Erasmus Mundus for social science students

Enamul Haque Tauheed
Enamul Haque Tauheed

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The Erasmus Mundus Joint Master's Programme Scholarship, funded by the European Union, distinguishes itself by offering a unique and comprehensive international education experience. Unlike traditional scholarships, this programme involves collaboration between multiple European and non-European universities, enabling students to pursue studies in diverse academic and professional environments.

Students receive joint degrees recognised internationally upon successful completion of the programme. The scholarship covers tuition, travel, and living expenses, making it an attractive, fully-funded option. Emphasising interdisciplinary studies, cultural diversity, and a competitive selection process, Erasmus Mundus is a prestigious opportunity for high-achieving students seeking a transformative and globally oriented master's education.

For the graduates of social science, particularly in the fields of economics and development, Erasmus has quite a few exciting master's programmes. Every year, quite a few Bangladeshi students bag those scholarships, as Bangladesh has constantly been ranked as one of the top five countries when it comes to getting scholarships in the past few years.

Enamul Haque Tauheed, a scholarship recipient who is pursuing Master's in Global Development Policy under the Erasmus programme and is currently enrolled at Palacký University in the Czech Republic, shared his journey with the Financial Express.

Tauheed, despite coming from a science background in HSC, pursued his bachelor's degree in social science from the Department of Development Studies, University of Dhaka, intending to delve into the social sciences that cater to the unique context of countries like Bangladesh. He understood that if he had to pursue a career in either academia or the professional arena, he needed to equip himself with relevant research work experience He opted for opportunities like internships and INGO projects through effective networking with professors and professionals. He worked for organisations like UNICEF, Oxfam, and World Vision and had internship roles at two different consulting firms. He was also involved in academic publishing in collaboration with his university professors.

Tauheed did not pursue his master's from his department, which is kind of the norm for social science graduates in Bangladesh; rather, he opted to get exposure in the professional arena by joining The World Bank as a consultant, where he worked for a year in the field dealing with the issue of the Rohingya crisis. According to him, this experience opened up a new world, introducing him to a range of new skills, tools, and, most importantly, influential figures in development and economics.

Tauheed wanted to pursue his higher education in Europe and applied to some major European scholarships, such as OKP in the Netherlands, SISGP in Sweden, and Erasmus Mundus, funded by the European Union. He received the Erasmus Mundus scholarship to study global development policy and the OKP scholarship to study development studies at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam in the Netherlands. He opted for the Erasmus Mundus scholarship.

He shared, "The GLODEP (Global Development Policy) programme, spanning three semesters across Palacky University in the Czech Republic, the University Clermont Auvergne in France, and the University of Pavia in Italy, with a fourth dedicated to internships or research across the globe, presented an unparalleled opportunity. The programme aims to cultivate professionals capable of analysing, designing, and advocating for development policies on various scales. GLODEP integrates development studies and economics, offering insights from fields like geography and political science."

He also added that the participants acquire multidisciplinary knowledge, analytical skills for addressing development issues, and the ability to work in international, interdisciplinary teams, making them adept at communicating complex concepts to diverse audiences.

Tauheed also shared several suggestions that are effective in cracking the Erasmus Mundus scholarship for prospective students in economics and development. At first, he suggested that the students research wisely so that their interests align with the programs and they can choose one that is right for them. He also suggested that prospective students maintain a strong CGPA. However, a CGPA below 3.5 can be compensated through other skills and experiences; it is usually the minimum requirement for most programs.

"Strong English is vital. Achieve the required language proficiency scores in TOEFL or IELTS. Preferably, an IELTS score of 7.5 and above," he added.

He also emphasised building a strong CV for applicants using Europass to highlight work, research experience, or internships in the social sciences. On the other hand, not highlighting experiences irrelevant to the degree one is pursuing is recommended.

Tauheed emphasised good recommendation letters, which can delineate one's suitability for a particular programme, and added that getting recommendations from professors or professionals whose portfolios are available online is important. The motivation letter must be clear and concise, outlining academic and career goals, and adaptability and global perspectives must be included in the SOP.

When it comes to the final suggestion, he said,"Read the website and the instructions over and over again. Remember, everything you need to know will be up on the respective websites, and do not hesitate to email the programmes if you have any confusion."

According to Tauheed, his European dream materialised as he followed the instructions meticulously, and there is no reason this won't happen to anyone else who follows the instructions and works accordingly.

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