- Course: BA International Relations
- Nationality: British
Please tell us a bit about yourself.
At home I live in a small village in Buckinghamshire where there isn’t a vast amount to do, so the size and vibrant feel of the city centre is definitely what attracted me to Leeds. I love playing sport and travelling to experience various new cultures and of course I am very interested and passionate about both domestic and international politics!
What motivated you to apply for your course at Leeds?
I studied both history and politics at A-Level and was particularly interested in the international events from the 20th Century onwards. I also have a strong personal passion for human rights and humanitarian issues as someone who has always been a keen volunteer with a strong interest in aiding others. Completing an EPQ in Sixth Form and researching human rights and economic liberalisation in China confirmed my passion for the topical and fascinating content that International Relations would encompass.
I chose Leeds to study International Relations largely due to the impressive size and diversity of the department, which I felt would offer me a large range of module choice which has proved to be the case! Further, the open days gave me the impression that the staff were very friendly and crucially passionate about their areas of research which I knew would be an important motivator for my own work. The diversity of the Leeds student intake was also a contributing factor in my decision as being from a rather small village in Buckinghamshire, I wanted to be able to come to university and meet a variety of people from different cultures and backgrounds, which I thought would be crucial to gaining different perspectives and insights into the various topics discussed within my course. I was particularly impressed by the University Union in terms of the social side of the experience as I knew there would be so many varied and interesting opportunities for me to get involved in which has definitely proven to be the case!
What do you think of your course?
I absolutely love my course, particularly due to its continuing relevance and evolving nature such as my EU module reflecting on the implications of Brexit and the US Politics module analysing the Presidency of Trump so far. I have particularly enjoyed doing specifically international relations modules which focus on lenses through which we analyse the world as I feel this challenged many assumptions that I had about the world and really pushed me to critically engage with the literature within my subject.
How would you describe the guidance you have received?
My seminars are well structured and very informative which allows us to expand and clarify the information outlined in lectures. Furthermore, office hours are very helpful for clarifying any problems or questions that you may have on particular content or for going through essay plans and giving further guidance on directions to take with these. The staff are always very enthusiastic and supportive which enables me to feel very comfortable about being open and honest about things I perhaps am not understanding or essays that I am struggling with.
What do you think of the facilities?
Both the academic and the extra-curricular facilities at the University are excellent and provide everything that students want and need. My involvement with sport has given me the opportunity to use the amazing facilities at The Edge such as the gym, the strength and conditioning rooms and the various studio rooms for fitness classes, along with the Gryphon which is our extra sports centre for students on university teams. My friends who are involved with music and drama say that the facilities for these are also excellent and I have been to a number of their shows and experienced this myself. Academic facilities are also very impressive and always improving, with access to an amazing amount of books and brilliant study spaces.
Have you had the opportunity to study abroad or complete a year in industry?
I decided not to do a year abroad myself as I would like to do my Masters degree abroad, however many of my friends are travelling to a variety of interesting places such as Canada and Singapore. I would definitely recommend considering this opportunity in order to enhance your study of International Relations with a real international experience.
Have you been involved in any extra-curricular activities?
Since joining university, I have been a member of the Leeds University Netball Club and have therefore competed in BUCS fixtures on a weekly basis against other universities. This has been a great opportunity to meet a large number of new people, significantly improve my fitness and netball skills and represent the university in matches. The hard work at training is accompanied by fun socials every Wednesdays and various other events throughout the year such as a Sports Ball and Christmas meal which provide the opportunity to solidify these friendships and engage with students from other sports teams.
This year I have taken part in both an Umpiring Academy and an Emerging Leaders Scheme which is run by the Leeds University Sports Leadership Scheme. This has been a great opportunity to improve my confidence in my communication skills and in positions of authority and leadership which has been crucial for both my personal and professional development.
Further, I am a member of the University POLIS society which is the course society for students of Politics, International Relations and International Development. The committee of this society regularly organise talks by various academics and figures of political importance which occur outside of your official contact time and give an interesting insight into topics that perhaps you haven’t had the chance to delve into within your modules and can be a great inspiration for a dissertation topic. I have also had the opportunity to go to both Amsterdam and Budapest with this society as a nice end of exams and deadline celebration.
Any other comments you would like to make?
The support and opportunities at the University outside of my course are also excellent. Leeds for Life and Skills@Library are brilliant for expanding your skill sets and therefore career prospects. Personally, I used the workshops at the library to clarify referencing questions in first year when this was a bit of a daunting task and found a brilliant volunteering opportunity within a small Leeds based charity through the Leeds for Life portal.