"More than half the people of the world are living in conditions approaching misery. Their food is inadequate. They are victims of disease. Their economic life is primitive and stagnant. Their poverty is a handicap and a threat both to them and to more prosperous areas. For the first time in history, humanity possesses the knowledge and the skill to relieve the suffering of these people." - Harry S Truman, 1949
With its proximity to the EU and NATO, Leuven also houses many non-profit organisations focusing on development, poverty and inequality issues, as well as social, political, environmental and cultural change whose aims are to contribute to possible solutions to societal problems that development or its absence may produce.
This is a challenging field to work in post-graduation, as employers need people who have good overseas experience and specific skills. To work overseas, students will need to build up their skills and expertise in the country to ensure that local people aren’t negatively affected by the other entering to help. This is where your internship in Leuven comes in, your first stepping stone on the path towards working in the field!
Development Studies Internships
Development Studies interns can expect to work within a range of different types of organisations: human rights-focused NGOs, political lobbyists, food and health-focused organisations, fundraising organisations, start ups, etc. They can be focused locally, nationally or internationally, and can be socially focused or politically/economically focused.
Many of the areas overlap each other, and all of them come together to create comprehensive, sustainable development. Getting some work experience in this field, no matter the area, can help you choose a career path within development that fits best with your interests and skills.
With a population of 90,000, 40,000 of which are students, there are few towns in Flanders that appeal to the imagination more than Leuven. Interns will be immersed in history, culture, architecture, gastronomy and modern science all at the same time. From the Gothic Town Hall and the Great Beguinage, to the student atmosphere of the Old Market Square and the home of Stella Artois, Leuven has it all. Irish College Leuven is within a short walking distance of all of these landmarks, and more!
Most people get around by bicycle (Fiets), foot or bus – the choice will be yours! Being such a small town, you can cover all of it by foot in a single day, which will allow you to treat yourself to one of Belgium’s sweet treats at the end of the day.
Leuven is also only 20 kilometers from Brussels, which is well connected to neighbouring countries Germany, The Netherlands, Luxembourg and France.
Speaking of food, Ireland wasn’t short of amazing places to eat and enjoy night life. I’ll never forget the evenings I spent watching performers dancing in pubs, streets and restaurants just to entertain us! The way the performers interacted with one another and the crowd really made for a genuine and friendly vibe in Ireland. I think about the six weeks I spent in Ireland almost everyday.
It has changed the aspirations I have in life and made my desires more meaningful. It is remarkable how big of an impact this country and program has had on me. I would not change it for a thing."
Airfare, materials for placement, visa, transport, mandatory health insurance, some meals and spending money aren’t included. Please budget accordingly.