Studying the Master of Environmental Management and Development: Sayuri Ichikawa

18 September 2019

What’s your name?

Sayuri Ichikawa

What degree are you studying at Crawford School of Public Policy?

Master of Environmental Management and Development

Where are you currently working and what is your job title?

I’m currently working as elementary school teacher for Japanese.

What did you study at undergraduate level?

I did a Bachelor of Arts in Policy Management, and studied geographic information systems (GIS) and rural development. It was a research-oriented school, so I also did research on desertification and rural development in Inner Mongolia.

What made you decide to apply for Crawford School?

Long story short, I wanted to change my career path. After working in sales and marketing for the Asian marine engine division, I realised that I want to be “teaching a man to fish so he could live for a lifetime” and not “give a man a fish so he lives for a day”. As I wanted to focus on environment and development in Southeast Asia, Australia was my first choice, and so I literally looked up all relevant programs from all Australian universities. That’s how I realised that this program was best suited for my needs.

How did you choose your particular further study course (compared to others)?

Upon comparing all the programs available in Australia relevant to environment and development studies, I felt like this program was the only one that balanced environmental management with development, putting equal emphasis on both.

Were you weighing up any alternative degrees or career pathways before choosing this qualification?

Ideally, I would have wanted to shift careers straight away, but I realised that I needed a masters degree to pursue a career in development research – so here I am. But if I hadn’t gotten the scholarship for studying at ANU, I would’ve had to choose studying in Japan.

What was the process to get accepted into your course? What were the prerequisites?

IELTS 6.5 and above, which is quite generous to be honest. Background in relevant studies. I was lucky enough to have a friend connect me to the program coordinator directly, and she took care of my application throughout the whole process. And in my case, I needed a scholarship to cover my tuition so I couldn’t say ‘yes’ straight away, and they offered to wait nearly six months for me to accept the offer and even let me defer my commencement. It was a super flexible process and I cannot be more thankful.

What does your study involve? Can you describe a typical day at Crawford School?

Do readings for classes, attend classes, and go back home to do even more reading. In my case, I did a research internship (offered through Crawford School) with an NGO in Myanmar over the prior school break, so I have to do the writing up and revising of the research report in addition all through this semester. This has led to opportunities to write and think about this research even more, such as writing a reflection piece for a journal that a professor in the EMDV program is. I cannot be thankful enough for this encouraging and open environment.

Also, I’ve always had a keen interest in social entrepreneurship, and we’re also working on a project aiming to empower women’s small-scale businesses in rural Indonesia with a friend. We’re having professors at the Research School of Management guide us throughout the process and preparing my friend to present our proposal at the Indonesian Development Forum. The flexibility and openness that ANU overall offers is unbelievably amazing.

What characteristics or skills do you hope to gain by completing your course?

The internship made me realise that I absolutely love fieldwork and research, and the feeling of finding puzzle pieces and putting them together. I really hope to gain the skills necessary to do more research in the future through this experience and my further learning afterwards. Also, the courses make you read about different theories and perspectives and discuss and write about the different approaches you’ve learned. That has given me so many different perspectives on environmental management and development issues to address them with a more holistic view in the future.

Will this course be beneficial in your career? Where could you or others in your position go from here? Please explain your answer.

This course is definitely beneficial for those working in environment and development, and I’m hoping to finally start a career in that field as well after I graduate. Many of my classmates actually already have work experience in governments, NGOs and research institutes, and I think that’s where they will be going to back to as well.

What do you love the most about your course? 

I’m a very bottom-up person, and I love how the EMDV is full of academics who approach these issues from the same perspective. Also, I love how everyone embraces the messiness, which is really important for us to know when we want to actually be working and making contributions in that field in the future.

What are the limitations of your course?

No limitations. 

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