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Alvin's story: Social Policy and Planning at LSE

Alvin Carpio studied a Social Policy and Planning MSC at the London School of Economics (LSE) and now works for Catch 22, as a Public Affairs Officer in the Dawes Gangs Unit. 


I did my undergraduate degree at the School of Oriental and African Studies (part of the University of London) in history and politics and afterwards I worked as a communityorganiser. I always planned to do a master's degree and I felt it was the right time: I wanted to learn more about the British welfare state, education system, and social policy more generally. Part of the reason why I chose to study again was to build on my understanding of the big issues affecting our country at a time of great uncertainty during the recession; but it was also an opportunity to enjoy academic life and be a student again.


  What are you doing now? Alvin Social Policy & Planning


 I'm two months into my new job at Catch22. A forward looking      social business, Catch22 has over 200 years’ experience of  providing services that help people in tough situations to turn their  lives around. I'm the Public Affairs Officer in the Dawes Gangs Unit.  It's been an amazing start in a fantastic organisation and I'm really  enjoying a role in which I can use what I've learned in my master's  degree.




How did you support yourself whilst studying?


I saved up during the three years I worked before my master's and also took a professional career development loan. I was also luckily supported by my family: my mum let me stay in her home. Without her help, it would have been near impossible to do the master's degree.


Do you think the course was a worthwhile investment?


Definitely. Not only do I feel like I've learned a lot, but I also feel more confident after spending a year listening to hours of lectures, debating in seminars, and writing about education, pensions, welfare, social exclusion, and social policy. The quality of teaching and assessment at LSE is fantastic, and I've also learned from a big group of new friends I met on the course who are from all over the world. If it makes sense for someone, I do recommend doing courses so long as you understand what you're investing in and why.


 What did you enjoy most about the course?


I enjoyed meeting smart, fun, and interesting people including lecturers, staff, and fellow students. I also enjoyed the range of topics I studied and, geekily enough, the time to sit down and read in the library. I will never forget my experience at the LSE.


What was the most challenging aspect?


My undergraduate degree at SOAS covered the histories and politics of the so-called developing regions including Southeast Asia, South America, Africa, and South Asia. I focused on the Philippines which is where my family is from. I was intrigued by the country my mother left when she was 19 to work in England to provide support to her family. When I worked as a community organiser, this knowledge was helpful in some ways but I sometimes felt a gap in knowledge when it came to the British system. That's part of why I focused on British social policy during my master's degree, and getting to grips with all the details of the pension and welfare system was challenging. But that's why I did the master's degree: if you're not challenged, you're not learning.


>See all Social Policy related postgradaute courses here

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