MaPS offers an excellent course structure
Moving to Sweden was the biggest jump Joseph Akowuah from Ghana has ever made. Now he is one of our international students studying the Master’s Programme in Political Science (MaPS). The programme provides him with the skill set he needs to contribute to the social development of his home country.
Hello Joseph, can you tell us a little about yourself
I am a second-year international student studying a master’s programme in political science. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana. Having lived and studied mostly in Ghana, I have worked extensively with civil society organizations and government agencies aimed at contributing to social development. I am passionate about Sustainable Development Goals and always seek to offer innovative ideas worth creating social change.
The university is highly inclusive, culturally diverse and has a supportive staff willing to help students all along the way.
What made you interested in MaPS?
I was optimistic that the MaPS programme would offer me the theoretical and methodological skills I require to achieve my career goals of becoming a research expert in political science and a public administrator as well. The MaPS offers an excellent course structure that allows students not only to acquire theoretical knowledge but also to take on internship opportunities and gain practical experience. This skill set is exactly what I needed to contribute to the development of my country after my studies.
If you were to encourage somebody to apply to the programme, which attractive features would you emphasize?
In my opinion, what renders the programme one of the best at the University of Gothenburg is the extent of diversity in culture and background that exists within the programme. This is important because students can understand and analyze concepts and theories from several perspectives whiles sharing knowledge amongst themselves on the practicability of these ideas to their distinct cultures and background.
Also, the mode of accessing students in the programme is very attractive. The research papers challenge students to read extensively on the arguments of different scholars and offer their independent analyses of concepts and theories whiles the research seminars offer an opportunity for teachers and students to interact and share knowledge amongst themselves in a very informal and friendly approach.
Can you describe a normal study week, what do you do?
On a normal study week, I would mostly wake up at 07.30 am, freshen up, eat breakfast, and prepare for a lesson at 09.15 – 11-15 which used to be held on zoom due to Covid- 19. After the 2- hour lesson, there is either another lesson or research seminar at 13.15 – 15.00 so I would take advantage of the 1 - hour break to leave my computer and either eat some fruits, drink water, or take a short walk to Willys*. I usually devote 2 hours in the evening after dinner to reading at least one or two articles for the course before bedtime. Since some days are without lessons, I will devote such class hours to reading more articles assigned to the course or writing my seminar and research papers.
What advice would you give somebody who is starting the programme and wants to get the most out of it?
A new student should prepare for a research-oriented adventure. One must be willing to read extensively on the assigned course literature especially before each lesson and learn to write independent academic papers. Also, one must have fun, make new friends, network, and take advantage of social events. At the end of the programme, it is not only the academic knowledge that defines you but your social networks and experiences as well.
What was it like moving to Sweden?
Moving to Sweden is the biggest jump I have ever made. It was my first time travelling outside Africa and hence I was very nervous about how my next life would look like for me. I wondered about how to deal with the new people I would meet, the different food choices and a completely new routine. Most importantly, I knew I was very adaptive, and I will survive; I had worked hard to get the opportunity to study at the University of Gothenburg and I was excited about the outcome.
What are your opinion of the University of Gothenburg and the city of Gothenburg?
The University of Gothenburg is a world-class university that offers students every possible opportunity and platform to acquire the best possible education they desire. The university is highly inclusive, culturally diverse and has a supportive staff willing to help students all along the way.
I love the City of Gothenburg. It is so close to nature that you see amazing sites and beautiful places every day. Its beautiful landscape, the lakes, streams cutting through the city and the archipelago is just a few of the amazing things that fascinate me about Gothenburg.
How do you like to spend your leisure time?
I spend most of my leisure time playing music on my bass guitar and sometimes with some friends who love music also. Other times, I would read a novel or anything there is to read outside my course literature. I may also plan a visit with my Gothenburg University Bucket list and visit a new place I haven’t been to in the city. Lastly and very often, I will call my family and friends in Ghana to check upon them.
*Willys is a chain store for groceries in Sweden.