‘Africa was the cradle of humanity and will be home to humankind’s most important challenges: our security, our prosperity, climate change, the struggle for human rights and human dignity, the education of conflict – Africa is essential to our progress. Africa’s rise is not just important to Africa, it’s important to the entire world.’ (Barack Obama, September 2016)
In a globalized and utterly connected world our society needs graduates with academic expertise on Africa. A thorough understanding of African cultural frameworks, languages and history provides students with the knowledge and skills to build bridges between cultures. Graduates in African Studies find a job in the NGO-sector or cultural sector, in development co-operation, academic research, immigrant support programmes, in the tourist industry or in the business world, both in Europe and in Africa.
“I still don’t fully understand the complexity of Africa, but it is clearly a very dynamic continent. Studying its history, current events, languages, cultures and economy is extremely important, because I strongly believe that Africa will surpass China, India and Brazil in the coming decades.”
(Carl De Keyzer, photographer)
Why African Studies at UGent?
UGent boasts outstanding expertise in African Studies. It is home to a vibrant community of junior and senior scholars dedicating themselves to the study of Central and Eastern Africa’s languages and cultures, past and present. It hosts the Ghent Africa Platform (GAP) as well as several distinguished research groups engaging with Africa.
“What makes African Studies at UGent unique is the combination of language, anthropology, and history, which makes it different from programmes in other countries.”
(Lien, African Studies graduate)
“African Studies has really changed the way I think, about Africa, about the world, about myself. It has taught me to question my own assumptions, and to look beyond my own experiences.”
(Kristien, African Studies student)
Ghent: a vibrant student city
The city of Ghent is one of the unique selling points of Ghent University. The medieval city centre, its lively art scene and a fair number of world-class museums have turned the city into an important attraction. Ghent is truly a student city, with more than 70,000 university and college students. It is one of the cultural hotspots of Belgium, it is a centre of innovation, especially for digital technologies. Located in the centre of Europe, Ghent is just a few hours away from Brussels, Amsterdam, Paris and London. The city has also become highly diverse and multicultural, with large communities from countries such as Turkey and Morocco. The sub-Saharan African diaspora is also significant with large representations from Ghana, Cameroon, Guinea and the DRC. In collaboration with the Africa Platform of Ghent University Association, our master programme reaches out to these communities by co-organizing events, such as debates, visits to exhibitions and conferences.
Job opportunities for African Studies graduates
Given the interdisciplinary character of the African Studies programme, graduates find employment in a variety of different sectors. Holders of a degree in African Studies often work in research and education, integration, developmental work and NGO’s, social or cultural work, or in various governmental or commercial institutions.
“African Studies graduates have a good position on the job market. We’re trained in critical thinking, we have good writing skills, and we have especially learned how to deal with cultural differences.”
(Eva, African Studies graduate)