Capacity building requires intercultural understanding

During the introductory field work course in Thailand, Bogdan Mihai got what the programme he had applied for was all about: Agricultural development and capacity building in developing countries is a two-way process, which builds on exchange of scientific knowledge, common intercultural understanding and excellent social skills.

A small Mayan community in the middle of nowhere in Mexico. That’s where Bogdan will be doing field work for his thesis about conservation and land tenure.

In this connection, it is important for Bogdan to stress that the Agricultural Development (AD) programme does not teach you to go abroad to force a European approach or way of thinking on people in developing countries. The programme teaches you to help communities through dialogue and collaboration, which requires intercultural understanding and social as well as communication skills. Bogdan feels that this process makes you grow as a human being and makes you understand that you learn just as much from capacity building as you give.

His interest in the programme stems from an academic background in agriculture with focus on rural development as a key element for attracting tourists to developing countries which in many cases rely on income from tourists. Initially, Bogdan did not know what to expect from the programme, but after one and a half year of studies, Bogdan can see that the AD programme has been the right programme for him and that it has become only better and better as he has went along.

“I like working with people and putting theory into practice. That’s the beauty of the AD programme: It is hands-on, interdisciplinary education which is applicable around the world. This gives you an opportunity to work with people of many different cultural backgrounds”, Bogdan says.

All in all, Bogdan is happy that a professor back home in Rumania encouraged him to go to SCIENCE on Erasmus exchange three years ago. At that time, he had completed his BSc in Agriculture in Rumania and was working in England. He was intreaged by the challenge and went to Copenhagen which he fell in love with immediately. So much so, that he wanted to stay for an MSc degree at SCIENCE. He decided to apply for the AD programme while he was on exchange after he had participated in SCIENCE’s MSc Open House day in April.

Having been an exchange student for half a year, Bogdan had experienced that the academic level at SCIENCE is high. He also knew that the way of studying is very different from what he had known in Romania. Namely group work, in which you get to work with people from all over the world, and the high level of freedom under responsibility which takes a great deal of self discipline has been exiting and challenging for Bogdan.

International study environment

However, student life at SCIENCE is not only hard work, but also rich on social events with international as well as Danish fellow students. When time allows Bogdan meet friends at the student bar “A-vej” on Friday nights or in the Green House café for a cup of coffee after classes. Also outside of school, students gather at dorms for private parties or they meet for sports.

In touch with the real world

The AD programme offers a great deal of contact to the real world through field work in developing countries, also for your thesis. But Bogdan does not know yet, what kind of job he would like to go for upon graduation. He may apply for at PhD programme at SCIENCE or a job in a Danish company or organisation, but time will show.