As one of the few international students in MDS’ first cohort and one of its first graduates, David Matta Jerias celebrates his completion of the GDip program this June. He described his one-year MDS journey as “amazing” and “the best choice” he had ever made.

As a Chilian diaspora in Brazil, the exploration of migration and diaspora issues has always been in Jerias’ life. With an academic background in International Relations, he devoted the last 8 years working for the immigration department at the Canadian Consulate in São Paulo, Brazil. Upon moving to Canada for further studies, he decided to further expand his existing understanding of migration through the MDS GDip program at Carleton.

“I was able to focus on everything that matters to my life. Because I studied a lot about diasporic memory and one of the case studies focusing on Chilian diaspora was a very personal experience to me. It touched me a lot.” Jerias also points out that many subjects, such as constructing the Canadian identity, provided him with new perspectives about Canada and his career in the migration field.

“One of the best features of the program is the people,” Jerias says, “because you see so many interesting backgrounds and migrant stories, the human side of migration studies.” When mentioning his first experience in a break-out group discussion, Jerias says, “we were sharing each other’s fears regarding their studies and exchanging life experiences and research strategies. It feels like we are complementing each other.”

“The MDS Graduate Diploma program is a very great option for people who don’t have two years to dedicate to their studies but can gain some deep knowledge in the field of migration studies with only one year. This is the best feature of the GDip program giving more people access to the studies.” Although not in the following academic year, Jerias plans to eventually take the “laddering” option to further pursue the M.A. degree of MDS with his GDip credits fully approved and transferred in the next several years.

Throughout his studies in MDS, Jerias tried to focus both on the Canadian and Latin-American perspectives. “In the course about forced migration, I focused on the Venezuelans in Brazil and Colombia because many Latino cases and experiences are not well researched by scholars. So, I always try to contribute the Latin-American perspectives and cases in class discussions.” Sharing a similar motivation, MDS students each contribute their own part to the often fascinating conversation in class given their distinct cultural backgrounds and professions.

Currently working at a consulting company in Ottawa, Jerias believes that his studies at MDS helped him better understand the impact of his work on people seeking change in their lives, encouraging him to strive even harder in his work. “This is something beautiful”, says Jerias.

When asked to share a message to prospective MDS students, Jerias simply says, “Just come. The knowledge you will gain here at MDS is the knowledge for life.”