Better Than The LotteryHeather Grierson | Graduate student (MA Lifelong Learning: Policy and Management), Aarhus University and Universidad de Deusto
I sat there staring at my computer screen. I couldn’t take my eyes off the email. The noise, the people around me ceased to exist for just that one moment. My heart began to beat like crazy, my hands started to tremble—my whole life had just changed! I had been awarded a full scholarship, including tuition, accommodation, and travel expenses for a two year, multiple master’s degree program in Europe.
In the fall of 2009, my search began for the ultimate graduate degree. I combed through courses at all my local universities for a master’s degree program that would be the right fit. There were a few potential programs but none was perfect. I struggled with what to do. Ultimately, I decided to do what I always do when searching for an answer: Google it! I thought that the best route would be to work in reverse—I’d come up with the name of my ultimate graduate degree and then see if it existed. After much thought, my search criterion was “Master of Lifelong Learning”, and lo and behold the very first item in my search matched exactly. To complicate matters, my entire application package was due in just a few weeks.
Had anyone heard of this too-good-to-be-true Erasmus Mundus Scholarship program? I began to ask around at work and at my university. No one had. I decided to apply anyway (as there’s no application fee). I mean, the chance at €48,000 and the opportunity to study and live in Denmark, Spain and the UK was just too good to pass up! Not to mention a master’s degree from each of the universities I would attend. I submitted my application by the December deadline and then got on with life as usual. In March 2010 the acceptance email came through while at work.
What do you do when you have the opportunity to change your life? I sat there thinking about my little house that I’d just moved into, my friends and family, my boyfriend, the job that I loved, and before even knowing what I’d decided, I turned to a colleague and said, “I’m moving to Denmark!”
Now it’s April 2012 and I’m just finishing up my thesis at the Universidad de Deusto in Bilbao, Spain. I spent the first incredible year in Copenhagen at Aarhus University’s Danish School of Education. I opted for just the two countries and two degrees, but the Institute of Education at the University of London could easily have been part of my program. I was also elected as one of two Canada Country Representatives for the North American chapter of the Erasmus Mundus Association (NAEMA).
I can tell you now from personal experience that Erasmus Mundus is real. There are over 130 joint/ multiple masters’ degree programs and over 30 joint doctorate programs. Students, who come from all over the world, study in at least two European universities and some programs have non-European partners as well. To live and study in Europe, in a truly transnational program, with a full scholarship has changed my life and my world perspective. It’s better than winning the lottery because the academic knowledge, accreditation, trans-disciplinary and cross-cultural experiences I’ve gained have enhanced my life on both a personal and professional level.
My graduate program was a Master of Lifelong Learning: Policy and Management. Which degree would you choose?
For more information please visit the website.
Author Perspective: Student