In the Fall of 2019, I joined ICE as a Master’s student who has six years of experience, teaching in middle and high schools in India. When I was planning to come back into academics, the Education programs at IUB were on top of my wish list. I felt a compelling need to rekindle my learning venture out of a true concern for the role of our educators to uphold the true spirit of enlightenment through education.

I chose ICE to learn how to analyze and evaluate my own experience of teaching a class full of students, most of whom came from poor families, through comparative studies done across diverse systems in the world.

It was necessary for me to learn about the theories and practices in educational research and evaluate those against my own experience. As the ICE program had promised to offer a perspective of the broader and comparative socio-politico-economical aspects of education across time and space, it seemed the most appropriate. Also, I thought that with my background and experience of working with students who mostly came from the impoverished section of the Indian society, I may be able to make unique contributions in time.

I was brought up by a very different system back home and was stressed if I would survive and thrive within the US grad school system. The courses I took in my first semester not only helped me unlearn many things but also re-shaped my mind toward adopting a far more open stance toward many contemporary social issues and see deeper into the complex web of social artefacts. The comparative studies conducted across different education systems help one get a unique insight into different socio-political systems. The tools and techniques I learned in these courses are invaluable for one who wants to contribute to this field and to education in general.

In my opinion, one who wants to become an educational researcher and may eventually end up working on impactful policies, will also find the comparative approach helpful. I am planning to graduate in Spring 2021 and looking forward to more exciting courses offered through this program.