UC Masters students gain ‘greater, practical understanding’ of Parliament
01 July 2019
Politically minded Master’s students from the University of Canterbury have spent two enlightening days at Parliament.
Politically minded Master’s students from the University of Canterbury spent two enlightening days at Parliament, recently.
The group was made up of students from the university’s Master in Policy and Governance (MPaG) and Master of International Relations and Diplomacy (MIRAD). The programmes include a joint visit to Wellington each year, where the students meet with various individuals and organisations relevant to their studies.
For the MPaG students, this involved meetings with government departments and ministries, the Speaker of the House, and the private sector, as well as watching parliamentary Question Time. The MIRAD students met with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, other ministries, and various Embassies and High Commissions.
Both groups also met Prime Minister Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges MP, a range of Ministers, and graduates of the programmes now working at Parliament.
“What I found valuable was just being in the environment, getting a practical understanding of how this place operates day-to-day. We really learned to appreciate what we study,” said MIRAD student Belle Lewis.
“I learnt how important relationships with others are. For international relations, it’s not just the international components that matter – the things that go on within the country are also so significant.”
MPaG student Alex Tapper agreed, saying the visit gave her a “greater understanding of what you don’t always see”.
“It was great meeting people from different departments, including from those that don’t get as much public attention and coverage.
“It was fascinating seeing all the relationships that go into making something work. The key to getting policies realised is consultation from many different people, and it’s important knowing how to navigate that,” she added.
Dr Jeremy Moses, senior lecturer in the University of Canterbury's Political Science and International Relations department and coordinator of the annual trip, said it’s a unique experience for the students.
“Of course it’s fantastic for us to come up here and see former students now working in the roles they learned about when they visited, but it’s something extra special for the students themselves.”
This year’s visit ran from 25 to 26 June.
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