Adam Shaikh

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

I am from Nantwich in Cheshire and went to school nearby in a town called Northwich. For A levels I studied History, Politics and Music

What motivated you to apply for your course at Leeds?

Since I did History and Politics, International Relations seemed to a be a good blend of the two that also combined with me pre-existing interests

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

Late former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy made an impassioned speech against the Iraq war in the House of Commons. It was after that speech I became interested in politics and subsequently studied it as soon as I got the chance which was at A level.

What did you think of your course?

I have enjoyed learning international relations theory and then being able to apply them to big geopolitical crisis to increase my understanding. Leeds is a very good university and the department had a wide variety of modules to pick from. I was always spoilt for choice and never felt like I didn’t have enough options. Also the teaching was mostly excellent.

Tell us about your study abroad year:

I went to The National University of Singapore. It was one of the best experiences of my life. I learnt a lot both academically and as a person. I felt I grew up a lot. My highlights were the amazing friends I met from all over the world and then being able to travel around Southeast Asia in my spare time.

How have you been able to apply this to your studies?

I learnt a lot about the regional politics of Southeast Asia which has informed my dissertation topic this year. I was also able to take philosophy and economics modules with the flexibility and peace of mind because of the pass fail criteria of the study abroad year.

Have you been involved in any extra-curricular activities?

There are a range of sports societies and clubs. I joined the tennis society. There are also a range of music and drama societies. I joined acapella and chamber choir as well as doing the Devonshire Hall play in my first year. The department societies are also a great way of meeting people on your course. I joined the POLIS society and met loads of great friends.

What would you say about Leeds as a city?

Leeds is a fantastic city for a student as there are so many universities around. The city centre is also very compact so you are never far away from things to do.

What do you like to do outside of studying?

I enjoy playing and listening to music. I play violin, guitar, piano and I sing as well as playing in a band.

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

Make sure you have a passion for politics and current affairs but don’t worry about having never studied it before. People come from all sorts of non-humanities backgrounds like maths and sciences and they manage fine. The course is designed to get everyone up to speed very quickly.

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

I would like to do a masters but not straight away. The fields of work I am looking for are NGO’s, political think tanks and the civil service.