Your Master’s degree is the key!
By Rex Baluwa, 2010-11 Irish Aid Fellow.
How I miss the corridors of UCD and its wonderful experiences!
My name is Rex Elias Baluwa, one of the Irish Aid sponsored postgraduate students from Malawi during the 2010/11 academic year. I studied for a Masters in Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (MSARD) at University College Dublin.
Rex on a supervisory visit after resuming his role
When my name was among the successful candidates to be sponsored in 2010, I was very excited but at the same time nervous on how I was going to adapt to the new environment. I was not sure how I would interact with the crop of new friends from different backgrounds, cultures, experiences and whatever you might think of!! To my surprise, I felt at home the first day I arrived in Dublin. I could feel the love and warmth of people in Ireland, how they were willing to help out when you were stranded or lost. In a special way, it is worth recognising the untiring support from ICOS staff in trying to make life very comfortable and unforgettable living experience.
Like most fellows, I worried how I was going to cope with young classmates at the college, but my UCD experience cleared all those worries. It was interesting and enjoyable to share experiences with younger students. During my time, most of them were willing to learn from us, more especially those of us coming from the developing world. It was also worthwhile sharing experiences in class, especially among people with a prior working background, as most of the issues were relevant.
To my surprise, I felt at home the first day I arrived in Dublin. I could feel the love and warmth of people in Ireland, how they were willing to help out when you were stranded or lost.
When my academic days were over at UCD, I was excited to reunite with my family as well as my work colleagues and friends, but at the same time sad that I was going to miss some good friends that had became part of my life in Ireland.
I arrived in Malawi toward the end of November 2011 and reported back to work after a month of recuperation from academic pressure. I am enjoying my work since that time as my masters degree has given me confidence to contribute at a higher level, having acquired more knowledge on policy and other development related issues.
Of course, before I reported for work, I was worried that I had missed a lot on career progression but the studies were key to my career. I have since adjusted very well in my working environment.
My appeal to all new Irish Aid sponsored students is don’t strain yourself on how you are going to adapt to the Irish college environment or how you are to adapt to your work afterwards.
Life is good when you have your academic papers. Your Master’s Degree is the key.
Wishing all Irish Aid Fellowship Alumni all the best!!!