Author Archives: ghazalg

A place to call my own

A warm welcome to all the admitted students at HGSE!

I am sure you must be very excited and eager to start planning the year ahead. I distinctly remember this time last year, where I suddenly felt like there were a million things to take care of once I had made my decision. On top of that list was finding a house!

Trust me when I say you must start early. A great resource is the pre-matriculation website that provides all the deadlines you need to remember. In terms of housing, there will be a deadline to apply for your View and Select Window for Harvard Housing and an application for the GSAS dorms. It was through the pre-matriculation website that I found my roommate as well! We got a lovely apartment at 29 Garden Street which is one of the Harvard Housing units. Staying here has been amazing, with lots of free food events (an appreciation for which you will soon develop!) and great company. On the other hand, I have many friends who chose to stay off-campus and have found that convenient too.

A few things to keep in mind:

  1. Cost:Do not just look at the rent amount. Always find out about the extra utilities. The good thing about on campus housing is that the rent is all inclusive (internet, electricity, heating). However, for off campus options, try and get a sense of what your real expenditure will be. With Dorms and Cronkhite, there is also a meal plan that is compulsory and adds to the total cost.
  2. Location:Having survived one of the worst winters, believe me when I say location really is key. Try and find a place close to HGSE. Several of my friends has trouble as the T went down and buses weren’t that reliable this winter.
  3. Roommates:You can use the pre-matriculation website or the many Facebook groups to choose a roommate. This year is going to be very hectic so choose wisely:)
  4. Patience:is key. As long as you stay alert, you’ll definitely have less trouble. There’s a Facebook group called Harvard Housing which is very convenient with many sub let options available as well.

Hope this helps! All the best with the House Hunt!

Ghazal Gulati is a Master’s in Education candidate in the International Education Policy Program. After transitioning from finance to teaching, Ghazal is now interested in systems design for monitoring and evaluation programs. With a love for museums, she is enjoying exploring the historic aspects of Cambridge and Boston!

From Delhi To Cambridge

It is never easy to leave home. Especially when you’re moving not just to a new city but an entirely new country. As my year at HGSE draws to a close, I realise how quickly I’ve come to call Cambridge home. I was nervous and excited in equal measure before relocating to Cambridge. My friends, instructors and host family at Harvard made the transition so much easier! The beauty of Cambridge in the Fall, the sun setting over the Charles and the friendly people around make it so easy to fall in love with this city. Homesickness though is a real phenomenon. Weekends would always bring with it memories of family and friends back in Delhi. To all  the newly admitted students out there, look forward to your year ahead, plan the move you’re going to be making but most importantly be prepared to enjoy this new city and the people you’re about to share this experience with. Trust me, this year will be unforgettable.

Ghazal Gulati is a Master’s in Education candidate in the International Education Policy Program. After transitioning from finance to teaching, Ghazal is now interested in systems design for monitoring and evaluation programs. With a love for museums, she is enjoying exploring the historic aspects of Cambridge and Boston.

Statement of Purpose: Telling your story

While participating in two panels last weekend for the Admissions Office, memories of this time last year came flooding back!

It was around this time that I was starting to put finishing touches on the ‘all important’ Statement of Purpose. For all you prospective students out there, I thought I’d put in some quick pointers. Hopefully these will help:

a. Starting early:  Don’t leave this till the week of the deadline. I know it is easy to put off but if you get started early, the quality of your end product will be radically different. Read the prompt multiple times. It helped me to break down the questions into different elements so that my statement answered it all. Read the instructions carefully as well – font size, type and number of pages should all be kept in mind when you start writing.

b. It will take multiple iterations: I am pretty sure no one got their statement right the first time they sat to write it. I know it is hard to stare at a blank page but instead of trying to form that perfect sentence, put down what you have. Read it again and again to check the flow of the piece. Try different structures and choose the one you feel effectively conveys the message.

c. Tell your story!: Don’t try to be someone you’re not. Try and convey in a balanced manner how you are a right fit for HGSE and the program is the right fit for you. I am sure you’ve thought about it enough to consider applying here in the first place. Try to find a narrative that ties in all your experiences and how coming to HGSE will further your progress towards your goal. I understand that not all of us are crystal clear about our future career choices but having some focus does help.

d. Get Feedback: Select 2-3 people to review your statement. I specifically selected a small number because many times there is conflicting feedback that just ends up confusing you rather than being of any help. Talk them through your thought process and your outline so they understand whether your writing conveys what you’re thinking. You do not have to accept all the feedback you receive, the writing still has to be a reflection of you as a person!

All the best and hope to see you on Appian Way soon!

Ghazal Gulati is a Master’s in Education candidate in the International Education Policy Program. After transitioning from finance to teaching, Ghazal is now interested in systems design for monitoring and evaluation programs. With a love for museums, she is enjoying exploring the historic aspects of Cambridge and Boston!

 

IEP Connects: IEP Global Conference

On October 18-19, 2014 the International Education Policy Program at HGSE hosted the IEP Global Conference. Alumni and the current cohort gathered over the weekend to discuss pertinent issues associated with international education – policy reform, evaluation, entrepreneurship, education in armed conflict and much more. Through the conference I got to meet and interact with alumni from all over the world who were more than willing to share their career paths while reminiscing about their time at Appian Way.

It was amazing to hear all the varied accomplishments and heartening to know that we’re all focused on all children learning well. I was also selected to speak on a panel discussing Education Entrepreneurship. I discussed my experience of working with a low-income private school in Delhi, the challenges and learning. It was my first EVER academic panel and I had a great time interacting with my fellow panelists as well as the audience.

A special Town Hall was organised at the end of the conference to discuss the IEP Program itself. Conducted by Professor Reimers, the session gave all participants a chance to have a say in the future of the program including the curriculum, skills and experiences. It makes me feel proud to belong to a program that accepts this need to continuously evolve and is doing it in a participatory manner as well.

Here are some pictures from the event:

Members of the current IEP cohort!

Members of the current IEP cohort!

 

That's me! Speaking on the panel on Education Entrepreneurship

That’s me! Speaking on the panel  discussing Education Entrepreneurship

With Professor Reimers and my fellow panelists right before we spoke.

With Professor Reimers and my fellow panelists right before we spoke.

Ghazal Gulati is a Master’s in Education candidate in the International Education Policy Program. After transitioning from finance to teaching, Ghazal is now interested in systems design for monitoring and evaluation programs. With a love for museums, she is enjoying exploring the historic aspects of Cambridge and Boston!

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My Family Away From Home

Exactly two months ago I landed at Logan International Airport, a little nervous and very excited. It has been two full months now away from home, the longest I’ve ever been away. Whirlwind doesn’t even begin to describe it and maybe I should save that for another post.

But two months ago was also when I met Amika. Amika had been assigned as my Host by the Harvard International Office. As I walked out of the airport, there she was with a big bright smile on her face and an even bigger poster with my name on it (which now graces my bedroom wall). She had been in touch with me over the summer, telling me more about herself and making me feel like the transition wouldn’t be as difficult as I was imagining it to be.

We’ve met quite a few times since I’ve arrived and I thank my stars every single time for signing up for the Host Program! Amika and her partner Gus have welcomed me into their home and lives with such affection that I never feel too far away from home. We’ve shared a few lovely days, some amazing conversation, lots of laughter and some great food (check pictures for details!). So here’s to both of you – Amika and Gus, my family away from home.

Amika, Gus and Me at a lunch organised by the Harvard International Student Office

Amika, Gus and I at a lunch organised by the Harvard International  Office

At Plimoth, trying some fresh boiled lobster! Yum!

At Plimoth, trying some fresh boiled lobster! Yum!

Ghazal Gulati is a Master’s in Education candidate in the International Education Policy Program. After transitioning from finance to teaching, Ghazal is now interested in systems design for monitoring and evaluation programs. With a love for museums, she is enjoying exploring the historic aspects of Cambridge and Boston!

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