Study Abroad Case Study: International Development

For those wanting to widen their knowledge after completion of their bachelor’s degree, delving into courses away from the UK education circuit is becoming increasingly popular. Owing to the rise in tuition costs and the ever-competitive job market graduates are adding foreign educational excursions to their existing career related activities. Postgraduate education abroad enables you to specialise in an academic discipline within a stimulating environment. The overseas setting, diversity of fellow students, and depth of learning and research are both empowering and inspiring aspects of following an international Masters course.

The Erasmus exchange is where I initially felt the energy and excitement of studying abroad. Following my year abroad in Rotterdam, I completed my undergraduate course in Communications at the University of Leeds. After receiving my acceptance email from the University of Amsterdam, I was able to tackle the logistics and delighted at the prospect of returning to The Netherlands for my International Development MSc.

Dutch governance is, compared to England, more liberal and relaxed – a social regime that radiates onto their studying culture. Although assignments are weekly, there is less weighting on each submission. With these smaller chunks, workload is manageable and the continuous rhythm is beneficial for engagement in a student’s academic field. Additionally, the Masters appeals to British graduates owing to the fees, with the full one year costing €1800.

Taking part in a postgraduate programme for the Dutch is common, and owing to the level of English spoken in the country, a number of international students gravitate here. This creates a vibrant mixture of both international and national students together. The University of Amsterdam has a strong Social Sciences department, with which the International Development MSc is affiliated. The broad range of subjects and variation of programmes on offer are incredible. For example, International Development can be studied for one year or as a larger research Master for two years. Both courses require the students to design and fulfil their own on-the-ground fieldwork in a low income nation for their thesis, which is an ideal example of the innovative courses on offer overseas. Modules are particularly attractive because of the variety of assignments (from academic posters, electronic voting systems used in lectures, to leading debates), that coincide with fascinating topics, such as Global Health, Care, and Society, and Conflict Studies.’

For further insight into postgraduate life in The Netherlands, feel free to contact me with questions at [email protected]

To find out more about studying International Development at The University of Amsterdam, visit:

Hannah Whelan
International Development MSc (The University of Amsterdam)