I had completed my undergraduate degree in the United States and had spent time studying in London before that. I wanted to gain a different International Relations perspective by undertaking my postgraduate study in London as each country has a different perspective.
I researched Middlesex University and the professors and I liked the fact that there was the opportunity to gain work experience while studying the course.
I knew I wanted to work in International Relations so it was always going to be the course I chose for my masters degree.
I really liked the diversity of students and the different perspectives they bought to the classes. For me as a U.S. citizen it was interesting to hear what people from other countries felt about U.S. foreign policy. You don't get that sort of experience from a book.
Spending hours working on my dissertation! I also developed a lot of good relationships with people from all over the world and have remained in touch with them, so this is a good memory too.
Go to university with a positive attitude and spend time working out what you really want to do with your career. Additionally, developing a good rapport with your professors is really helpful.
My degree enabled me to gain more insight into the field of International Relations and improve my time management skills. Additionally, the work experience I undertook during my time in London played a major role in me securing my current job.
In light of globalisation, it is one of the broadest and most relevant fields of study you can undertake. I really enjoy learning about how the world works form different perspectives and how you can influence global thinking.
I think the pros are that you get to learn about other countries and their regulatory regimes, learn new languages and meet people from different cultures. The main con is that it is quite a vague area of study, unlike say Economics or Law, so it isn't necessarily clear what field or career area you will end up in.
In terms of my work experience while in the UK, I spoke to the employability services team at Middlesex and they helped me write my CV as stylistically, the format is very different to that in the U.S. I also used a few of the resources while there to research job opportunities. I ended up spending about three to four months working on a campaign as a result and then about six months working for a consultancy. I was going to continue at the consultancy but with the new visa restrictions implemented in the UK this wasn't possible so I returned to the U.S. I now work in Washington D.C. but I wouldn't have got this job without the work experience I gained in London.
I am still only in the early days of my career so I would say the highlight for me is I get to work for an international development agency, so an area that is directly related to what I studied. I also get to use the Spanish I have learnt and travel.
I would like to work for a political risk organisation or financial regulatory body five years from now. It would also be great to spend time working again in London again or in the EU.
I really suggest getting internships, even if unpaid. Experience is crucial and it all works out financially in the long run if you invest time in internships.