Back in Canada

I know this post may seem a bit late, but I wanted to take some time to reflect myself before I shared my thoughts and reflections with the worldwide web. From past experiences, coming back to Canada is always the hardest part about leaving because you struggle with who you are versus who you were, you struggle with your next steps, how to integrate what you’ve learned and how you’ve changed into your life, you struggle with falling back into how you used to be or how you want to be. It’s a major learning experience and it takes some time and reflection each time to decide how you want to decipher it.

This time, I felt as though there was more preparation and the university set up some debriefing sessions to help us determine how to answer those questions. In addition, we aren’t coming back into a former life, we’re coming back to the completion of our degrees and the beginning of something completely new – whether its work, more school, travel, or no plans – so there aren’t old patterns to fall back into.

Personally, there were some elements of placement that I really struggled with, however despite these struggles, I would never trade the experience for anything. I learned a lot about myself while in Hanoi, I developed a completely different sense of independence than I could have in Canada, I challenged myself, and I realized that there are no limitations to what I can do or accomplish.

My time in Hanoi gave me the self-confidence to stand out from the crowd, to be myself regardless of what is happening around me, to stick to my goals, and to shoot for the stars. Prior to living overseas, I never would have imagined that I would be good enough for grad school, that I could get a scholarship, or that I deserved to be noticed in that way. But it really pushed me to work outside of my comfort zone and to recognize my own strengths.

Placement also brought me a lot closer to some of my classmates; there are people that I spent time with in Hanoi that I will be close with for the rest of my life. I’ve made friends that understand me more than anyone I’ve known previously and who are unconditionally supportive. The heart and strength that I’ve seen in my classmates astounds me and I know that they will accomplish anything they set out to do. I feel incredibly fortunate to have been able to experience placement with such a wonderful and supportive group of people, and I feel even more fortunate to have such incredible people in my life.

Participating in an international experience is about more than school, it teaches you things that you can’t learn about in class or in books. There’s a value to travelling and living overseas that you can’t get from anything else. No other experience encourages you to test your boundaries, nothing else will ever ensure that you learn about yourself and the world in such a genuine manner, and there is nothing equal to it. Regardless of whether you are studying international development or anything else, go outside and learn about the world, go experience it. It will challenge you and it will expand your horizons more than anything else ever could.

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International Development Student Blogger

International Development students tend to be overachievers, we like to learn, we have lots of questions, and we enjoy the details. When I was preparing for placement, I would read the blogs of the students who were currently on placement to try to learn more. Now that the program has been established longer this is also used as a way for potential students (high school students) to learn about the program and see how they feel.

If you are interested in studying international development, working in international development, travelling, or are just plain curious you can check out my blog for the Faculty of Environment here. I post frequently :)

Welcome to INDEVOURS

Welcome to INDEVOURS.

Hello everyone, this is from INDEVOURS a group that I am a part of and that is fundraising to help make the last year of our degree a reality. So, go check out the site, post your comments, check us out on facebook, and don’t be afraid to interact. :)

If your interests vary from mine, this is also the opportunity to check out the other 31 students heading to placements and learn about what they’ve been blogging about and the work they will be doing in the upcoming year.

The Graduate School Debate… Continued

I’ve been loosely looking into different graduate programs and schools to try to find something that I feel best fits my goals and interests and that I feel I would love.

Here are some of my ideas.

Master of Public Administration at Queen’s

What I like about this program is that it is an extremely concentrated degree taking place in only 12 months instead of the usual 2 years.

Social and Political Thought at Acadia University

I really like the interdisciplinary nature of this program and that it would allow me to further develop my own research interests and ideas.

Master of Public Administration at Dalhousie University

I love the east coast and I love Halifax, I wanted to go to Dalhousie for my undergraduate but my family felt staying in Ontario would be best. I also like how developed Dalhousie’s graduate school is as it would allow me to take courses across a number of Faculties.

Master of Public Policy at Simon Fraser University

While this is a two year degree, it includes a paid internship and has research supervisors who specialize in gender, international policy, sustainability, governance, and a ton of other areas I’m also interested in.

Master of Public Service at the University of Waterloo

This is also a 2 year degree however only 1 year is in class, the second year consists of an internship or co-op. The downside is that the co-op is done through career services and is limited to placements with national, provincial or local agencies. The course structure is also fairly set in stone with little to no electives or opportunities to specialize.

Master of Business Administration in Community Economic Development at Cape Breton University

This is a program that can be done in 12 months and I believe it would open more doors for me in the field of International Development as well as in other fields as well. It also allows me to specialize in a number of different areas.

Master of Arts in Political Science at Memorial University

I particularly like that I would be able to do a one year degree including the internship or research paper, however I’m not as excited about having a Master of Arts.