Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Academic Life

Well, I've finally gone and done it. Gone back to school, that is. From next week, I'll be formally enrolled in a Master of Development Studies at Victoria University here in Wellington.

Development studies is based in the department of geography, but is an 'interdiscplinary' programme, straying into economics, political science, environmental science, and others. This appeals to a dilettante like me. Professionally, it appears to be a pathway into all kinds of international do-goodery in the institutional or NGO sectors, as well as good background for further academic study or the kind of serious journalism that I'd love to do on a fulltime basis.

I understand from the teaching staff that students are expected to become especially interested in development issues in a particular region of the world. That's fine, since for me Latin America is a no-brainer. For those who are either interested or bored silly by the regular musings here on development issues in Latin America, it's hard to know yet whether there will be more or less blogging on these topics as the essays and assignments cut in.

In any case, I've done the natural thing for someone with an obsessive interest in Latin American issues -- pay large sums of money to carry on reading and writing about them.

No, wait...

The downside is that with the need to work a little less to fit in the study, finance may not permit the yearly visit to South America, meaning that I risk losing some of my personal connections with the place. The upside is that when I do make it back, there, I'll have sound academic reasons for staying around for a while.

3 comments:

Cecilia said...

How exciting...having just finished with school (again) I rather envy you. I know you will probably be crazy busy AND still have to work but there is something that is so revitalizing about going back to studying. Hopefully, you will be back in Sth Am soon so I can have a family member within a few hundred dollars and a few hours plane ride again...

Simon Bidwell said...

Thanks for the encouragement -- at the moment it's a complete unknown quantity. I'm coming to appreciate the courage it must have taken for you to go back and study full time, as I'm a bit nervous about even going below 0.8 FTE, even though I'm sure it will be tiring trying to balance work and study. But being in one's mid-30s, living in NZ, no obvious career pathway, AND poor, just seems like a bridge too far.

Susan said...

Well I am nervous too about dropping to 0.8FTE too - which happens at the end of next week for me. Am trying to think of ways to economise - no more visits to the Clarins counter at Ballantynes! I wonder what I have let myself in for as I will be working even harder than ever for 20% less pay and have no idea whether it will pay off in the long run - not to mention the shadow of getting older and older looming over me.