The next deadline for scholarship applications to our ‘Evidence-Based Policy Research Methods’ (EPRM) programme is 21 March 2018. In this post we hear from recent participant Gilbert Riboni.
As part of reinventing myself after a 21-year career in a high-stress job, I was looking to reengage in some sort of activity that would bring me back into contact with the international community.
My previous career afforded me opportunities to travel abroad and work with governmental and organisational policymakers at the highest levels. I knew starting afresh would not inject me back into situations at that level, but I was definitely looking for something that would put me back in touch with the current ‘global pulse’.
It was through my contacts that I heard about the EPRM programme at United Nations University. The application process was straightforward and before I knew it, I was given the opportunity to be part of the programme and dip back into academia. I had not been in a classroom setting for almost a decade! EPRM was the right move in determining if the pursuit of a postgraduate degree was indeed the right path for me.
I must say, the first two weeks were challenging. I had to relearn how to be a student. I had to prioritise my time to fit the rhythm of the EPRM schedule, instead of the relaxed schedule I had made for myself since retiring. It was not that easy, I must admit. What I can relay is the great feeling I had about being back in class. Just within our small cohort, we had a mini-United Nations and it was just that atmosphere that I had been craving. It was so impressive to meet these individuals from all over the globe and learn of the activities in which they involved themselves. I couldn’t have been more pleased.
As mentioned, the pace of the class was a bit overwhelming. I found it difficult to devote quality time to all the assignments. But thanks to the ability to take the course according to modules, I was able to pare down the workload and accomplish the assignments with a more balanced approach (rather than rushing through them just to get the work done). In this regard, it’s really important to understand oneself and one’s schedule. There’s no point applying for this programme just to be annoyed by the high-paced schedule. In my case, being able to split the modules has allowed me to really dive in to the readings and spend a bit of time reflecting on the information.
In my past career I was given the time and financial backing to pursue a postgraduate degree. The desire of my employer to advance the education levels of its employees was outstanding. Not only did my previous employer support advancing my education, they understood that they were investing in their future, looking to promote those who had achieved advance degrees to positions of leadership and higher responsibility. Although education doesn’t always correlate with advancement in one’s career, it cannot but assist in advancing one’s personal growth. The time and financial assistance provided were key to my success. Those education benefits were a crucial part of my application to EPRM. Without them, I may not have had the opportunity to start this new chapter in my life.
The opinions expressed here are the authors’ own; they do not necessarily reflect the views of UNU.
UNU / S.Brdoin