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GIIDAE: UK Scholarship

Riffat Zahir Faisal, MSc Applied International Development (2020) 

What did you do before coming to Reading?

Before enrolling, I studied a Master of Business Administration (MBA) at the University of Central Punjab, Lahore in Pakistan and worked in various customer-oriented roles to gain valuable experience in my professional degree within multiple organisations.

Following on from this, I then took a break in my career to raise my family, before coming to Reading to study on a part-time basis while working as an administrator at Kumon Education UK and as an Exam Invigilator for The Green School for Girls, London.

What interested you in your chosen area of study?

Throughout my career, I have been involved in a number of volunteer projects that have given me valuable experience and insight into the international development sector. Activities have varied from education for impoverished children to fundraising for areas hit by natural disasters.

In addition to this, I also got involved in election campaigns while living in Pakistan and here in the UK. As a result, I became really interested in the issues surrounding social injustice and the inequality of resources in society, which has led me to choose this degree.

Why did you choose Reading?

Reading is the highest ranked university in the UK for teaching, research and enterprise in Agricultural and Forestry studies (QS World Ranking by Subject, 2022). This was the main reason I chose to study here.

How do you think this qualification will help you in the future?

I strongly believe that the MSc Applied International Development course will give me an opportunity to explore and understand the hidden global social issues of poverty, education, and food insecurity that is being faced by millions globally. It would be a first step towards overcoming social and economic problems as well as environmental and human development issues globally.

What have you enjoyed most about your time at Reading?

At present, because of the pandemic, we are having a blend of more online and less face-to-face classes. The advanced online study system with screencasts and library resources has enabled me, as well as many other students, to get the best quality education experience while still sitting at home, both locally and worldwide.

Also, being a part time student means that I attend class in university once a week, giving me a unique experience in meeting my fellow students and teachers in a well-equipped environment.

Would you recommend the programme to other students, if so why?

I would certainly recommend the programme to other students, particularly after the ongoing pandemic. I think there is a dire need to gain knowledge and understanding of the global perspectives on social, human and economic development, with deep understanding of the local and international cultures which will help them to find solutions for the attainment of a sustainable development.

How has the Scholarship helped you?

The scholarship helped me in managing my finances, especially at this time of pandemic where everyone is struggling to make ends meet.