As a resident of rural Northumberland I spent most of my childhood and adolescence on a family farm owned by my parents. After completing my A-levels at the local secondary school I took the opportunity to spend a year abroad in Uganda doing voluntary teaching at a non-profit primary and secondary school. Here I taught English to secondary school students before leaving to come to the University of Leeds.
Why I chose International Relations at Leeds
The study of International relations has probably nearly always been of great interest to me even if I didn’t know how to term it at a time. After spending some time looking through my options on UCAS, I noticed International Development and decided that it was a natural progression after my year abroad. Deciding to study in Leeds was largely due to the course content being more suited to me compared to other universities, the social life in Leeds, and having received a warm reception on the open day. My passion for the subject area is probably due to the travelling I’ve done throughout my life which has given me a great interest in the workings and ‘relations’ of other countries. Also, the magnitude of what is being discussed in my course makes it quite interesting to me. Not just in the way that it’s important to everyone, but also that we’re talking politics on the grandest scale possible.
My course, learning facilities and School support
The course so far has been great. I forget how much I’ve learnt until I start thinking about it, and realise that I have absorbed quite a lot of information and improved many skills. Once again I’d say that it’s absolutely great, although it’ll all look very different soon. There’s an abundance of study space in the libraries and computer clusters (not to mention the fact that a new library is being opened which looks like it’s going to be pretty fancy). The Social Sciences Building is also getting totally refurbished so if the facilities have been good for me they’re going to be pretty spectacular for future students. Student support in so far as I’m aware has been pretty good. You have your personal tutor to go to if times get rough but I’ve found that almost any member of staff or student representative are more than willing to help you out.
Outside of studying
There is a stupendous amount of stuff to get involved with. So far I’ve managed to get involved in the mountaineering (climbing) society, which has been absolutely amazing. As I said, there is a huge scope for things to do here. I’m generally bombarded with things that I could go to on any night of the week whether it be music, a talk, a film or a social get together. The challenge really is thinking of when to do things as opposed to what to do if you get yourself involved.
Leeds as a city
Leeds is perfect for students. It’s nowhere near as massive and difficult (as well as expensive) to travel around as other cities in the UK. Having said that, it has easily enough big nights and gigs going on to keep you satisfied whatever you’re into. Whether it’s Indie or Dance, there’s loads of it. Aside from that, it’s generally quite pretty and the centre hosts a vast array of shops and places to get a quiet drink, coffee, or bite to eat.
My career aspirations
I'm very unsure at the moment about what to do for a career, but that certainly isn’t a result of lack of choice or advise from the university. I’m just not sure myself, and a Masters course at Leeds is starting to look very appealing.
My advice to prospective students
Obviously everyone’s different but if you’re sure you’re into development, politics, and international relations then this is the course and the place to do it in my opinion. At least I’m very happy with it.