student profile

Louisa Polack

Please tell us a bit about yourself

I’m Louisa and I’m from Essex. I’ve been living in Leeds for 4 years nearly, after doing my undergraduate at the University of Leeds too in International Relations with Quantitative Research Methods. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here and have had some amazing opportunities. 

What made you want to apply to your course and to Leeds?

Once I had decided that I was going to do a Masters, I knew that I wanted it to be at the University of Leeds, but it was actually the university that set me up with my course. After originally applying to a different course, the university instead offered me a place on the Security, Terrorism and Insurgency Masters as they could see that it was more in line with what I am interested in. They definitely made the right decision for me!

What is it that makes you passionate about your area of study?

I am really passionate about working within counterterrorism, and to truly succeed here I believe that it is really important to study and understand terrorism and terrorist groups as much as possible. I am really driven to understand terrorism as a phenomenon as well as individual groups, with the ultimate goal of working in a sector where I can truly change and save lives. 

What do you think of your course so far – what aspects of the course have you enjoyed the most or are looking forward to the most?

I have really enjoyed my course. As expected, and like any other Masters degree, it has been challenging at times, and I have definitely been pushed in terms of the level of work that I have produced, but this has also helped me to grow and further my abilities. I’ve met some amazing people through this course, have learnt a lot and developed such a true passion for what I study. 

What would you say about the learning facilities at the University of Leeds?

The University of Leeds has a great range of learning facilities, with various study spaces available to students to either book in advance or to turn up to on the day, which is really beneficial especially for those not wanting or able to work at home.

How do you find the student support from the School?

I think POLIS as a school is great at offering support to students. I like to think that, as a Course Representative, I play a part in this through bridging the gap between the students and the staff. Any concerns of students are always listened to and taken on board, with the POLIS team always finding some form of solution to any concerns students may have.   

What other activities are available for students to take part in outside of their studies, and which ones have you tried out yourself?

There is a huge range of societies and clubs that students can join both in the university and outside in the Leeds area more generally, such as sports teams both with POLIS and those based in Hyde Park which I have taken part in myself. There are also opportunities to socialise and network with other POLIS students at various events, including film screenings, quizzes and extracurricular seminars, which are a great way to meet and really get to know people on your course. 

What do you think about Leeds as a city?

I absolutely love Leeds! It has been my home for nearly 4 years yet there is still so much of it that I have left to explore. Leeds has so much to offer, whatever you’re interested in. From welcoming bars and traditional pubs, to scenic country walks and extensive sports facilities, there’s something for everyone. A big hobby of mine is photography so I love walking round Leeds with my film camera, inspired by the beautiful and interesting subjects that Leeds has to offer. 

What would you say to anyone thinking of applying to your course?

Go for it and good luck! If the topics covered by this course truly interest you, try and let your passion and enthusiasm come across in your application. Prepare to be challenged through your studies but the experience and knowledge that you will gain will make it all worthwhile. 

What do you plan to do once you’ve finished your course? What are you career aspirations?

I am hoping to move to Berlin for a few months after finishing my degree to work on my language skills even more and build up my experience. When I come back to the UK, I hope to put my course to good use and work within counterterrorism.  

Any other comment you would like to make?

I would just like to take this opportunity to thank the School of POLIS for offering me this position as Course Representative. It has been a privilege to work with so many members of the POLIS staff as well as representing my fellow students. I have loved my time at the University of Leeds and I am very proud to have studied here.