In the swing of things

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, but I wanted to get back in the swing of things.

Part of me views the past year almost as a break from the academic life because I was very much removed from it – living in Vietnam and working at SRD gave me the opportunity to take a step back and evaluate where I was and where I want to be and I found that I’m very happy with where I am and how things are going.  Vietnam has also taught me to learn how to go with the flow and take things as they come rather than try to control my surroundings which has proven quite useful.

Last week I made the big move to Toronto and started getting everything together for my Masters program and to work as a Teaching Assistant. So far I’ve found that the University of Toronto and the University of Waterloo are quite different (at least in my experience), my undergraduate degree offered the benefit of really small classes and I found that I was part of an absolutely incredible group of classmates and friends. Arriving at UofT, I’ve found that a lot of the class sizes are larger, the interests of people within my program are quite varied as are everyone’s backgrounds, so its become interesting to get to know my classmates and to see where I fit in within the group.

I came into the MA program wanting to do a thesis project rather than a research paper, but following conversations with my advisor, it seems that the research paper option is more highly recommended as it provides more experience and exposure with different professors. So it looks like that is what I will be doing. I’m still in the middle of choosing courses as it’s really difficult to get into courses from other faculties so I still have some hoops to jump through.

I’ve also found that my knowledge in certain areas seems to be lacking, so I’m trying to put together a reading list of different books and articles related to my interests and to research methods in general that will help me better understand navigate through the assigned readings for class.

Anyway, in the next while you can expect me to continue to comment on current events and news that I find fascinating and relevant as well as for me to brainstorm on some of the information and readings that I come across as I continue my studies.

If you have any suggestions for readings please feel free to mention them in the comments section, I’d love to discuss them with you.



International Development Student Blogger

International Development students tend to be overachievers, we like to learn, we have lots of questions, and we enjoy the details. When I was preparing for placement, I would read the blogs of the students who were currently on placement to try to learn more. Now that the program has been established longer this is also used as a way for potential students (high school students) to learn about the program and see how they feel.

If you are interested in studying international development, working in international development, travelling, or are just plain curious you can check out my blog for the Faculty of Environment here. I post frequently :)

Meet my sister

As most of my followers know, I LOVE to travel, but as many of you might not know, so does my sister. She is about to leave on an absolutely incredible trip to the middle of nowhere in Russia where she will be working for four months at a gold mine.

Her and I are both students at the University of Waterloo and are both in the Faculty of Environment, but where I am studying International Development, she is studying Environment and Resource Management and she will have the opportunity to put that education to use and will be blogging about it.

So, if you’re interested in environmental issues, adventure, travel, or Russia – meet my sister.

Abstract – Genocide: Perpetrated through Sexual Violence

I’ve recently finished a paper which examined the ways in which sexual violence can constitute acts of genocide and it’s a paper I’d like to continue to develop with additional research and additional case studies to better represent a variety of geographical locations. For the meantime, I thought I would share my abstract and once the mark from class becomes official I will share the rest of the paper as well.

Genocide and sexual violence are relatively new topics in the realm of international humanitarian law, yet their interconnectivity has caused some of the worst humanitarian crisis from the twentieth century into the present time. In understanding the ways in which specific instances of sexual violence have contributed to and constituted acts of genocide it can be argued that, in context, sexual violence can be a means and act of genocide. Through analysis of secondary sources and government reports this paper will examine the experiences of women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to demonstrate the ways in which sexual violence has been used as a tool of genocide. 

So why do I blog?

I mentioned this way back when I started this blog, but I thought it might be time for a refresher.

I originally entered the blogging world because of class (but I think I’m becoming addicted to it), but the real reason I’m here is because of a wonderful group of people known as INDEVOURS. They are my family away from home, my friends, classmates, colleagues, and each and every one of them is a force to be reckoned with (and one that the world will soon see). I have the upmost trust and faith in each and every one of these people to make a significant difference in the world that we live in.

We are all unique, we are creative, and we are critical and this video will show you a little bit more about us.

If you want to learn more about us and interact with us on a regular basis check out the facebook page or twitter account.

Why Study International Development?

Why Study International Development?.

My program and what I’ve invested 3 years (so far) of my life in learning about. It’s refreshing to see and hear the importance of international development defined and outlined so well from someone outside of my class.

Location, location, location

I now know that I will be working with Sustainable Rural Development (SRD from now on), however they have yet to confirm where I will be in Vietnam. I was told that Hanoi or Hue would be most likely, however I had assumed this entire time that Hue was the only options as it was listed on the application.

Now I play the waiting game yet again. But here is an exciting map with all of the potential locations that I could be next year!

The waiting game.

As I sit in class, I’m anxiously awaiting news of which organization I’ll be spending 8 months with in Vietnam come September. People surrounding me are checking their e-mails with excitement and sometimes confusion as they get notice of where they’ll be.

The options that I’m aware of are the Vietnam Women’s Union, located in Hanoi, or Sustainable Rural Development, located in Hue. Each placement has pros and cons, namely based on location as if I’m in Hanoi I will be closer to friends and it would be easier to travel outside of Vietnam, however if I’m in Hue I’ll have a greater opportunity to practice Vietnamese and truly immerse myself into the culture.

I also believe that the placement I have will drastically influence my future career and research interests. Working with the Women’s Union will allow me to further my work and research in gender and human trafficking. Whereas working with Sustainable Rural Development would allow me to broaden my understanding, work in rural areas (huge plus for me), and look more into sustainable resource management.

I’ll be happy regardless of which placement I get and once I know, I’ll be able to do further research on the specific organization and some of their work. Hopefully I’ll know today or within the next few days.