What were you doing before you came to the University of Birmingham?
As a professionally trained school counselor, I was working as a Guidance and Counselling coordinator of school counselling activities in schools in the Dangme West District of Ghana.
What attracted you to this programme?
I was attracted to the international nature of the course after taking a close look at the course design that deals with the relevant global issues in Education such as the curriculum design in the global context, leadership skills, Professional and personal development skills, School observation, and Professional and personal development skills. As a trainer in the educational sector in my Country, I need to acquire more knowledge in those areas and be abreast with current global educational issues so that I would be able to transfer the knowledge to teachers in my Country.
What do you enjoy most about your course here at Birmingham?
I found the learning experience very interesting and thought provoking because in the first place, most issues in the course content are relevant to what we experience in real life situations. After going through the discipline, I acquired the practical skills that are required in leadership, interpersonal interactions, professional ethics, presentations or public speaking, observations, interactive studies, critical and analytical presentations and writings.
In addition, taking this course has helped me to realize the importance of having ethical obligation towards people outside my Country since I had the opportunity to interact and learn with people from different countries. Therefore I believe it is going to be easier for me to deliver my services anywhere in the globe because I learnt about how to belong and participate in a wider global community.
My lectures are my role models now because they are very enthusiastic about their work. By their example, I want to be more assertive, transparent, and very efficient when I go back to join the working force.
What did you find challenging about the course?
What I initially found challenging was how to support my views with evidence and eliminate assumptions when writing assignments. Secondly it was quite difficult to combine weekly assignments, extra academic events with the writing of 4000 words term paper. However, when I discovered that they were all part of the leadership training skills we were supposed to acquire, I quickly adapted myself to it by planning and managing my time very well in order to meet deadlines for submitting assignments. Before the end of the first semester, I also mastered the style of critical and analytical way of writing.
What attributes should students possess?
I think students need to have organizational skills whereby they will have the ability to set priorities. Secondly, they should be able to identify distractive elements that will shift their focus from their academic goals. For example they should avoid unprofitable social activities such as unnecessary travels, night club activities etc. They should always plan ahead, set academic achievable goals so that they will be motivated by them.
Would you recommend this course to others and why?
I would highly recommend this University and particularly International Studies in Education for the following reasons:
I am convinced that the course has what it takes to mold people into responsible global citizen as well as a purposeful career oriented persons because during the period of study, they will discover skills that will make them socially confident and professionally competent.
I believe the core value of the course is for everyone irrespective of their ethnic background to be included, challenged and become successful.
We can see that the world is increasingly becoming complex; therefore, we need to prepare ourselves through international education so that we would be able to understand how to share our planet, communicate freely with each other world-wide, solve global common issues, respect each other’s views so that we can have a positive disposition towards helping each other globally. I can also testify that we International Studies Education students perceive themselves as change agents because we believe the skills and knowledge we have developed are going to help us to make a positive impact globally.
Any advice for students?
I would advise students to get themselves very organized from the start of the program me by getting a work planner diary, separate files for each model assignment, draw up a personal study time table, and spend most of their time in the library. Secondly they should make sure they attend every function organized by school authorities since these activities are linked to the main course modules.
What are your plans after you have graduated?
I have drawn up an action plan for the establishment of a learning and Counselling Center where I would organize training program me for teachers on issues relating to teaching and learning, professional and personal improvement, and counsel the youth on career education and personal-social problems.
Finally, if there was one thing you could have done differently over the course of your study what would it be?
Nothing else than to encourage stake-holders of education in Ghana to net-work with the University of Birmingham and the department of Education for them to introduce the International Studies in Education into Ghanaian Universities.