanliness are essential for work and study.
Development aid abroad
Unlike in Germany, development aid abroad can definitely be studied as an independent subject at a bachelor’s level. In countries such as Great Britain or Canada , but also in other English-speaking countries, there is a large number of courses in the field of development studies .
The bachelor’s degree programs have a strong interdisciplinary relationship . Depending on the university, they differ in their focus, which includes fields such as political science, geography or economics . In addition to the faculties mentioned, topics from cultural studies , sociology , administrative science and law also play a role. This gives development cooperation students a holistic perspective .
At the master’s and doctoral level, there is then again the possibility of a stronger specialization , for example in courses such as:
- Governance and State Building
- Aid management
- Community development
- Cultures and Citizenship
A complete bachelor’s degree in development aid abroad is particularly interesting for those who are clearly oriented in this direction from the start. If you are interested in the topic of development cooperation as a student from other disciplines or as a high school graduate, you can try out courses in this area as part of a semester abroad or an academic gap year .
Development cooperation is increasingly seen as a global task . Therefore, there are different approaches and perspectives to deal with the topic from country to country. Studying abroad offers budding experts the opportunity to critically question their own points of view and to receive new impulses for their future work. This also includes the experience of learning and working in international teams, the acquisition of intercultural competence and the improvement of foreign language skills.
Professional fields in development cooperation
Most of the graduates of a course in development cooperation aim to do practical work in international development cooperation. An employer can, for example, be one of the major German development aid organizations:
- the German Development Service
- the German World Hunger Aid
- the Society for Technical Cooperation
- for church institutions
- for associations or foundations
- at international organizations such as UNICEF or UNESCO
- for regionally operating organizations
- for ministries and in (development) politics
On-site activities include, for example, training and advising specialists or coordinating international projects . However, it is also possible to work in development cooperation from Germany. In the branches of large and small organizations in the field of development cooperation, skilled workers are needed who work from home desks. You coordinate projects, place specialists and take on other administrative tasks.
Advantages of studying abroad
Studying abroad can make it easier to get started with one of the above-mentioned activities. Potential employers value the sharpened professional profile , the acquired soft skills and the international perspective on the one hand . In addition, the contacts made during your studies abroad can also prove to be helpful, especially in the course of your professional career.