Mou Yatu

MSc International Development: Politics, Governance and Development Policy

Why did you choose to study at The University of Manchester? 

I’m from Yantai, Shandong province of China, and I finished the Political Science undergraduate program at the East China Normal University in Shanghai. The four-year course in the Department of Politics provided me with a foundation of political principles and theories; consequently, I did keep interested in international political affairs, especially development issues of African countries under the Belt and Road initiative. In this sense, the Master’s program of International Development, the Pathway of Politics, Governance and Developing Policy at The University of Manchester caught my eyes. 

Why did you choose your particular course? 

Through my course assignments which necessitated taking low-income developing countries as case studies, I have gained the understanding of the developmental environment from various perspectives, like civil society, global governance, and the political economy. I am particularly intrigued by the South-South cooperation, in which China has recently played a crucial role, and it should be emphasized that Dr. Tom Lavers was instrumental as our academic advisor to make my study possible. Concentrating on the economic and social influences of the Chinese culture in Africa, my Master’s thesis chose the social integration of New Chinese Immigrants in South Africa as the topic. My supervisor Dr. Wayne Shand gave the important guidance for developing my thesis from the social capital perspective.

What have you done since graduation? 

Since graduation, I went back to East China Normal University, and I’m working as a research assistant in the Belt and Road & Global development institute of ECNU. Our institute is responsible for some research projects sponsored by governments related to the BRI research and S&T innovation policy in an interdisciplinary context. My work is mainly focused on assisting the whole project progress, especially participating in research projects of geopolitical issues, Sino-US S&T policy, and Polar Silk Road.

As a part-time job, I also employed as a research assistant in China House (中南屋), which is an independent educational social enterprise that aims to further integrate China into global sustainable development efforts through youth engagement. I’m responsible for tutoring a small group of students during research projects related to the BRI and Sino-US relations.

Has your qualification helped you in your career? 

My Master’s study in GDI opened a new research door for me, which helped familiarize me with the development studies systematically and improved my research skills. Even though there won’t be exactly the same research questions or topics in the future, many paradigms in development studies helped a lot in my work and inspired me with using different ways of political analysis to solve developmental problems. 

Where then any specific modules or lecturers who particularly inspired you? 

I would say the field trip to Uganda as part of our Master’s program concentrating on the Ugandan land policy is one of the most impressive and illuminating parts. In addition to finishing my fieldwork assignment of the gender equality in land, I really felt how Chinese elements were everywhere during our fieldwork, from the express-highway linking the Entebbe Airport with Kampala to the industrial park in which we conducted visits, from markets to restaurants, from communities to persons.

What is your best memory from your time at Manchester? 

The best memory has to be all colleagues in our pathway, and I’m still grateful for their assistance, experience, advices, sharing and for the unforgettable time we had together. I am so much proud of knowing such a diverse and idealistic group of people.

Do you have any tips or advice for current or prospective students? 

How do we view the world from a global perspective in this multicultural era will be really meaningful, and we can definitely discover a lot through the life in GDI. Particularly, development studies programs can be a great start for further research work or any other careers in international and domestic NGOs, governments or communities.