Can you tell us a bit about yourself, your background etc?
I now live in Bristol but am originally from Oxford. I went to a boarding school for ten years before Leeds. I love cricket. That's basically it.
What made you want to apply to your course and to POLIS?
My politics teacher at school recommended the Politics and Parliamentary Studies course to me. He had had a student a few years previous get onto it and had heard good things so I had a look at the brochure and other information and decided to go for it. I remember coming up for the interview with Dr. Ed Gouge on a boiling summer's day, sweating profusely in a suit and arriving to see everyone else dressed in shorts and flip-flops. I had a wander round and got a really good vibe from the University and POLIS. From then on I knew this was my first choice if they accepted me, which luckily they did!
What do you think of your course – How did it match your expectations?
Obviously the key feature of the PPS course is the third year placement in Washington DC and the House of Commons in London. America was a fantastic experience but the London half of the year far exceeded my expectations – I worked closely with my MP from day one with loads of contact and insight into his work, plus living in London was obviously a lot of fun.
What did you gain from your work placement in America?
The general experience of living and working in America for four months was an interesting one. We may share a common tongue but there are significant differences between our two cultures. Perhaps the most exciting thing I was involved in was the 2006 Midterms where President Bush got a real wake up call as to his unpopularity, if he didn't know already.
What have you enjoyed most about the course?
Apart from the second half of my year out, the highlight of my time at POLIS was the other students I met there. The course was obviously stimulating but the coming together of all these different people from different backgrounds with different points of view meant post-Seminar drinks were a lively affair.
What would you say about the facilities in the School and at the University in general?
I would say the facilities at Leeds University in general are decent but could certainly be improved. Take the Edward Boyle Library for instance - packed full of fantastic resources but a hot, sticky, uncomfortable place to work. POLIS itself has good facilities however, particularly the lift round the back which saves climbing four flights of stairs.
What would you say to anyone thinking of applying to your course?
Do it and get involved if you make it to Leeds. I would also say that if you can, save some money for the placement year because LEA's are not the most helpful in supporting you through it.
Tell us about your favourite lecturer
I have two favourite lecturers – Professor Kevin Theakston and Dr. Stuart McAnulla for different reasons. By far and away the most enjoyable module I did at Leeds was Professor Theakston's Prime Ministers and British Politics in the third year. I just found it so interesting – the man is literally a walking encyclopaedia of interesting tit bits and stories about former prime ministers and I used to really enjoy going along to his seminars. On the other hand, Dr. McAnulla is a favourite of mine because he helped me massively with my dissertation in the final year. I think I must have come and seen him at least twenty times and he always made time for me. For that I am very grateful indeed.
Is there anything you would change about POLIS?
Not really, apart from getting them to put more politics books in the library because there always seems to be a shortage of the main texts when essay deadlines are looming.
Is there any advice you would like to share with your future POLIS students?
Just enjoy it!