I have lived in Faversham, Kent all of my life. I went to Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School and for my A Levels studied Government and Politics, English Literature, Geography and General Studies. I am currently working at the London Borough of Bexley as part of the National Graduate Development Programme, a two year scheme to develop management and leadership skills in local government. A lot of my spare time is spent rehearsing, playing and recording with the folk rock band Green Diesel.
Why I chose Interational Relations at Leeds
I wanted to study in the area of politics because it was a subject I particularly enjoyed at A level and is an area I’m passionate about. I enjoy discussing the big issues of the day and complicated problems to try and better understand the world. International Relations gave me a good mix of politics, history, geography, philosophy and economics, without getting too drawn into political systems and parties as studying Politics may have done.
I chose Leeds because the course was varied and covered a wide range of areas, with plenty of choice to follow my particular areas of interest. The opportunity to study abroad also appealed to me, although it’s not something I immediately thought I would do.
I really like the city and the university as a whole, particularly its location as a campus university within walking distance of the city centre and the bustling students union and city night life. I wanted to live in a new place that was different to the town I grew up in, and Leeds seemed like a great choice.
The course was really stimulating and gave me a lot of freedom to explore the areas that interested me. Throughout the course there was a lot of freedom to choose which modules to take, often crossing over with other degree courses which gave an extra depth to seminar discussions as people brought different things to the discussion.
One of the highlights of my course was the opportunity to study abroad. I chose to spend a year at the University of Western Ontario, Canada which gave me the chance to explore further areas of academia approached from a different perspective as well as a chance to travel, meet people and have a lot of fun.
The skills that I’ve developed such as clear and analytical writing, research and presenting have set me in good stead for my working life. Studying abroad has increased my independence and confidence.
I undertook a 3 week internship at Leeds City Council which was organised by the Careers Centre for POLIS students, and this gave me the essential work experience I needed which I think directly impacted on my ability to get a job after graduating.
I had a really positive university experience, both academically and socially.
Facilities and Student Support
The university facilities were good, particularly the student union which formed a welcoming and homely hub to the campus. With everything in one place on a central campus there was a real community feeling. The new sports centre which was built while I was studying abroad was impressive to come back to, and the libraries provide a comfortable and relaxed environment to study in.
I always found that staff were available and willing to help when asked. Staff are knowledgeable and passionate about their subject, and really enthuse their students in their areas of study. Particularly in the run up to assignments they were on hand to offer guidance and advice on essays. My dissertation tutor was especially supportive, encouraging and inspiring.
Leeds as a city
Leeds is a great city to be a student in. There’s always loads going on - nightlife, cultural events, shopping and opportunities to escape to the countryside for some outdoor fun. Its small enough that you feel you can get to know it, and walk places rather than rely on public transport, but still big enough to have a real city feel and a really varied offer of activities.
My experiences at Leeds put me in a great position to get a job which I started in the September after I graduated. By enthusing me with the desire to keep learning, my time at Leeds has made sure I keep trying to learn and develop my skills as I go through life.
My current role
I am currently working at the London Borough of Bexley as a National Management Trainee on the National Graduate Development Programme. Over the course of two years, I undertake four six month placements in different departments, as well as completing a management qualification.
My plans for the future are still vague but I would like to continue to work in the public sector to improve the public services on offer and make people’s lives better.
Advice for current students
Make the most of the careers service! Through attending presentations, talks and using their website I not only found the graduate scheme that was perfect more me but was able to secure the work experience that greatly improved my chances of getting on to the scheme.