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The Joint Master's Programme in Comparative Social Policy and Welfare
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Mykolas Romeris University
University of Tampere
Johannes Kepler University Linz

Student Experiences

Giedrė Blažytė, COSOPO student 2008-2010

I would like to begin with a message that I was a first round COSOPO student in 2008-2010. The programme was very fresh and new not only for students, but for the teachers as well. During the studies’ years we were discussing a lot about the improvements the programme needs, were learning together from the mistakes, were coping together with the challenges we face and finally we were rejoicing together when the first five COSOPO students in Lithuania were holding diplomas in their hands. I know that the programme improved from those days a lot and students receive even higher quality of studies than it was before. I would say that the best appraisal for the programme is that it will start its fourth round from September 2014 and, of course, warm words about COSOPO from the former students.

I am not going to praise the programme in general. Everyone has his/her own experience and I do believe that some of the former students have different opinion. However, I could personally say just good words about the efforts of the programme coordinators and teachers I met during those years.

When somebody asks me about the COSOPO programme I always say that it was great opportunity and steps forward to my professional career. Of course everything depends on person and his/her will, however, COSOPO broadens your view on various social policy related topics, improves your analytical skills, provides an opportunity to study in international environment and to get acquainted with people from various parts of Europe with different personal and professional experiences.

So how the programme is implemented in reality? The semester starts from the intensive weeks in Vilnius, Tampere and Linz, where the courses are presented. Intensive weeks are diversified with the target visits to various institutions and organizations (for instance, we were visiting first Austria’s museum of labour in Steyr, had a day visit in Helsinki). And I am not talking about great time with group mates after lectures.

During four semesters of the programme most of the time you’re studying on-line, thus you’re flexible to combine studies and work, which I think is quite important. When you graduate you already have some working experience and it opens you broader ways for your profession career. However such kind of flexibility some of us were a challenge. The subjects of the programme are not easy and it takes time to fulfil all the tasks. If it scares that the language of the programme is English, you should not be worried about it. The first weeks may be are not so easy, but everybody understands that it is not your native language. After the graduation most of us said that studying in English was a great opportunity to improve language skills which is especially important nowadays.

The final thing I would like to mention is an obligatory studies’ practice. I am pleased with the fact that we were promoted to go abroad and to take practice in the international institutions. I personally spent three months working for International Organization for Migration in Vienna (Austria). There I also carried out an empirical research for my Master thesis. This study practice had a beyond price experience and I could say affected my future as well. After one year I came back to Vienna to take nine months traineeship in the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights.
COSOPO programme I would recommend for the person who is strong motivated, already have some experience in the field of sociology and social policy, as well as is ready not only to take what is given during the courses, but to work independently in order to achieve higher results. The teachers are high-skilled and always ready to help you.

I would like to finish wishing all the best for the prospective COSOPO programme students! I do believe that you will make a right choice by taking part in this programme ☺