Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Politics and International Studies

Fraser Buffini

MA European Politics: Defence and Security Analysis | 2007 - 2008

Photo of Fraser Buffini

I chose to study at Leeds due to the degree programmes on offer. It gave me a chance to further my interest in European Politics and specialise in the defence and security side of things. The variety of optional modules on offer was very attractive, and gave me the opportunity to "tailor-make" my studies. Also, I was already familiar with the extremely professional staff at POLIS after having completed my undergraduate degree in the School and was extremely happy to continue to work with them.

I found the course itself extremely interesting. The debates that took place were extremely rigorous and mature in an intellectual disciplinary sense, exploring deep and complex issues particularly related to my specialisation of European defence and security. I really enjoyed grappling with the complexities of European defence and security issues. I found researching for my assessments often quite fascinating. The debates that took place during the seminars were very lively. I also very much liked the assessment format. Not being constantly assessed throughout the semester allowed me to spend more time developing a deeper understanding of my chosen topics.

I particularly liked Dr Neil Winn's modules. Extremely professional and always able to give time to discuss any issues, he was a very strong force in guiding me through the University system. During seminars, debates were never allowed to stray too far from the point, which I particularly appreciated. A few bits of dry wit thrown in for good measure and an impressive understanding and knowledge of his fields. I must also mention Dr Nick Robinson, Professor Christoph Bluth, and Dr Simon Lightfoot, who all gave very good seminars.

The facilities at the University are quite simply excellent. One can get lost in the libraries. The wealth of resources is extremely useful and access to the myriad of online journals is something that I am sorely missing at the moment. The 24-hour clusters are excellent if you need to get away from your accommodation to do some late work. All the other general facilities are excellent.

To anyone thinking of applying to the MA European Politics: Defence and Security Analysis course if this is a field you are particularly interested in, do it. You will learn a great deal from this course and should you chose to pursue a career in this area, you will be very well equipped. These days, a Masters degree has become a more desirable qualification for employers, especially in this field. Aside from that, you will be blessed with some excellent lecturers, great facilities, a truly engaging course and a wonderful city.

I found the student-driven economy of Leeds ensures that there is something provided for everyone. The student areas have a great vibe and a really friendly and welcoming atmosphere. Accommodation is good value, there is lots to see in the surrounding areas of Leeds. When I first arrived in Leeds there was a Premiership football team to watch, sadly that is no longer the case! However, with Leeds being a leading location for rugby and cricket, there is still plenty of sport to keep you entertained.

In my spare time I like to go hiking (avoiding landmines), snowboarding, enjoying the sun, reading the Economist, drinking Turkish coffee, producing and writing music, learning languages and watching football games.

The course has helped my career immensely. I am now interning with the Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) in Europe's Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina. I hear I was chosen over the other candidates very much due to my MA degree. The work done here encompasses so much of what I studied. Post-conflict reconstruction, security-related norm building and confidence building measures entail a large part of the Mission's work. It is very rewarding to be at the heart of the international community here, attending parliamentary sessions, conferences, speeches from world leaders and being engaged in a great deal of the work.

Without the course I studied I would not have developed such a useful critical ability and have such a well informed understanding of the situation here.

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