The Erasmus Mundus MAPP program played an invaluable role in my professional and personal development. Unlike many of my peers, I started the program with only a year of work experience under my belt and a vague notion of pursuing a career path that would contribute positively to the world. The two years I spent in Europe – first at the University of York, then at IBEI – gave my aspirations form and function as I developed not only a strong theoretical understanding of public policy and the practical skills I would need to work in this field, but also lasting friendships and a global perspective on social issues that still informs my work today.
At York, coursework in policy analysis, public administration, and international law taught me the formal frameworks through which policy enacts real social change, while classes at IBEI allowed me to explore specific topic areas – international political economy, welfare state policies, global social movements – that laid a foundation for the research I would eventually pursue as a PhD student. A generous scholarship from the European Commission meant that I was able not only to focus on my studies without financial pressure, but also travel and meet new friends throughout Europe, making for a wonderfully rich, unique experience.
After graduating from Mundus MAPP, I went on to complete a PhD in Health Policy from the University of Minnesota, USA, and currently work as a research analyst at the University of California, Los Angeles. My day-to-day work involves comparative analysis of social policies, using many of the analytic, linguistic, and interpersonal skills that I learned during my time in Europe to fulfill the no-longer-vague career notions that I had from so long ago: working to create tangible improvements in the health and well-being of communities around the world.