ANALYSIS ON THE BASIC ELEMENTS OF THE INTERNSHIP PROGRAM OF THE INTERNATIONAL MASTER’S DEGREE IN PEACE STUDIES, CONFLICT AND DEVELOPMENT AT THE UNIVERSITAT JAUME I OF CASTELLÓN, SPAIN
In this article we present the most relevant elements that constitute the Internship program of the International Master’s Degree in Peace Studies, Conflict and Development at the Universitat Jaume I of Castellón, Spain, as a space for its student empowerment. In these studies, knowledge in relation to peace and conflict theories, development cooperation, humanitarian aid, democracy, human rights, peaceful communication, gender or postcolonial studies is promoted.
In 2008, the Internship program was implanted within the Master’s curriculum. This course encourages the students to approach to the realities of national and international entities such as research centers, NGOs, international agencies and organisations in relation to peacekeeping, co-development, education, sensitizing and/or denunciation. In this regard, students have the possibility to carry out activities that may include, from participating in humanitarian aid in the case of a natural disaster and/or in situations of armed conflict and after a war conflict, since offering assistance to various institutions and organizations in the process of transformation and the social, economic and political development. The number of hours of the Internship program ranges between 160 and 480 depending on the necessities of the institution and on the interest and the possibilities of the students. There agents are involved in the process, i.e. coordinators, tutors and supervisors. The coordinators manage and organise the internships, assign students to the most adequate tutor and carry out an in depth study of every entity included in the process. The tutors are university academics who ensure the good development of each student’s professional stay. They are also committed to maintain appropriate contacts with the person responsible for the supervision of stay. The supervisors advise and provide technical support to students in the development of the internship, and collaborate in their practical training. The assessment of this period is performed by both the tutor and the supervisor of each student. Once the internship is completed, the student must defend the work plan and the project developed to a panel of experts and university professors.
Many projects have been carried out in different entities and in different countries. Among them, we want to highlight experiences such as “Information and communication within the development plan. Experiences at Intermon Oxfam and in DPS of Cabo Delgado, Mozambique”, “Responsible journalism in the Colombian armed conflict”, or “Education as a transformation tool for a cultures of peace in UNESCO, in Dominican Republic”. The last project was possible thanks to the solidarity internships in impoverished countries scholarships offered by the Office of Professional Practices and Career Service, and the Office of Cooperation to Development and Solidarity at Universitat Jaume I. The main objectives pursued include improving understanding of the economic and social environment of the country of destination while acquiring work experience and obtaining specific skills for the cooperation to development.Through this life experience the student learns about the different ways to approach peace-making, understanding and transforming conflicts and development cooperation that goes beyond mere academic understanding.