News Releases

UWI Grad heads to Spain after winning 2021 Erasmus Scholarship

For Release Upon Receipt - July 29, 2021

St. Augustine

Derron Watkins

“I felt like every emotion of doubt, joy, and sadness; all the prayer, work, and sacrifice culminated into a single moment of absolute euphoria,” said Derron Watkins, as he described how he felt when he opened the email confirming that he was the latest Trinidad and Tobago national to be awarded an Erasmus Mundus Joint Master’s Degree (EMJMD) scholarship. “It felt like I finally exhaled after holding my breath for years. Receiving that email was the most humbling moment of my life,” said Watkins. 

With two Bachelor’s degrees in Economics and Psychology from The University of the West Indies (The UWI) St Augustine Campus, Watkins will read for a Master’s degree in Work, Organisational and Personnel Psychology at the University of Valencia, Spain and at the University of Coimbra in Portugal. He will journey to Spain to begin this course of study in September. “I completed two bachelor’s degrees at UWI, first majoring in Economics and minoring in Psychology from 2011 to 2014 then majoring in Psychology and minoring in Human Resource Manager from 2016 to 2019. I spent six years of my life on Campus first as a fulltime student then as an evening student,” said Watkins. 

As he looks forward toward his studies abroad, he is grateful for his experiences at the UWI which he said helped to make him into the person he is today. “At UWI, I had to learn how to adapt to new environments, expectations, and personalities... I learned that consistent diligent work leads to positive outcomes. My entire UWI experience shaped the principles that form the foundation of my personality; humble, conscientious, open and honest.” he added. Forming new friendships and professional relationships were among his best experiences at The UWI, “I also enjoyed interacting with my lecturers, Mr. Martin Franklin and Dr. Heather Hollingsworth who provided support, mentorship, and guidance that I will always value.” However, he says the experience he enjoyed the most was graduation. “I don’t mean just finishing my degree, but the satisfaction that comes when the phrase “with first class honours,” precedes your name, then the warmth that sets in when you hear your family scream!” recalled Watkins.  

The Erasmus Mundus Joint Master’s Degree Scholarship programme is highly sought after around the world by individuals seeking to study in Europe. It allows scholars the opportunity to read for a postgraduate degree in at least two countries in the EU, all expenses paid. In 2021, 2,756 scholarships were awarded to individuals in 141 countries. Watkins is one of an elite group of approximately 100 individuals from Trinidad and Tobago who have been awarded the scholarship since 2005.  

Speaking about his future plans at the end of his study abroad, Watkins, currently a Business Operations Assistant II in the ‘Social Services Unit of the Judiciary of Trinidad and Tobago, Family and Children Division’, said he hopes to, at least initially, be able to return to his job providing services for families and children. Longer term, he plans to establish his own consulting business. 

He is encouraging other students to explore as many opportunities as they can and go search for what interests them most, “Find your passion, develop your vision and when you do, stay focused on your vision. Whether your vision is for academic excellence, entrepreneurial brilliance, or artistic expression, stay focused on your vision, work consistently, learn from your failures and be humble in success.” said Watkins. 

For more information about the European Union’s Erasmus Scholarship Programme, please visit:     



About The UWI 

The UWI has been and continues to be a pivotal force in every aspect of Caribbean development; residing at the centre of all efforts to improve the well-being of people across the region.  

From a university college of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948, The UWI is today an internationally respected, global university with near 50,000 students and five campuses: Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago, Cave Hill in Barbados, Five Islands in Antigua and Barbuda and its Open Campus, and 10 global centres in partnership with universities in North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe.  

The UWI offers over 800 certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Culture, Creative and Performing Arts, Food and Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities and Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology, Social Sciences, and Sport. As the Caribbean’s leading university, it possesses the largest pool of Caribbean intellect and expertise committed to confronting the critical issues of our region and wider world. 

Ranked among the top universities in the world, by the most reputable ranking agency, Times Higher EducationThe UWI is the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists. In 2020, it earned ‘Triple 1st’ rankings—topping the Caribbean; and in the top in the tables for Latin America and the Caribbean, and global Golden Age universities (between 50 and 80 years old).  The UWI is also featured among the top universities on THE’s Impact Rankings for its response to the world’s biggest concerns, outlined in the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including Good Health and Wellbeing; Gender Equality and Climate Action.  

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(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)