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Marie Krestaline Juliana Dedans

Master in Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security, University of Galway

I would strongly recommend it to many young professionals ... The programme creates a significant stepping stone for career development. It has been a fantastic opportunity for cultural interaction and exposure ... It provides outstanding networking possibilities that will last long beyond my time in Ireland. 

My name is Marie Krestaline Juliana Dedans, I am from Mauritius, and I am currently pursuing my Masters in Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (MsCCAFs) at the University of Galway at the Ryan Institute. I am truly passionate about our beautiful planet and its rich biodiversity. I find immense joy in exploring the wonders of nature, whether it is hiking through lush forests or simply enjoying the tranquillity of a sunrise. One of my greatest joys is exploring the mysteries of the ocean depths. Diving allows me to witness the incredible beauty of marine life and the importance of preserving our oceans. I am deeply committed to environmental preservation. I hold the belief that every individual has a vital part to play in safeguarding our planet, and I am actively involved in efforts to lessen our environmental footprint. I am a staunch supporter of empowering youth and women through leadership programmes that ignite, drive, and inspire constructive transformations in society. With more than four years of experience in food safety and the exportation of fish and fish products, I have developed a deep understanding of the farm-to-fork concept of the Seafood industry and have successfully navigated complex challenges. Beyond my professional successes, my dedication to community service defines a significant part of my character. I firmly believe in the impact of altruism and consistently involve myself in volunteer endeavours whenever opportunities arise.

As a Technical officer at the Competent Authority of the Ministry of Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping, I performed official controls for the exportation of fish and fish products to the EU and Non-EU Countries, guaranteeing food safety and sustainability at all stages of the food chain. In addition, I assisted in audits of all registered Fish Business Operators (cold storage, processing plants and aquaculture farm) assessing their HACCP Manual as well as ensuring that all procedures and prerequisite programmes within the facility are implemented, monitored, and evaluated. I conducted regular checks on fishing vessels, landing sites, aquaculture farms, and importation of live ornamental fish as per EU legislation, National Government Notice and procedures in place.

I chose the Master of Science in Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security (MScCCAFs) at the University of Galway in Ireland because of its intriguing course content, which provides a solid foundation in climate policies as well as tools for integrating climate change concerns in the food and agricultural sectors. Equipped with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and Aquaculture Technology from the University of Mauritius, along with the completion of a short course on Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in Africa facilitated by the Australian Award, I am deeply passionate about becoming a climate change expert, particularly in the blue sector. Pursuing a master’s degree will enable me to advance toward my career aspirations by deepening my comprehension of climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies and the intricate connections between Food Security, Sustainable Development Goals, Planetary boundaries, Agriculture, Blue economy and policies.

So far, the Ireland Fellows Programme has been instrumental in enhancing my skills, particularly in teamwork and communication. The collaborative nature of the fellowship has allowed me to grow, refine my abilities, and increase my professional network by connecting with other Fellows from different countries, mentors, and industry experts. The scholarship has granted me access to valuable resources like workshops and training materials, which have not only enhanced my understanding of climate change but also equipped me with the necessary skills to excel in my studies. The mentoring opportunities have enhanced my learning experience and provided valuable insights into the diverse procedures to overcome challenges. Engaging in a community of like-minded people fostered a sense of belonging, and shared purpose, which twisted opportunities for future partnerships. Overall, the fellowship has been a life-changing experience that has shaped not just my professional abilities but also reshaped my perspective on climate change.

The Master’s programme in Climate Change, Food Security, and Agriculture course has been an eye opener with a comprehensive understanding of the interplay and ramifications between environmental factors, food production, and global agriculture. The programme has exposed the science behind climate change, its impact on ecosystems, and the challenges it poses to global food security. Topics covered include climate modelling, carbon cycles, Gender in Agriculture, Nutrition, and the relationships between climate patterns and agricultural practices. I have developed a holistic perspective on food security taking into account its socio-economic and environmental dimensions. The programme has also delivered insights into effective adaptation and mitigation strategies to address climate change's impacts on agriculture. I have learned about innovative technologies, smart and sustainable farming practices, and policy frameworks to enhance resilience in the face of changing climate conditions due to extreme weather patterns. In summary, the course has not only deepened my knowledge of climate change, food security, and agriculture but has also endowed me with a diverse skill set. I am excited to apply these insights in real-world scenarios, contributing to sustainable practices and global efforts to address pressing challenges in our food systems.

Adjusting to life in Ireland has been a rewarding journey filled with both challenges and excitement. The warmth and friendliness of the locals have made the transition smoother, and the rich history and traditions of Irish culture have been fascinating. One notable aspect is the weather, which can be quite different from the tropical weather I am accustomed to. The unpredictable weather has taught me to be prepared for anything and appreciate the beauty of the misty landscapes and sudden sunshine bursts. Navigating local communities and engaging in social activities has made me feel at home, and the strong sense of community and welcoming nature of the Irish people has created a sense of belonging. Adapting to the local cuisine has been an adventure and overcoming the initial differences in language and expressions has been part of the adjustment process.

Participating in the fellowship represents a unique opportunity for personal and professional growth and skills.  As part of the fellowship, I am looking forward to enhancing and acquiring new skills be it technical, leadership, or interpersonal skills. I aimed to stay abreast of the latest trends, advancements, and innovations and gain in-depth knowledge and insights into specific topics, which are useful to contribute a positive impact back home. I am actively participating in the fellowship community, engaging in discussions, and contributing to a supportive and collaborative livelihood. Overall, the fellowship offers a multifaceted experience, it is an avenue to learn, grow, and make meaningful contributions to one's field, and community and promotes intercultural awareness.

The Ireland Fellows Programme has been a life-changing experience for me. The best part of the fellowship is the promotion of personal growth, resilience, and flexibility. The Irish Council for International Students (ICOS) is a well-coordinated team with very genuine members who are constantly ready for questions at any time. ICOS has organised multiple events to provide an opportunity for socialising and exchanging experiences among Fellows. This gives me a sense of community.

Based on the lessons learned thus far with the Ireland Fellows Programme, I would strongly recommend it to many young professionals in and outside of Mauritius. The programme creates a significant stepping stone for career development. It has been a fantastic opportunity for cultural interaction and exposure. Professionally, the programme has been invaluable in developing my talents and broadening my knowledge in my field of study. It provides outstanding networking possibilities that will last long beyond my time in Ireland. The encouragement and support provided by programme organisers, mentors, and other participants foster a caring environment that promotes cooperation and shared achievement.

To prospective candidates who are considering applying for the Ireland Fellows Programme, here, are some pieces of advice based on my own experience:

  1. Research the programme thoroughly: Understand its objectives, focus areas, and past Fellows' experiences to align your application with the programme's goals.
  2. Clearly articulate your professional and personal goals in your application, explaining how the fellowship aligns with your aspirations and why it will be a transformative experience.
  3. Showcase relevant experience, achievements, and skills: Connect your experience to the programme's goals.
  4. Demonstrate your commitment to making a positive impact in your field by clearly communicating how the fellowship will contribute to your professional development and how you plan to utilise the knowledge and skills gained for the betterment of your community or industry.
  5. Emphasise your cross-cultural competence: Highlight your successful collaborations with diverse groups, showcasing your ability to thrive in an international and multicultural environment.
  6. Tailor your application to reflect your unique strengths and experiences, avoid generic responses, and be authentic in your application.
  7. Prepare for interviews by discussing your application in detail, your motivations, and how you envision contributing to and benefiting from the fellowship.
  8. Reach out to alumni or current Fellows for valuable insights and tips for a successful application process.
  9. Finally, ensure that you meet all application deadlines by submitting a well-prepared and polished application well before the cut-off date.

I could not have been more grateful for this life-changing opportunity by the Government of Ireland to Small Island Developing States, sub-Saharan countries, Asia, and other countries in the Pacific. I feel ready for the prospects that lie ahead to make the world more productive, safe, and sustainable.