members of dual master's program with University of Lucerne

The first graduates of the Dual Master’s Degree with the University of Lucerne with the program’s advisors. From L to R: Carleton Professor Hans-Martin Jaeger, Arta Tahiraj, Max Kallenbach, Sukhi Dhaliwal, and Lucerne Professor Joachim Blatter.

By Karen Kelly

As a university student, the highlight of Prof. Hans-Martin Jaeger’s educational journey was studying Political Science in different countries. So when his Swiss colleague Joachim Blatter suggested that Carleton create a dual degree with the University of Lucerne (Universität Luzern), Jaeger was immediately interested.

“It’s always been a personal mission for me to encourage my students to travel more,” explains Jaeger, who teaches Political Science at Carleton and is also a visiting professor at the University of Lucerne. “Having myself studied and lived in five different countries in the course of my secondary and post-secondary education, I did not have to be convinced of the professional benefits, and intellectual and cultural pleasures of an international academic experience.”

On September 16, Her Excellency Salome Meyer, the Swiss ambassador to Canada, invited Jaeger and Blatter along with Carleton Associate Vice President (Research & International) Karen Schwartz and others to join European diplomats to celebrate the first graduates of the dual master’s degree at the Swiss ambassador’s residence in Ottawa. In his remarks, Jaeger mentioned the challenges in bringing the partnership to fruition.

“It was a struggle at times, like a relationship between a supertanker and a speedboat,” he said, noting that Carleton is the older, larger institution. “Lucerne developed it and Carleton was a bit slower because it had never been done here.”

In 2018, the new degree was offered through Carleton’s new dual M.A. option. Within that, Political Science graduate students were given the option to study abroad. The Canadian students spend the first term of the M.A. Political Science degree at Carleton and then their winter term and summer at University of Lucerne in Switzerland. The Swiss students do the same in the opposite direction. Upon completion of their coursework and thesis or major research paper, dual M.A. students receive diplomas from both institutions.

“Being exposed to different expectations and a different system will serve them well later on,” says Jaeger, who has found pedagogy at Swiss universities more prescriptive than in Canada. “Carleton students might not like everything in terms of academic expectations, but in the long run they will see the benefits of adapting to a different system. They will have to do that in the working world as well.”

Among the dignitaries at the celebratory event were the degree’s first three graduates, Max Kallenbach, Arta Tahiraj and Sukhi Dhaliwal. While enrolled in the program, Kallenbach was accepted for an internship at the United Nations in New York and is now working as an intern at the Embassy of Switzerland in Ottawa. Meanwhile, Tahiraj secured a position at Global Affairs Canada.

“The experience of studying in two countries at two different schools is a great opportunity,” said Kallenbach at the reception. “True, it means more work and a lot of organizing, but it also means making more friends, getting to know a new and different culture and exploring another part of the world.”

Fellow graduate Sukhi Dhaliwal described the degree as a life-changing experience.

“The Dual Degree program provided an amazing academic and professional opportunity, where I met professors from Lucerne and external institutions who taught us about subject matters through an alternative lens, providing a new perspective of learning,” said Dhaliwal. “Not only was this experience academically substantive, my time in Switzerland was also a very personal and spiritual experience.”

Dhaliwal said the beauty she encountered in Switzerland instilled a sense of “presence” in her, of living in the moment. She is grateful that this mindset returned to Canada with her.

Openings are still available for students interested in taking the Dual Master’s Degree with the University of Lucerne . The deadline for applications has been extended until October 5, 2021.

Monday, September 27, 2021 in , ,
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