Miguel Caldeira, GSPM Graduate
Tell Us About Yourself
My name is Miguel Caldeira. I’m Portuguese and my course is GSPM, Masters in Political Management.So I worked for the United Nations. I was a journalist fox six years and then I moved to (inaudible 00:00:23), a small, little country near Australia to develop or to help improve in journalist skills (and teamwork?). And I was training them for awhile. And actually since I enrolled, I don’t know if it was a coincidence or not, but my career dramatically changed. So I became a Project Manager in there first. And then I applied for a job in New York, within the United Nations and now I’m in charge of PR Communications office (inaudible 00:00:54) UNICEF in the office of-, UN office for violence-, for-, or to prevent violence against children.
Why Did You Choose the GW Political Management Online Program?
I was far away from here. To tell you the truth it was more about my career and I was thinking about continuing my studies but (go as I needed?) for my career to climb up the ladder. And I was looking around for some Masters. I couldn’t do it in the country where I was living at the time. And I found out that there was this Masters that was 100 percent online. And for someone that is 34 years old at the time it was quite useful. I was working. I could not leave my work for one, two years. And George Washington University was a university that would grant me professionalism, a well known name in the US, and 100 percent online course.So, after some research I found this course that was exactly what I was looking for. And I decided to enroll, to have this wedding, or to engage with this in this academic kind of engagement. And it’s (fun?) and I’m really happy about it.
What Surprised You the Most about Online Learning?
When I enrolled I was a little skeptical about online courses, so basically what surprised me the most about this course was that I really, really had to be engaged. And the course-, unfortunately we are not able to attend in person to meet people face-to-face, so I think that George Washington University found a very, very engaging and interesting way of putting us working hard and making sure that we really have a university experience. So we are supposed to read and study materials, three to four books per course. And then we really have to show that we know. So it’s not that the profession knows our face because he or she doesn’t. But so we really have to go into the materials and be up to date and demonstrate that we have this knowledge, that we acquire this knowledge throughout the courses.That was what surprised me the most. The way that the university created this amazing experience and way to engage us, and for us to demonstrate our skills and whatever we learned.
I made good friends, not face-to-face but-, and I learned a lot, not only from the professors and facilitators, but also from my fellow colleagues. And if you allow me, there is one story that really, really-, in the first course, that impressed me. I was-, my reality at the time had nothing to do with academia, with the US, etcetera, with US politics. And we were supposed to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of negative ads and campaigns. And there was this senator that put together this advertisement. I have never heard about him before in my life. Even the topic I was not that familiar. And one of my fellow colleagues in my class actually was working with that senator. So I-, from-, I was on the other side of the world and discussing with someone that was part of the process putting together that ad. And that really is a plus. So I was able to be in a class where students are really, really being part of the political process for what’s happening in the world, and especially in US politics.
So I would say that these two things really impressed me the most. The way GW treats us, and at the same time, the quality of the students that are enrolled in the program.
What Was Your Favorite Course in the Program?
The first course that I took in this program was Ethics in Politics. And that was also my favorite one. The professor, that was amazing. And he helped me through the thesis as well. He started by saying, “Ethics in politics for many people are two words that can never come together in the same sentence. I’ll try to prove to you that it’s not exactly like that.”And the old course, the old program actually, was about it. So I was finding some new perspectives, some-, changing the way I was thinking about politics. And the first one really made me feel engaged. And I was sure that I have chosen the right program and the right university.
There were other courses obviously that I liked very much. The thesis, it’s very much an independent and individual experience. But we also learn a lot in terms of research and the way we are guided and so on. So I would say that Ethics and the independent project were the two that I liked the m–