This is my first post ever on a forum so apologies if i get this wrong.
Ok, after a long career think I believe I have finally found my ideal type of job - working with international charities as a international aid/development officer
I just find something so statisfying about seeing the smiles on people's faces when you have done something to help them. I feel like this job would make me fulfilled as a person. I am also aware that this type of job can be stressful and emotionally exhausting in some cases.
So I have came up with a directional plan to help me achieve this:
I am currently studying A levels so my plan is from university onwards:
1.I love languages so I hope to study french and japanese to undergraduate level (the compulsory year abroad should help achieving my desired job)
2. If I can afford it, I may study for an MA in International development hopefully with work experience
Also, I am finding it very difficult to get a paid weekend job atm to help pay for future car insurance and my studies at university. I thought, so I could get some work experience to make me stand out in the uni application process, that I should volunteer at my local bernadoes charity shop (further experience working with a charity, but this isn't paid, so unsure for financial reasons?)
So do you think this is a good plan? Also does anyone know typical salaries of international aid officers? Would love to hear from anyone who studies or works in international development for that matter.
Thank you for all comments
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- Thread Starter
- 20-03-2011 00:20
- 20-03-2011 00:36
I'm thinking of doing something similar. Currently studying geography at uni.
As for your work experience, I think it is definitely a great idea. I volunteered at my local Oxfam for a couple of weeks, it was really disorganised so i left quickly but still put it on my UCAS app. I'm now working in another Oxfam, which I like way better.
So you could probably just write it on ur Ucas app and they would never know
- 20-03-2011 20:46
How much research have you actually done? There isn't really a job called international aid/development officer. You work in the field of international development or aid in some particular role.
Generally a masters isn't necessary, certainly not one in international development. Much more important is international experience and a skill that is needed in the developing world. Languages of course are very useful so that is definitely a good start. But what sort of work do you want to do? What area do you want to specialise in?
Look into organisations such as VSO who offer programs for 18-25 year olds to get experience in international development. There is often a need to do a number of unpaid internships to get into international development.
Also look at the aid blogs - Tales from the Hood is doing a series on students, others like Blood and Milk, Texas in Africa and loads of others give a really good look at life as an aid worker and the type of work they do. Further look at devnet and bond and the types of jobs available.
A final link is http://www.globalpovertyproject.com/blogs/view/289 which is a tongue in cheek video about people who want to be aid workers. But it does have some relevant points about checking out your motivations to work in international development.
- 21-03-2011 10:16
I currently work in this sector in the Middle East and North African Region.
Your plan is fine. Experience is the main thing after you have completed an undergraduate degree try and get some abroad. Also with regards to a masters it will not result in an automatic position in an NGO.
As someone has already mentioned there is no real job as a 'development officer' specifically. Most people have a very specific regional / technical focus.
Languages are important for some roles so think about the region you are most passionate and try and gain a working knowledge of the language.
As with regards to the general life it can be lonely at times. Remember the places that people are most needed are often in extremely 'inhospitable' places you will have to spend long periods abroad from friends and family.
Salary wise. It ranges a great deal. Some of my colleagues in other organisations are on very good salaries (especially compared to the average local salary) BUT these people work for very big organisations that often require a masters degree and 5 - 10 years experience in development work. Again this is very specifically focussed. So 10 years of random development experience is not as good as someone who for example has 10 years of work in social entrepreneurship.
If you have any other questions please ask away.