A conversation with Trudy Kirabo on choosing a masters degree programme

Trudy Kirabo is passionate about the Arts, Human Rights and motivating the younger generation. In 2018, after having completed an undergraduate degree in Music industry management, Trudy went on to complete a masters degree in Human Rights Law at the University of Kent in Brussels. We had a conversation with her about choosing a masters programme, here’s how the conversation went…

Q- What made you choose that particular masters programme? 

A- I’ve always wanted to study Human rights law but never thought it was possible based off not having any major previous law experience. I’d been interested in Human Rights from a passionate perspective since I was young so when I found this programme that not only offered international study, but accepted people from different academic backgrounds, I wanted to get involved. Also, the location was the global political EU capital where most international development organisations have a base so it also made sense to be in Brussels. They offered lots of connections and the academic team were some of the most experienced in their field- I knew I’d be in good hands.

Q- How did you decide on the university? 

A- I assume your readers have various backgrounds so I hope I don’t offend anyone by saying this but it was really God who led me to choose this particular one. I prayed to study  my masters abroad as having been educated in the U.K. my entire life I wanted something different. So when I felt led to apply for Kent I was a bit taken back because I was humbly thinking this isn’t abroad?! Haha But I said Lord I trust you. I researched the law programme and saw it was really good with a lot of amazing reviews. I saw that no previous major experience is needed as long as your grades from your bachelors are of a suitable and high standard you will be ok. 

I found out what worked for me and the direction I wanted to go in by reading deeply into the stimulus and asking a previous student questions about life on and off campus.

When I got accepted I found out it was in fact the Brussels School of International Studies which meant I’d be studying aboard. I was very excited and grateful because after a long time I got exactly what I prayed for. Also, as I said previously the location was the global political EU capital of the world where most international development organisations have a base, even human rights and law entities so it made sense to be in Brussels and accept the offer from this university.

Q- How different is masters from undergrad? 

A- So different, how much you learn and grow is all up to you. No one is babysitting you and asking if you’ve read the material. However based of this, there is so much room for you to contribute to real in depth discussions if you decide to devour in. They expect a lot from you but understand the environment is still an opportunity for you to grow and learn so you won’t know everything or have all the answers. The books are bigger and the assignments are also much longer but if it’s a subject/module you enjoy it’s an enjoyable experience.

Q- What was the most important lesson you learnt? 

A- I learnt to be openminded. When you do your masters you’re in a room of people from very different backgrounds. Listening to your peers, their stories and their experience is all apart of devouring yourself into the Masters experience. Some may already be where you’re heading and others may be starting their journey in the law field. I see the world differently based off debates and discussions during lectures, seminars and personal friendships created. Also networking is gold I can’t emphasise this enough, they’d give us extra curriculum sessions on the best ways of networking and it was perfect advise from some of the top people in the fields they represented. I’m a youth ambassador for ONE and I first found out about that opportunity from networking!

Q- Any further advise for people considering a masters degree…

A- Don’t allow your lack of experience intimidate you from doing a Masters Degree. Also don’t feel as if you’re over experienced or too old to go after this journey within your academic career, there’s always something to learn.

If you put in the work, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t achieve the best. There are some days where the workload may seem too much but find the correct support system that will help you remain focused on your goals and remind you why you started.

Don’t feel as your story isn’t valid as you may and can use your own experiences, for instance, in assignments, discussions or presentations. Sit down with yourself and really ask yourself why, have a vision in mind and see the practical ways you can execute it to get to where you need to be. Once again, I don’t care what your background is because if you put in the work, and are committed to learning whilst you’re doing it I promise you, it’ll be worth the journey and you’ll be standing strong at the finish line.

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