What it’s like studying International Disaster Management and Humanitarian Response
Written by Francesca Burda, a second year IDMHR student
I’m Francesca, a second year International Disaster Management and Humanitarian Response (IDMHR) student at the University of Manchester. This course first caught my attention when I was in Sixth Form, trying to find something specific enough to fulfil my passion for helping people in environmental hazards. I soon found out it was much more than that… a thank goodness! Being an interdisciplinary course, you are able to study a wide range of subjects including politics, history, social anthropology, geography, which you don’t really get from any other course. The only difference is, we look at these subjects from a disasters, conflict, and worldly perspective.
In your first year of study, you take 120 credits, 80 of which are mandatory, and the other 20 can be taken within the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute (HCRI), or you can take them elsewhere as free choice units. A free choice unit means that you have the option to take a module for the semester in a completely different subject, for example, in history or a language. In your second year, you take 80 compulsory credits, with 40 credits to spare. As you go through the years, you have more and more choice to tailor it to your passions. For example, this year, I’m taking a politics module and 2 10 credit choices from the University College for Interdisciplinary Learning (UCIL). When it comes to your third year, you can tailor it completely to your dissertation, as long as you take enough credits. The choices are truly endless!
So far, some of my favourite modules have actually been the ones I least expected to enjoy or really knew nothing about them. In first year, we take a mandatory module called ‘Institutions and Governance’ taught by Dr. Catherine Arthur, and it initially sounds really complicated, but it’s actually helped me find my passion for politics and has spurred me to pursue a career in the United Nations. Another course that you’ll take in your first year is ‘Key Concepts’ taught by Dr. Amanda McCorkindale. This module gives you an overview of all the concepts and key ideas that you will continually apply throughout your degree. There are things that I learnt in semester 1 of my first year that I’m still using in my essays now. And that is something that I love about this degree. There is a constant sense of continuality and consistency of knowledge throughout the degree. Every bit of knowledge gets carried through, and no learning will ever go to waste!
There is so much more to the student life in Manchester than you’d ever expect! Whether its academic or otherwise, you’ll never be bored here. For example, I was able to undertake an internship over the summer, working remotely for a Ugandan organisation in New York. You are never short of being offered experiences and being supported till the end, whether that’s by lecturers, academic advisors, or the student support network that you are bound to build in Manchester.
Overall, my time at the University so far has been academically and socially rewarding! If you’re looking to apply or are an offer holder, here’s a little bit of advice: as long as you’re willing to learn and love to help others, you will have no problems with this course. In fact, you’re going to love it!