My experience to win Government of Ireland – International Education Scholarship (GOI-IES)

Introduction

In this article, I would like to share my experience in winning Irish Government Scholarship. I won this scholarship on July 6 2018 as a PhD student.

My department is Business Information Systems, University College Cork. I am writing this article based on my perspectives.

More specifically about what aspect that the scholarship value most. Nevertheless, I admit that this article may not reflect how the scholarship decision makers produce their decisions.

Government of Ireland (GOI) scholarship is a fund support provided by the Irish High Education Authority (HEA). It is available for International students. Particularly, those International students who pursue their education in Ireland.

Please note that GOI only provide 1 year tuition fee and 10, 000 euros for living cost (for one year). Hence, the number of support is not substantially high and is only for one year. Therefore, I guess this scholarship is only suitable for individual and is not for family.

Also, there is no guarantee that an awardee will obtain the same scholarship in the following year. Thus, If an awardee is a PhD student, then he/she needs to think other funding alternatives as he/she arrives in Ireland.

Irish Government Scholarship for MS/PhD student

After reading the guidelines and the need-to-submit form, I have found that this scholarship put more emphasis on strengthening international relationships. Specifically, Among Ireland and its international partner countries.

Initially it sounded like cultural exchanges for me, but soon I realized that the funder expect more.

The expected relationships could be academic, cultural, economical, educational, or other type of exchanges. To this point, a candidate need to prove that he/she has the required capabilities to win the scholarship.

Believe me, a mere rhetoric and promise do not work in this regard.

What should I do?

The following are lists that I have prepared in winning the scholarship.

  1. Find two reliable referees for your application
  2. Be aware of your English
  3. Put more efforts on finding your contribution to Ireland
  4. Submit your application before the deadline expires

Find two reliable referees for your application

This step is a primary procedure for most Government scholarship. Here, referees are analog to “lawyer” at a court. If you suggest a dull referee, then your potential to be accepted will decline fast.

Otherwise, referring a good referee will improve your possibility to be accepted. There are various person that can be your referee. It can be your coworker, your recent superior, or your former supervisor.

Regardless who your referee is, a good referee should be able to express your potential and how is your potential fit to the scholarship’s objective. At this point, the referee should detail your previous experiences along with achievements.

Sounds problematic?

Not really, if your referee is someone that you are continuously working with. My suggestion is to find a close referee and avoid a distant referee (if applicable).

I got my reference fast from my former supervisor. Up to today, I keep maintaining a mutual relationship with him. He regularly visits Indonesia to recruit students in annual basis. At this point, I continuously help him to arrange an interview at my campus.

The last time he visits me is about 2 months before the GOI scholarship closing deadline. Once I asked him to provide me a reference letter, he replied pretty quickly. This is sure benefit that I could get from him.

In the other hand, I got a friend that is applying for another foreign government scholarship (I could not mention which country). Her former master supervisor is now residing in US after teaching some years in Taiwan.

She and her supervisor have not in touch for almost 6 years prior she request her professor to be a referee. She has been waiting for almost 2 months and got no reply. I do not know what happens, but this situation is very upsetting. Especially, if the scholarship requires the referee to submit his/her reference letter directly.

Is there any possibility that a referee’s position counted?

I do not know. it could be yes or no. For my case, I don’t care what position that my referee is.

In my humble opinion, the referee should be someone that is close to you and is knowing you well. No matter how high his/her position, if he/she has nothing to do your recent activities, then his/her recommendation will be inaccurate and be less convincing.

Once (in the other application), I asked my collage to provide me a recommendation. My friend held a high rank officer in my campus. Despite she is nice and friendly, her recommendation worked below my expectation.

As she never work intensely with me, she could not accurately explain my strength and weakness. I apply some scholarships with her recommendation and mostly fails.

Here, I could not blame her. It was my fault. I thought that by using high rank officer, I could get the scholarship.

In fact I did not. Again, someone that is knowing you well is far better !

Be aware of your English

English is the key. Your recommendations are in English and so are your application form. I rarely found that a scholarship application is written in non-English language. Even for countries that are not using English as their national language, English is still being used. Poor English will screw everything. Yes, it will ruin you until the the last pieces.

Even though you have an outstanding quality, if your English is poor then your application will be easily dumped. Moreover, having good English is not a trivial task. Especially for those whose native are not English.

But don’t worry, there are plenty application that you can use to proofread your English. I use both Microsoft Word’s proof read and Grammarly to check my English.

They work well. The two tools work to check my Grammar and word choice.

Still the two aforementioned tools will not work well if you do not have a good initial writing structure. I do admit that writing is not easy.

We need to structure our mind into actionable writing. This can take hours for thinking and translating. Hence, I would like to suggest Google Translate.

Google Translate is actually a powerful tool for writing English. It could precisely translate your local language into English and vice versa.

The thing that you need to do is to write your sentences into active form in your local language. Then click translate.

In my experience, Google Translate’s translation is very good. Far beyond my expectation. Thus, I always suggest my student to write their English version of his/her bachelor thesis using Google Translate.

By using this, I could save my time to check my student’s initial manuscript.

Put more efforts on finding your contribution to Ireland

GOI scholarship requires its awardee to strengthen the relationship between Ireland and his/her home country. Contribution should be real and actionable. I was lucky because I secured the Korean Government Scholarship Program (KGSP).

In general, this scholarship has similar typical with GOI scholarship. To this point, the KGSP provides full year support for master/PhD  and the Korean Language training.

Arranging interview and recruitment 

During my master time, I have managed to suggest three Indonesian students to join my lab. As their performances are beyond average, my then professor start believing me to recruit more and more Indonesian students.

I have been responsible for arranging nation-wide interview for my professor since 2011 – 2018. When my professor started working with other professors, he proposed my name to handle their recruitment.

Hence, since 2011 I have helped other professors to scout many Indonesian students.

Arranging International Conference to prove strong collaboration

Along with this effort, in 2011, my Department held a new biannual conference: Information Systems International Conference (ISICO). My department had financial problems in arranging this conference.

This is a typical nature of a new conference where potential participants are not knowing well the name and the reputation of the conference.

I asked my professor to join and he agreed. He persuaded his collages to come and we got 11 participants from Pusan National University. For this reason, ISICO obtained positive revenue from their coming. At that time, there were very few international participants coming.

The thing that I do not anticipate is that the conference developed beyond my expectation. In 2013, ISICO hosts the inauguration of the Association for Information Systems (AIS) Indonesia Chapter.

Here, AIS is the official global organization for Information Systems academia and practitioners. The Indonesian chapter itself is the largest AIS Chapter in ASEAN in terms of national members.

ISICO 2013 invited the AIS President, Prof Doug Vogel of City University of Hong Kong as a keynote speaker and attracted around 80 participants worldwide. I saw this is a major breakthrough than that of ISICO 2011.

In 2015, I was assigned to be the organizing committee chairman of this conference. For the first time, we successfully include all accepted papers to Procedia Computer Science (PCS), Elsevier.

PCS is a leading conference proceeding with high h-index and is indexed by Scopus. Also, during the conference, we (again) managed to invite the AIS President: Prof Jae Kyu Lee from KAIST, Korea.

In this conference, I put my former supervisor as a keynote speaker to promote the Business Process Discipline (BPM) in Asia Pacific. The conference was a huge success. We received as many as 230 submissions worldwide from 25 countries.

Still in 2015, I secured a position as a fellow of KGSP alumni program. The program was held in Seoul. The program invited distinct alumnus that have successfully strengthen the relationship between Korea and his/her home country.

What to conclude?

So, if you were me, In your GOI proposal, you could say that if you could be accepted then you will do the same that I have done with Korea. Further, you will strengthen the research relationship between Ireland and Indonesia via research collaboration.

Moreover, you will make a research community where Ireland researcher will be the center of the research community. Also, you will promote the Irish Education towards your undergraduate student; hence they could select Ireland as their further study destination.

Submit your application before the deadline expires

This is a major thing that you have be aware. Submission beyond the deadlines is not acceptable. In my case, I submitted my document 30 minutes before the deadline expires.

However, I would not suggest you to do the same that I did, because you could not predict what obstacles will happen during your last 30 minutes. Here, internet break down can be every time or you suddenly remember that you have not submit an important document

What I should NOT do

There are at least three things that you should NOT do during your application:

  1. Send the application with large size attachments
  2. Copy paste from your previous scholarship application, without editing
  3. Do not claim an achievement without evidences.

Send the application with large size attachments

The GOI Scholarship provider requires candidate to submit scanned version of his/her form. At this point, a candidate should be aware for the attachment size. If you use Gmail as your email to send the application, then it may take a while for uploading.

Please note that Gmail could reach maximum 25 mb for one sending. However, this figure may not be representative if you send your document from a low bandwidth area.

My suggestion is to select appropriate files to scan, not all files need to be scanned

Copy paste from your previous scholarship application, without editing

Many scholarship applicants reuse their application documents for another scholarship. The applicant may just copy the content and paste it into a new application.

They might forget to remove some scholarship provider’s credentials such as name, address, scholarship purpose, etc. I have strong feeling that if you do this, then your possibility to be accepted will decrease exponentially.

Hence, I would suggest you to rewrite you application form instead of copy-pasteing your previous document. Please remember that many scholarship provider requires novelty and originality from their applicants