London Connection Q&A: Sinduja Jayaratne
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How did you find out about the University of London International Programmes?
From an advertisement which Royal Institute placed in the newspaper.
How are you enjoying the course so far?
Oh I enjoy it to the maximum. The course is fantastic due to its content and the variety of subjects which are relevant to today’s context.
How do you find studying at an Institution? Does it suit your nature?
Well, I love being in the institution since my lecturer, Mr Hasalaka Apampola, is excellent in teaching and presenting the information coherently. But I do a lot of extra stuff parallel to the degree which will help my career. My lecturer and the institution both help me to balance my time. Therefore, I would conclude that being at an institution is great when there are people to encourage you not only with studies, but also in future prospects.
Would you consider postgraduate study?
Yes, I would love to do a Masters in Climate Change/International Relations.
You are a very active volunteer. How do you find time to balance your life and study?
Well, balancing time and studies is an art I would say. I maintain a diary where I write everything that is to be done on different days. According to that, I allocate time for studies and I study six hours per day somehow.
Tell us about your new role with Arbeiter Samariter Bund?
I have been selected for an internship with Arbeiter Samariter Bund which is the oldest voluntary organisation in the world and happens to be a German Institution. I have worked on one of their projects in Matara regarding community governance. In addition to this, I have been selected for a Coral Reef project by the Central Authority of Enviroment in Sri Lanka which works closely with the UK and Australian governments and other main stakeholders such as National Geographic. I will hopefully be playing the role of project coordinator. These are the latest developments with me right now.
"The opportunities have come to me due to my degree with the International Programmes, and Arbeiter Samariter Bund specially mentioned it"
Do you think being a University of London International Programmes student has opened doors for you?
Oh, very much! The two above mentioned opportunities have come to me due to my degree with the International Programmes, and Arbeiter Samariter Bund specially mentioned it.
Sri Lanka is now at a new point in its history. What would you like to see happen in the ‘new’ Sri Lanka?
I would like to see a new Sri Lanka become a diplomatic hub to balance the relationships between China, India and Pakistan. As an International Relations student I believe that nationalism is not the only way to handle issues. Relationships with the international community matter a lot for your existence. And the international community means not just one country! So I would like to see a Sri Lanka developing new ties with all countries.
You have expressed an interest in politics and the world of diplomacy. Sri Lanka had the world’s first female prime minster (Sirimavo Ratwatte Dias Bandaranaike). Did she inspire you? Any other inspirations?
To be honest, she never inspired me. But the so called ‘Iron Lady’, former UK Prime Minister Margret Thatcher, influenced me a lot. I know most of the British people didn’t like the way she crushed the unions, but I liked the way she put Britain back on the world map! Also, I like President Barack Obama for being the first black President in a white country! It definitely proves the fact that “Impossible Odds - Yes We Can!”
What do you hope the future holds for you?
Well, I have four dreams when it comes to studies and career. I always wanted to be a graduate from the University of London (definitely attached to the London School of Economics and Political Science). Then I want to get into Harvard University for the PhD. Then I want to work in the United Nations in Switzerland and Africa. Then I want to become the first woman President of the USA (which is highly impossible but I would at least try!). There is a saying ‘If you shoot to the moon at least you will fall on the stars!’ Therefore, let’s see how the future works for me!
- Name: Sinduja Umandi Wickramasinghe Jayaratne.
- Age: 22.
- Studying: Bsc International Relations at Royal Institute of Colombo, Sri Lanka.
- Voluntary work includes: Project secretary of Sri Lanka Saukyadhana Movement since August 2010; Student assistant for Education Fair UK 2011 under British Council Sri Lanka from 19-20 February 2011; Volunteer for the Warehouse Project from February 2011; Committee member at Green Lanka Youth Platform, writing a climate change report to submit to the Youth Leadership Summit (Singapore, July 2011); Assistant consultant for Management for Development Foundation, in the process of building up a manual for community governance in Sri Lanka under Care International; Team member for the Youth Legal Movement since 2009.
- Freelance writer for CHOKOLAATE magazine since 2008 and to Asia Digest since 2010 (international and national political column).