Field Visits in Washington DC (Mary Rukundo)

Through the support of Professor Keiichi Ogawa (my academic advisor), I got an opportunity to conduct my international field study from March 7th to April 5th 2013, Washington DC, USA.

Lessons Learned During the International Field Study

Mari01During the International field study, I participated in the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) which was held in New Orleans at Hotel Hilton Riverside on March 13th 2013, where I chaired the session on ‘Uganda Education Policy, Quality and Outcomes’ and also I presented a paper titled ‘The Impact of Community Participation on Pupil’s Academic Achievement in Ugandan Primary Schools’. This experience improved my presentation skills at the international level and also the comments from the audience will be used to improve my master thesis. As the chair during the conference, I gained more confidence and time management skills as the session ended on time. Besides, I was able to interact with the international education experts from different organizations, countries, and education background. Some of the education experts have conducted their research in Uganda on community participation which improved my knowledge and skills on data collection and analysis using SACMEQ data. For example, I was able to share ideas on cluster analysis on community participation using geographical information system (GIS) and the use of electronic gadgets for data collection.

I also visited World Bank in Washington DC and had an opportunity of meeting Professor Eduardo Velez Bustillo on March 18th 2013; visited George Washington University and attended the class of Professor Williams Cummings on March 21st 2013 and also visited Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) and had a meeting with Mr. Jesus Duarte, Education Principal Specialist on March 22nd 2013, and FHI 360 where I conducted my internship from March 18th to April 5th.

Generally, my interactions with education experts like Professor Eduardo Velez Bustillo, Professor William Cummings, Mr. Jesus Duarte and FHI 360 researchers was an exciting and great opportunity where I learnt multi-disciplinary skills and knowledge necessary for my academic career. I was able to expand a network of friends and also increased my future prospects of working in international organizations.

In conclusion, the international field study was very important and useful to me because it has enabled me to meet very important people who have much experience in the education issues at the international level. Lastly but not least, in terms of achievements in both academic and in future, I have leant that, one must be proactive, talk smart and work independently, an advice from Professor Ogawa and Dr. Eduardo who recommended us to have contacts that will help us in future in order to get better jobs.

I thank Professor Keiichi Ogawa for the recommendation that enabled me get this opportunity to participate in the international field study and also GSICS for the international field study grant that helped me meet my living expenses in Washington DC.