Does it make sense to study Public Policies abroad?

 The answer to the question above is simple: it all depends on your goals. Brazil has a very strong academic tradition, even when it comes to applied teaching objects: our master's degrees are stricto sensu, last two years and have a theoretical focus. “The master's degree in the field of publics here in Brazil contributes a lot for those who want to pursue an academic career or who need the title to enter or have a promotion in some public sector position”, says economist Valdemir Pires, coordinator of the Public Administration course at Paulista State University (Unesp). Most of the dissertations developed are linked to local issues, and the analyzes can serve as a theoretical basis to discuss problems in specific sectors of the government, but their practical function is restricted.

Abroad, master's degrees can last only one year and tend to be more professional. In some schools, there is the possibility for the student to present a project at the end of the course, in place of the traditional dissertation thesis. For Fernando de Souza Coelho, PhD in Public Administration and Government by the Getúlio Vargas Foundation (FGV) and professor at the University of São Paulo (USP), the big difference in relation to Brazil is in the teaching methodology. “In general, master's degrees in public policy in the United States and Europe are less academic and more practical. They are ideal for anyone who wants to acquire applied knowledge or develop leadership skills ”, he says.

It makes sense to study abroad for a Brazilian public official who grew up in your department and feels that he needs to improve some skills to make decisions and manage a larger team. Or someone looking for a position in a Ministry, such as Energy, for example, and needs to have specific knowledge in the area to enter, which can be approached in courses abroad. For those who want to work in multilateral agencies, such as the IMF, the master's degree abroad is also a great gateway. For others who want to join international NGOs, it is a good way to acquire luggage and important connections. Itamaraty employees also tend to study international relations abroad. "The important thing is to choose the school well, giving preference to the one with which you identify, both with the environment and with the teaching proposal",


Although the internet has greatly reduced the distances between countries, with regard to the exchange of information and opinions in the area, living abroad allows the student to make deeper comparisons with Brazil, in relation to working conditions and political influences in the sector, for example. “Thus, it is possible to come back with new proposals for solutions and alternatives to deal with our problems and even overcome them, considering, of course, the specifics of each location”, says public management researcher and professor at UFMG Ivan Beck, who he did a doctorate in Public Administration at Aston University in England.

Sandra Inês Granja, a specialist in Public Policies at the Fundação do Desenvolvimento Administrativo (Fundap) - a government agency in the state of São Paulo - believes that a professional who decides to take a master's degree in these areas abroad can make a relevant contribution to the Brazilian government. “Other countries may have found relevant solutions to problems that we are also facing. Of course, they cannot be simply transposed to our reality, but it is important to know how they were applied abroad to reflect on the challenges and find our own solutions ”, he points out.

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