Jamaicans urged to apply for EU scholarships

Jamaicans urged to apply for EU scholarships

Thursday, June 11, 2015

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MORE Jamaicans are being urged to take advantage of the opportunities for advanced tertiary studies and professional training, under the European Union's Erasmus Mundus Scholarship Programme.

Head of the European Union Delegation in Jamaica Ambassador Paola Amadei said that although the competition is tough, with people from across the globe contending for the annual full scholarships, Jamaicans stand as good a chance as other nationals.

"It's not the fact that you are a small population that will reduce your chances. It's a programme that is purely based on the capacity and the force of your application. I was very saddened when I saw that for a number of years there were no beneficiaries from Jamaica. For me, it's a function of the number of applications because the quality of your universities, the quality of your students tells me that you should be able to compete. It's an opportunity that I would like to see more Jamaicans and more Caribbean (citizens) using. It's a real opportunity," Amadei told Jamaica Observer reporters and editors at this week's Monday Exchange.

"It's a pretty generous allocation," she said of the full scholarship, which covers travel, accommodation, tuition, and health insurance. "We have seen, for instance, one beneficiary starting with the scholarship for a master's degree and continuing on a doctoral study, and getting experience that they can use back in Jamaica," she added.

The programme, said the ambassador, covers a broad range of areas and is administered by different universities, which have joint master's or doctoral studies. This means that beneficiaries have the opportunity to study in several countries in Europe.

"[The scholarships] expose persons to differences and different experiences; that's good news for a small country. That's an opportunity that I think is worth using. With 500 scholarships foreseen, Jamaica can get more of that quota," Amadei said.

"There are certain scholarships that are better known, they have been here for a number of years so students will automatically look into it, and will not necessarily think about other opportunities. They may be blocked by language barriers, but a number of graduate training is in English, or it's possible to follow them in English. You will be offered also the opportunity for additional language training," added the ambassador.

The Erasmus Mundus Scholarship Programme is open to tertiary education institutions and organisations that are involved in the field of higher education and research. It is available to teachers, researchers, doctoral candidates, students, and academic and/or administrative university staff, from any region of the world.

Meanwhile, the ambassador said she was pleased that for the first time in 14 years, there were two Jamaican beneficiaries in the EU Visitor Programme, which gives promising young leaders from countries outside the EU first-hand experience of the EU's policies and peoples and fosters increased mutual understanding between professionals from these countries and their European counterparts.

The beneficiaries, Opposition Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, and Government Senator Imani Duncan Price visited the European Parliament and held discussion on issues previously identified with parliamentarians and other members of staff.

— Alphea Saunders

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