By Aun Dastgir- Erasmus Mundus Scholar
I would like to start with a brief introduction of myself and what my profile is. My name is Aun Dastgir and I am a Civil Engineering graduate. I completed my Bachelors from University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore in 2017 with a CGPA of 3.24 which is pretty average to say the least. I have scored 7.5 bands in IELTS Academic. I have scored 315 in GRE General test (Not relevant for Erasmus). My work experience is 3 months internship in Tarbela 4th extension (Water Related), 2 months Research Assistantship in Athmuqam Hydropower Project (Water Related) and I am currently working as a Site Engineer for Joyland Pvt Ltd since November 2017.
I started applying in different Scholarships during my last semester in 2017. I have applied in almost all the major scholarships. I have applied in CSC Scholarship China, KGSP Scholarship South Korea, Endeavor Scholarship Australia, Commonwealth Scholarship UK, Fulbright Scholarship USA, Erasmus Mundus Europe and many University Scholarships and third party Scholarships like OFID, JICA. So in my humble opinion, I have pretty good knowledge of how these things work. By the grace of Almighty Allah, I have won Erasmus Mundus Category A Scholarship for EuroAquae Program for year 2018. I am writing this to share my experience and I am hoping that it might help some future prospective applicants
What is Erasmus Mundu?
Erasmus Mundus is a scholarship awarded by European Union. It is like Fulbright of Europe but it is only for Masters There is no Phd in Erasmus. Erasmus is unique in the sense that it enriches you with multicultural experience. You get to visit multiple countries as every semester is taken in different university and different country in Europe which is pretty awesome and there is no bond attached to it so you don’t have to come back to Pakistan necessarily. Let me give you example of my major, My first semester is in Cottbus, Germany. I will be traveling to Newcastle, UK for my second semester and my 3rd semester will either be in Barcelona, Spain or in Nice, France. I can take research in 4th semester anywhere in Europe. If this does not make you excited, I don’t know what will.
Erasmus is not like your any other conventional scholarship in which you apply in lets say Hydraulics Engineering or Structural Engineering. European Union announces some fixed majors which are unique every year. In 2018, 89 majors were announced and in 2017. The number was 109. Every applicant can apply in at most 3 majors every year. You usually cannot tell just by checking the name of the major what it is about or what background of study can apply in it. So you have to open every majors website to understand it which is somewhat tedious. But if you aren’t ready to put some work in then frankly you are not gonna win any major scholarship. Erasmus is usually announced in October every year. The closing date of every major is different but most majors have closing dates around end January.
Erasmus Mundus is one of the most highly paying Scholarships of the world.
Every major has its own requirements but generally the documents required are:
- Personal Statement
- Motivation Letter
- Reference Letters
- BSC Degree
- Work Experience certificates (if any)
Personal Statement, as the name suggests, is about your personal details. What you did in the past. Your Education, Your Work Experience, Your Future goals. Everything about you that you think is a positive point for your application. It is good practice to discuss some incidence which has affected you and due to which you decided to study whatever you studied previously. You should discuss hardships you had to bear to reach here.
Motivation Letter is all about why do you want to join the Masters Course. How does it relate with your previous profile and your future goals. Why do you think you should do it from Europe. How is it going to affect your future. In this document, you should tell them why do you feel the need of doing the course. They should not feel that you are applying for the sake of applying and you do not have any special motive behind it. Relate your future major with the issues in Pakistan. Tell them how it will be beneficial for your country/your region.
Note : Some majors only require one document and not both. In that case you have to include content from both the above mentioned documents in one document.
There is not much to say about this. Your teacher is supposed to write this for you but mostly it doesn’t happen. So if you are writing it for yourself, you have to be moderate in praising yourself. Think when you write a certain sentence “Do teachers write this type of thing”. I have seen people write absurd things in Reference letters. Make sure you don’t do that. You should always get reference letter from your project/thesis supervisor. It is better to get reference letter from teacher of a relevant subject. Usually they require two reference letters so your subject teacher for your future major and your supervisor are the two best options.
I won’t be discussing IELTS in detail here. There are hundreds of guides to prepare for it.
Relevant Work Experience
Relevant work experience is a big positive for your profile like I went to Athmuqam Hydropower project as a research assistant which helped me a lot in the longterm. If you have relevant work or research experience, it makes your profile a lot better. So try to get those somehow.
In the end, I would like to say that if you really want to get something and you give it your 100% you will get it. I know it seems like the most clichéd thing ever but it is true. My profile is not amazing enough to win Erasmus. Noone ever thought that I would get it not even me. So basically if I can get it, you can get it too. Another thing which you should learn is how to handle rejections. If you are applying in these world class scholarships, you should expect to get rejected. Rejections shouldn’t make you lose your heart, they should make you stronger. I got rejected from a similar program in 2017 so rejections are the part of the game. Make sure to shrug them right off. I wish you all the best of luck.