Studying at the Hochschule Rhein Waal – The definition of applied sciences

An experience report from Mattia

I enrolled in the Master Degree in Sustainable Development Management during the Summer Semester of 2017. Despite being sceptical of studying in a small town such as Kleve and not having heard about the HSRW before, I was attracted by this particular study programme that at the time was a unicum in the EU landscape. After some years and seen where this Master has brought me I can surely say that I have made the best possible choice.

As an Italian with a background in International Relations and Diplomacy at the University of Bologna and having studied and lived in different large cities worldwide, adapting to Kleve was, at first, quite cumbersome. However, the University staff was really helpful in providing all the help needed to get around German bureaucracy and University regulations.

I was shocked by the level of internationality that this University has (at the time more than 120 nationalities were represented by enrolled students), finding in a small town such as Kleve so many people coming from all over the world really made the difference. These students really contribute to making the city an international melting pot providing a space for exchanges and making the life in such a small town as exciting as the one that could be found in other bigger cities in Germany. The interaction between international and national students favoured by the size of the city and the campus makes initiatives such as the Model of the African Union, the Festival of Tolerance and extra-curricular course made by the students for the students, something that is part of everyday life in the HSRW, providing opportunities to exchange and learn.

The HSRW and in particular the Master Degree in Sustainable Development Management have also organized of the study course and the way the different topics are approached. The level of practical knowledge that I have acquired both on project development and management was very useful and got me prepared for the job market to the point that when I have landed on my first real job opportunity as a project manager in Brussels I was ready to perform most of the tasks I was assigned to. Furthermore, the Master Degree provided me with the opportunity of enhancing my network and getting useful contacts to build my career path. It was thanks to the visit to the UN SDG Action Campaign in Bonn that I had the possibility to find out about their internship programme, apply and work within the UN in Bonn for 6 months right after my first semester at HSRW.  In addition, the programme organised study-visits to the DIE (German Institute for Development) and the Ministry of Development Cooperation in Germany which were fundamental to learn the insights directly from people working in the sector. Last but not least, the human size of the University provide the opportunity for students and professors to have fruitful exchanges on topics and build up collaborations that continue after the end of courses.

Thanks to courses such as the Management of a Development Project, International Institutions in Development Cooperation and others, this Master Degree really gives you the knowledge required to enter the world of development cooperation not only having the necessary knowledge but also knowing how to apply it. I would definitely advise students to check out the Master Programme and enrol if they wish to work in development and cooperation.

In a nutshell, to prospective students I would say, don’t be afraid of going up north for your studies and don’t be afraid of the size of Kleve, sometime less is more and small is big. I wish you all good luck and I hope you can make the most of the opportunities that the HSRW has to offer.


The content of this page was created by Mattia.