Two postgraduate students from QMU have fulfilled a lifetime dream to study in the Far East, thanks to support from the Common Purpose Study Abroad Programme.
Annie Fowden and Holly Hoskisson, who are both Master of Public Administration (MPA) students, applied to the Programme to help finance their travel and living costs in Bangalore, India, during summer 2017.
The MPA postgraduate degree is targeted primarily at public service and third sector professionals. The MPA focuses on key developments in public administration to help deliver public service outcomes more effectively in a rapidly changing environment. Central to this is the role of public services in promoting social justice and equality. Rather than reflect today’s public services, the state and society, the MPA aims to shape the public service landscape of tomorrow.
MPA students, Holly and Annie, joined other students from around the world as part of the Common Purpose Study Abroad leadership programme, which takes students overseas, gives them the opportunity to develop cultural intelligence, the ability to cross divides and thrive in multiple cultures.
The week-long Programme allowed Annie and Holly to take part in a series of workshops and lectures at Christ University in Bangalore, covering gender and equality, as well as developing leadership, public speaking and negotiating skills.
All Common Purpose programmes rely on self-directed learning. Peer learning and support is a key component of the programme, so students are encouraged to communicate with others by sharing strengths, areas of development, challenges and frustrations.
International experiences like this can also provide an even greater differentiator in a competitive graduate jobs market and far beyond.
Commenting on her experience on the Bangalore Study Abroad Programme, Annie said: “This was my first visit to the Far East, so it was a great opportunity for me to get outside my comfort zone, immerse myself in an entirely new culture and get a unique learning opportunity with other students from different parts of the world.
“The workshops gave me the chance to explore and debate gender and equality issues in different cultures, which I have a personal interest in. The experience has now inspired me to pursue a graduate career where I can have a positive influence on public policy and hopefully study for a PhD in this area in the future.”
Holly added: “The Common Purpose Leadership programme was an enlightening and inspirational experience. It not only gave me the opportunity to travel to the Far East and experience a new and diverse city and culture, which we were made to feel so welcome in. It also enhanced my skills and knowledge as an MPA student and manager within the Third Sector.
“The programme itself, incorporated leadership workshops, site visits to public sector and third sector organisations and provided insight into the opposing dynamics of affluence and extreme deprivation across Bangalore.
“The main theme of the week was to explore whether Bangalore is a 'smart' city, and it indeed has the ambition to be but faces so many challenges at the same time, which you have to experience first hand to fully understand.
“The Common Purpose Programme aligned exceptionally well to my MPA course and has without doubt enhanced my student experience at QMU. I hope the opportunity will be afforded to other students in the future, and I also hope I can have the opportunity to participate again too!”
For more information on the Common Purpose Study Abroad programme, visit: http://commonpurpose.org
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