Nana Afia Twum-Barima

Foreign Service Programme (FSP)

'Before joining the Foreign Service Programme (FSP), I worked in the protocol Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ghana. My schedule involved among other things, organising and ensuring the smooth execution of programmes and serving as a link between the Ministry and the Diplomatic Corps. Although the Bureau was fast paced and challenging, it gave me the opportunity to enhance my programme management and networking skills. As with most hectic schedules, I worked to meet tight deadlines and worked under immense pressure. These competencies definitely came in handy during the course of the Programme.

'I decided to pursue the FSP course because after working for some years, I found there’s always the feeling that you need new challenges and experiences in your field to enhance your output. Thankfully, the Ministry is also aware of the need to equip its professionals with the requisite knowledge and skills. As such, the course was a perfect fit.

'What I found challenging in the beginning was switching from work mode to being a full time student. However, this did not last long because the course is very hands-on and boasts of a blend of practice and theory.

'The whole Oxford experience was rewarding. I particularly enjoyed the interaction with renowned experts at conferences and seminars, the enviable world-class teaching and educational facilities as well as the invaluable friendships I made. Others, such as the beautiful College grounds and melodious evensongs of their Chapel choirs, all contributed to enriching my memories of Oxford.

'The most interesting part of the course was going back to the basics of International Relations theory. Being in practice, I was able to have new perspectives, better understanding and analysis of them.

'I am currently back at the Ministry, working to achieve its target of deepening cooperation with the world and offering better services to Ghanaians.

'I would highly recommend the Foreign Service Programme to anyone looking for a programme in international relations that blends theory with diplomatic practice. The programme is well run and I have no doubt all professional lives will be richer for it.'