The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


Zhuoya Chen

At a time when I was burdened by financial worries, it was a huge relief to receive the Bartlett Masters Scholarship.  In fact, being awarded this scholarship enabled me to pursue and complete the Masters programme, which without would not have been possible to embark on.  I was able to complete my studies without the additional stress of worrying about funding and the expenses of living in London.

This scholarship provided me with the opportunity of living out my dream of studying at a prestigious University, UCL and meeting wonderful people from all over the world. Describing my experience in one or two words would not do my experience here justice. Being a part of the Development Planning Unit (DPU) and Development Administration and Planning (DAP) provided me with the opportunity of interacting with world-class academics. My programme of study, Development Administration and Planning (DAP), provided me with theoretical understanding of development and the tools necessary in working in development. Apart from being well known for its world research and teaching, the staff members are so welcoming and open for interactions with the students. The courses are designed to inspire student’s critical thinking as well as analytically questioning theories and policies in the development field.

There is also the practical element, which I thoroughly enjoyed and learned from. In term 3, during our field trip to Kampala, Uganda, we had the opportunity to apply the theory we learned in the classroom into practice.  We worked in groups and were partnered with different Non-Governmental Organisations and Community Based Organisations.  We had the opportunity to put our research skills into practice and conducted interviews with local NGOs and even joined their open forum in a local slum. The filed trip provided me with the opportunity of working with people from different backgrounds, adapt quickly to new and changing context and conduct social research in a developing country.

Apart from my study in UCL, living in London has its own unique perks. There is so much to do in London. I visited nearly 20 museums around London and other neighbouring towns, which helped enlarge my vision and deepen my understanding of Western culture and other foreign cultures. This motivated me to rethink my social role especially within the global society and in relation to my future career.

Before I studied at the DPU, I was more focused on issues happening in my country but have now learned that global issues do also affect everyone. The programme helped me realize that the world is integrated as a whole and that I am not only a national citizen but also a global citizen who is supposed to be involved in global issues as part of the young generation. My future endeavour is to be a professional in the field of international development and take an active role in the discussion of international issues.