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My International Relations journey so far

13 November 2023
Photo by Lucas George Wendt on Unsplash
Photo by Lucas George Wendt on Unsplash

Recently, while visiting my home town, I returned to working at the original library where I studied when I was 16 years old and came to realise that I wanted to study International Relations (IR). 

Why I want to study International Relations

I was reminded of the times when I was trying to study chemistry but got distracted by a book on IR theory. Or doing English homework and found myself swept up in The Economist videos on the cost of fast fashion, state control in China and a guide on the real Hyderabad. I decided to put Jessica Hische’s idea that “the work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life” into practice. 

The library where I would study

While studying towards my A levels in college, I loved all my A levels. (FYI: I studied English Literature, Geography, Economics, and Mathematics in Context and completed an EPQ). However, studying during the time of COVID lockdowns and managing being dyslexic, I was concerned about achieving the right grades.

Looking into degree apprenticeship options 

After hesitating with the uncertainty of my grades, I began looking into what to do after I completed my A levels. One option was degree apprenticeships in Economics. Unfortunately, not all of these apprenticeships were relevant to me and due to the small number of apprenticeships in Economics available, they were very competitive.

Applying to universities 

Next, contemplating a gap year, I still decided to apply to university through UCAS. After getting offers back from my chosen universities, Cardiff University was conveniently situated in the heart of Cardiff, one of the most affordable cities in the UK and a Russell Group university, meaning that there is a focus on research.

Beginning to travel 

Once at university, I began working towards being able to travel. To me, this is essential in hand with studying to improve my knowledge the best. This helps me put theory into practice and has even inspired ideas for my dissertation.

Getting experience

Recently I’ve been working on getting experience in International Relations. Beyond my current writing roles, I’ve been endeavouring to learn about international issues including sustainability. As part of this, I visited Brussels this summer on a sustainability project with Pagoda Projects. This involved one week of carbon literacy training and 5 days in Brussels to learn what businesses are doing to be more sustainable and the EU parliament to discover what is being done in the way of improving sustainability efforts across Europe. To conclude the trip, we conducted a presentation on our recommendations for our chosen companies to become more sustainable. Now, I am eager to gain more insight into the professional world of International Relations.

Looking forward

I’m enjoying my modules in my final year and am looking forward to the prospect of graduating and working out my role in International Relations as a graduate.