MARIHE story of two CHEPS interns
An interview with two students from the Master of Research and Innovation in Higher Education
Interviewee: Nowreen Yasmin and Jin Tao
Interviewer: Katharina Lemmens-Krug
About the students:
Jin Tao is a student in the MARIHE programme. She graduated from Ecole Centrale de Pékin (Sino-French Engineer School) of Beihang University (Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics) in 2013 and furthermore has a bachelor degree in Mathematics and Applied Mathematics.
Nowreen Yasmin is a student of the MARIHE programme. Before this however she worked within the Educational Research unit of BRAC in Bangladesh. Nowreen has a bachelor and master degree in the field of Education and Education Research from the University of Dhaka where she graduated in 2013. Her ambition is to pursue a career in the field of Education. She can be found on LinkedIn.
Why did you choose the MAIRHE programme?
Jin: Becoming a MARIHE student seems both coincident and destined for me. I used to be an engineering student. During my masters in Applied Mathematics, I was more or less tired of the round-the-clock mathematics and physics courses, and felt I was reaching the saturation point. Therefore I decided to change fields. At that moment I was searching in my mind , and soon I remembered that my undergraduate final project related to MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) and education which was something quite interesting. And later a friend of mine who was involved in another Erasmus Mundus programme recommended MARIHE to me. After reading more about this programme, I found this was the right choice for me: an interesting field and a chance to discover the world – a real and total change. Then I applied and that led me here.
Nowreen: I checked the Erasmus Mundus website to search for one master program in my field of interest which is broadly education. Then I found MARIHE which is dealing with higher education in both a critical manner as well in detail. The Erasmus mundus programme offers full scholarship for the MARIHE programme. My previous educational experience never involved something related to HE which was one of my motivations to apply. Moreover, this program offers internship opportunity which was another motivation for me to apply.
What do you enjoy the most in your master programme?
Jin: First of all it’s the way of thinking. Social science is completely another story comparing to natural science, in terms of both logic and learning style. MARIHE gives me the opportunity to train my critical thinking, be more open-minded, and see things in multiple ways. If making an analogy to human’s brain, it’s like in the past I’ve only been utilising the left hemisphere; now the right hemisphere is also being put to use! Second is the international mobility. This is not only about enriching our international perspective but also giving us the chance, or rather encouraging us, to become more capable and confident when facing various new cultures and being always on the move. Though we are at superficial level of the foreign languages, we are able to survive, live a good life and even feel at home in different countries. This is what MARIHE has taught me.
What are the challenges of the MARIHE programme?
Nowreen: From my personal experience, I can say that being an international student, the organization and characteristics of the MARIHE programme were completely new to me. Therefore, for me this programme comes as an even bigger transition to make than others. While participating in classroom activities, I find that I need to be more critical in my thinking as students are routinely asked questions for which a single correct answer or solution may not exist. Furthermore critical thinking is required from the students in different tasks or assignments. This process turns out to be a challenge for me, but at the same time it definitely facilitates my overall learning endeavour as a student in this programme.
How would you convince an undergraduate student to choose the MARIHE programme?
Nowreen: In my opinion, participating in an Erasmus master programme like MARIHE brings along with it the tremendous opportunity of international experiences. This experience could really be a cherished one for the fresh graduates. In MARIHE, students need to carry out four semesters in four different countries; thus it provides ample opportunity to enhance intercultural communication and the development of adaptation skills, which I believe prepare the students in becoming a global citizen. At the same time, MARIHE is a full time two years programme where all the courses are compactly scheduled and blended with different activities, like classroom lectures, presentations, workshops, seminars and writing assignments etc. Moreover, MARIHE provides internship opportunity to enrich the students with a handful of practical work experience. So this programme is appropriate for the fresh or almost graduate, who hasn’t entered the world of work yet. It will definitely enable them to adapt and to contribute their knowledge and understanding to a world that is constantly and rapidly evolving.
Why do you think the MARIHE programme is valuable for your future career?
Nowreen: Courses offered in MARIHE cover almost every aspect of HE and research. I think along with developing knowledge and understanding of HE, it also enhance my analytical skills, to work in a team, to communicate effectively and to keep calm and patient while dealing with any situation. After completing this programme, I will go back to my home country to continue my work in the Educational Research field of Bangladesh. I really believe that the previously mentioned knowledge and skills will definitely enable me to work more effectively and efficiently by implementing new managerial practices to contribute in research particularly. This also extends to obtaining a better understanding of the increasingly complex world of HE in the context of Bangladesh in general. Thus, learning from MARIHE will not only be valuable for my future career but also for my overall effort to improve myself a little more than the day before.
Jin: The training delivered by MARIHE is in line with the general requirements of the job market in the HE field. Moreover, as the programme holds a global perspective, it will offer graduates global opportunities and networks in return. And the internship session provides a practical platform for the students to get a perception of the knowledge application to real work, and also help the students to identify their weaknesses and gaps in the field.
And at last could you please tell us a about your internship at CHEPS?
Jin: Doing an internship at CHEPS is a wonderful experience for me. As I already mentioned, the internship is an attraction of the MARIHE programme, but CHEPS makes it even a highlight. The colleagues are really nice and offer us sense of belonging to CHEPS. In one project we collaborate with CHEPS people and this is really beneficial. Furthermore, the CHEPS seminar series is also very interesting. Here people present and discuss on different topics and we really gained more knowledge through it.
Nowreen: I am really glad that I got the opportunity to be an intern at CHEPS, because this renowned institute has a widespread experience in the field of Higher Education research. Along with working in our assigned task there are also several events like seminars, meetings and also informal conversation with other colleagues where we get a chance to discuss about different contemporary issues of the HE sector. Therefore, I really believe that my internship experience is valuable for my further learning in the MARIHE programme.
Thank you for this interview!