Blog by Jana Borchers, MA in Contemporary Migration and Diaspora Studies
The decision to graduate from the MA in Contemporary Migration and Diaspora Studies MACMDS at the University College Cork UCC has been one of the best decisions I have made in my professional life and I have never regretted to come to Ireland to study.
At the time of application, I lived in New Zealand and at first was not sure if I wanted to take the big step and return to Europe after all those years. However, these fears were quickly resolved as various members of staff and particularly the Head of Programme Dr Liam Coakley managed to make me feel welcome and appreciated and answered all my inquiries despite the great geographical and time difference.
Upon arrival in Cork, I quickly noticed that my decision sure had been the right one for me: my fellow students were an interesting and friendly bunch – a mix of Irish and international people, some young and some mature like me, who liked to help each other with lecture notes, assignments and integration into the Irish way of life; our lecturers were always there for us – they took the time to listen to our ideas and thoughts as well as problems and assisted us in finding our individual fields of interest and eventually thesis topics; UCC with its many study halls and student associations was a great place to learn, but also to make friends and relax after classes; and finally the City of Cork that picturesquely lies at the River Lee and that has to offer all the Irish charm I was hoping for and that I miss dearly now that I have left.
Regarding the content of the MACMDS, the Head of Programme was concerned with providing us with a varied insight into the many fields of migration studies. We learned about theories of migration, contemporary migratory patterns, EU and Irish legislation, integration, diasporas, research methods and much more as well as refugee and human rights law or practical work with migrants (we could choose between these two last courses). The lectures were always very interesting with many migration practitioners coming in to talk to us about their work and current issues in Ireland – in my opinion the best way to learn, but also to make contacts that we could use during our dissertation research period or even later during our working lives.
Due to the education I got at UCC, I was able to find full-time employment in a reception facility for asylum seekers in Germany only one month after I had handed in my thesis. I like my job very much – it is challenging and different every day because of the great variety of migrants I meet and talk to. However, I hope that in the future I will be able to proceed with my academic career and start a Ph.D. in migration studies. Either way, I am certain that the many skills I gained during the MACMDS, will continue to contribute significantly to the success of my professional life.