I grew up in Manchester and came to the University in 2004 to study BA Politics. I graduated in 2007 and spent a couple of years working in Leeds as the manager of a bookshop, after which I went travelling around Asia and Eastern Europe before returning to start my MA in Conflict, Development and Security.
Why I chose POLIS
The University has a great reputation and the Politics course in POLIS particularly appealed to me because of its wide diversity of modules and large focus on development and international politics. After visiting the University I was impressed by the enthusiasm of the staff I met and the facilities available…especially the libraries!
I have always been a very sociable person and having grown up in a big city like Manchester I knew that I wanted to study in a similarly large city with lots going on. Leeds has a brilliant nightlife, restaurants, theatres, music venues and bars which I felt were important in ensuring that my overall experience of university life was a well rounded one.
For me, Leeds represented the perfect combination of an excellent quality learning environment coupled with an active social life and opportunities for extra curricula activities which I deemed important in ensuring an enjoyable and balanced experience. I enjoyed the experience of my BA so much, loved living in Leeds and was so impressed with the department that I chose to return to complete my postgraduate programme.
My time in Leeds
My experience of the University was both very enjoyable and very educational. My MA in particular really helped me to focus my learning on those aspects of development that I was particularly interested in and I felt that all the modules as a whole complemented each other really well.
For me, meeting such a diverse range of people from different backgrounds, cultures and nationalities was one of the most enjoyable aspects of university life. Leeds has such a wide range of students from all over the world and the UK and I am now lucky to have a wide variety of really good friends. This is especially lucky if like me you like to travel a lot as I have lots of places stop of and visit people!
I also loved the whole experience of learning in the university environment. The way the modules are structured at POLIS means that there is a lot of independent learning and in turn lots of scope for following your own interest within the modules and especially in your dissertation. I loved having the freedom to work in this way, whilst still having the support of lecturers and in particular my brilliant dissertation tutor, Dr Jelke Boesten when I needed it.
Studying my MA has really helped me to work out what my core interests are and really find aspects of politics and development that I am passionate about and eager to continue to learn more about. Both my BA and MA provided me with a broad knowledge of general development issues and the politics and development of various countries.
I feel studying for my MA in particular really taught me how to research thoroughly and honed my writing skills. The practice of writing essays and dissertations at POLIS and the feedback I have been given by tutors really taught me how to write and argue convincingly and in a structured manner, which has in turn helped me immensely in my research and report writing role at Seva Mandir.
Whilst at Leeds studying for my MA I applied for a 5 month internship with the British NGO Development in Action (DIA) and was accepted as intern to a researcher in the Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation unit of one of DIA’s partner organisations, Seva Mandir in Udaipur, India.
Development in Action is a youth led organisation aimed at promoting development education and global citizenship. The aim of my placement in India is to give me adequate experience of living and working in a developing country so that on my return to the UK, I will be able to contribute and be involved in the organisations work in promoting development issues to school age children in the UK.
As part of my placement I am designing workshops for young people in the UK to promote issues facing people living in the developing world. After my placement I am hoping to join Development in Action's UK committee to help with the running of the organisation.
My long term career objective is to start a PhD the September after next, focusing on some area of gender and conflict. Studying at Leeds has undoubtedly helped me to decide that a wish to pursue a career in academia. The support and encouragement I was given from academic staff, the scope of subjects I was able to study at Leeds and the overall academic experience all contributed to this.