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Merlyne Yolamu

MSc Public Policy and Management

Merlyne Yolamu enrolled for an MSc Public Policy and Management at Birkbeck, University of London after being advised by the public service management head office in Malawi, that public policy specialists were in demand.

Throughout her experience at Birkbeck, Merlyne felt that she received an excellent service. She had to travel to Zimbabwe to sit the English language exams required for her enrolment, and because of the delay that this caused in her application she was concerned that she would be too late to enrol. However, once she made contact with the international office at Birkbeck and explained her situation, they processed her case within two days.

During the course, Merlyne was incredibly impressed with the commitment that the lecturers showed to supporting the students. She explains: 'I broke my leg three months into the course and I required two operations. During that time the College was so supportive.  At one point I didn’t think that I would be able to complete the course, but I spoke to my tutor and she said that they would help me to continue. The Department of Politics was able to provide me with financial support so that I could use taxis to get to class. They also provided me with a printer as they knew that I couldn’t keep coming to the library to print things. The level of support that they gave me was really overwhelming and beyond anything that I could have imagined.  I am wearing a happy face today because I’ve passed all my modules.'

The other students on the programme were also a source of support to Merlyne. She says: 'The relationship that I built with the other students was marvellous. There was great diversity in the class – students of all ages, and with different backgrounds and different cultures. We were able to interact both formally (in seminars) and informally (at social events organised by the Department of Politics).'

Merlyne believes that the knowledge that she has gained at Birkbeck will help her to make a real difference when she returns to Malawi. She explains: 'We have been transferring policies to our country from other countries but we needed specialists who could analyse the policies before they were implemented. I am now able to understand why policies succeed or fail, and will be able to undertake feasibility studies and take into account the local environment, resources and other variables.  This course has given me the confidence to know that I can really deliver in this area.

'I think that a Birkbeck Master’s degree will definitely impress people in Malawi. I have obtained the knowledge, but also experience of different ways to interact with people and how to access information. I want to become a lecturer some day and now I am going to lecture as a volunteer at institutions in Malawi because I know the knowledge that I have got from here is knowledge that others will want to have.'

Merlyne concludes: 'My experience in London has been an eye opener.  I have enjoyed it and I don’t have regrets whatsoever. I’m really happy but I owe it to Birkbeck, they made everything possible for me.'

Find out more about our public policy courses.

'My experience in London has been an eye opener. I’m really happy but I owe it to Birkbeck.'