Lydia Bethan Brown (Moore), 23, from the Isle of Skye, graduated with an MSc Global Health from QMU’s Institute for Global Health & Development in 2017.

Lydia met her future husband, Daniel Brown, on the first day of QMU Fresher’s Week at a ‘Speed Friending’ event at Maggie’s Bar. Three years later, Daniel proposed to Lydia in Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens, where they had their first date. The couple got married in Edinburgh in July 2017 and moved to Brussels two weeks later to start their graduate jobs.

Daniel studied BSc (Hons) Speech and Language Therapy at QMU and is now working as an intern speech and language therapist at the International School of Brussels.

Lydia’s QMU journey began as an undergraduate nursing student. However, after a year, she realised that a career as a nurse maybe wasn’t for her. Thanks to support from staff, Lydia was able to transfer to the BSc (Hons) Human Biology programme, and eventually got a distinction.

In addition to her studies at QMU, Lydia became the Project Manager of Scotland’s civil society UN House, promoting the sustainable development goals through a team of volunteers and a series of conferences on the conflict in Syria in 2015/2016.

Lydia also spent three months in the summer of 2014 on the International Citizen Service in Tanzania promoting water, sanitation and hygiene. This was partially what shaped her choice to study for the MSc Global Health at QMU.

Why did you choose to study MSc Global Health at QMU and in Edinburgh?

“The MSc Global Health is well structured to provide a general understanding of the topic before allowing you to engage with more specific modules. This gives a solid foundation to build skills.

“I was able to study how to use GIS mapping software to identify health inequalities which has helped me apply for a job since.

“QMU in general is, I think, is a very student aware campus, providing mental health support, extensions and general understanding that students are different and therefore may need different levels of input and support.

“QMU also provides opportunities for students to grow professionally. I spent a number of years as the Student rep to the School Academic Board, which gave me an insight into how a larger organisation operates.

“Edinburgh is an amazing, beautiful city with a fantastic community feel. After a few years it’s difficult to walk down Princes Street without seeing someone you know. Scotland in general is a great place to explore and live, especially if you can travel to the highlands during term breaks.”

How did you find the workload and support?

“When studying for an MSc, you really do have to enjoy your chosen topic as there is a lot of reading and self-study. However, this is a rare opportunity you may never have again - to spend a year researching and learning about a topic you find interesting.

“Some of the specific resources I found, read and learned about I now use on a regular basis.

“The Personal Academic Tutors can meet with you on a reasonably regular basis when you need them to advise and support you. This was a great resource.”

Did you work during the course?

“I worked part-time throughout my MSc as a Manager at an NGO. This was a very rewarding experience as I was able to apply the skills I learnt in the MSc to my job, and vice versa.”

Did you receive any funding, scholarships or bursaries to help you with your studies at QMU?

“I was exceptionally fortunate to receive two bursaries towards my MSc. One from Carnegie Cameron and the other from Santander Universities.

“The Carnegie Cameron Bursary helped me pay for my tuition fees and the Santander Universities grant allowed me to travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo to carry out my dissertation research. I would not have been able to access the MSc or travel for my research had these funds not been in place and I’m very grateful.

“I was also very fortunate to be able to access the Erasmus+ programme which facilitated me travelling to London to complete a specialised course in ‘Evaluating Interventions’ at University College London.”

Over the last 10 years Santander Universities partnership with QMU has provided support for over 400 staff, students, SMEs and charities, including Santander scholarships for students; research and mobility funding for QMU staff and students; the Santander Universities SME Internship Programme involving QMU students, graduates and local SMEs; and local charities who have received Community Awards.

The total financial commitment from Santander to QMU over the last 10 years is over £766,000. This funding has been used to increase the University’s international reach, develop links with the local community, encourage outstanding research and teaching, and enhance employability for QMU students and graduates. For more information about Santander Universities and to download a copy of the Santander Universities 10th anniversary booklet, visit: www.qmu.ac.uk/alumni-and-friends/opportunities-to-give/santander-universities

How do you think your QMU degree has equipped you with the skills/knowledge to development your career?

“The NGO/global health sector has a variety of jobs available and all of them require a level of specific skill. This MSc provided me with a grounding in most topics whist allowing me to explore a few in greater detail, such as GIS mapping and Epidemiology. This specific knowledge has facilitated further personal study in these areas and the possibility of employment based on these skills.”

What are your top tips for future MSc Global Health students based on your own personal experience?

“Make use of the library assistants if you are stuck with finding resources, as they are very helpful and may even be able to order the resource in for you.

“The lecturers are all very approachable and would happily speak with you about your plans for the future and guide you on module choices to shape your education.

“Your coursemates on this MSc are likely to be from all walks of life and many countries across the globe. The best education I could have received from this course was listening to the perspectives of my coursemates regarding the situation in their countries and their perspectives on world issues.”

What obstacles did you encounter (if any) during your studies and how did you overcome them?

“Whilst this was a wonderful obstacle, I realised that my wedding and subsequent move to Brussels was going to overlap with my dissertation writing and hand-in. The course leaders and my Personal Academic Tutor (PAT) were all exceptionally understanding, and congratulatory, and agreed to extend my dissertation deadline. This took a lot of pressure off me and meant I could focus on the writing and complete the dissertation to a higher level than might have otherwise been achievable. Thanks to the extension, I was able to achieve an A and was awarded an overall Distinction on my MSc.”

What have you been doing since graduating from QMU?

“Once I completed the MSc, I was immediately asked to act as the Mentor for Sustainable Development Goal 3 (SDG3) at World Merit 360, a programme which encourages and assists youth from across the globe to create projects for sustainable development. The project is 10 months long, beginning with a two-week residential stay. This culminates with presenting the resulting project at the House of Lords, which is attended by Lords, Ladies, and well-connected business people.

“Directly afterwards, I began consulting for a strategic foresight social enterprise and then took a role as Junior Technical Officer at the World Health Organisation (WHO).

“I’m currently still at WHO and have accepted a position as Monitoring and Evaluation Officer with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Cox Bazar, Bangladesh, assisting with the efforts to provide healthcare to the Rohingya refugee population.”

MSc Global Health:

www.qmu.ac.uk/study-here/postgraduate-study-at-qmu/2018-postgraduate-courses/msc-global-health/

Institute for Global Health & Development:

www.qmu.ac.uk/schools-and-divisions/ighd

Postgraduate funding:

www.qmu.ac.uk/study-here/fees-and-funding/postgraduate-funding

Santander Universities:

www.qmu.ac.uk/alumni-and-friends/opportunities-to-give/santander-universities

www.qmu.ac.uk/news-and-events/news/20171115-qmu-and-santander-universities-celebrate-10-years-of-successful-partnership

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