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My Practicum experience

Shelley Griffin

MA International Relations, 2016Practicum MA International Relations

Shelley Griffin participated in the Practicum in International Organisations module as part of her master's degree in International Relations. She has spent six months working for the international migrant observatory, MOAS (Migrant Offshore Aid Station) in Malta, an organisation that has become pivotal in rescuing migrants making treacherous journeys across the Mediterranean and Aegean sea.

Shelley talks to us about why her work at MOAS inspired her to go outside her comfort zone and how the experience brought her studies at Middlesex to life.

What did your work at MOAS involve, and what did you most enjoy about it?
My work involved working with the fundraising and public relations teams; bringing awareness to the work of MOAS.

Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) is an organisation that rescues migrants off the Mediterranean Sea. A lot of the work they do, therefore, is working with other organisations to organise these rescue missions.

In terms of fundraising, I was involved in the Siliema Arts Festival, which was a great opportunity to publicly broadcast the work of MOAS. The work I carried out in public relations involved filtering media houses and journalists and writing and editing press releases.

It was amazing knowing that my efforts and contributions, although they seemed small at the time, were directly contributing to giving migrants a greater chance of a normal and safe life.

How has the experience supported your studies at Middlesex University?
International Relations is the study of how international organizations, both governmental and non-governmental, inter-relate. This experience has given me a glimpse into the day-to-day life of a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) and has brought my studies to life.

How has the Practicum helped you in terms of preparing you for life beyond your studies?
This experience has made me more confident because I was placed in an environment that I was not used to and was able to recognise and harness my inner strength, not just as a person but particularly as a black woman. Working for MOAS reminded me that growth comes from moving beyond your comfort zone.

What are your plans now you are nearing the end of your course?
Wow!!! Nearing the end of my course already! I would like to put my degree to work and apply to organisations that will benefit from my excellent tuition here at Middlesex University. I would like to apply for positions at consulates, the United Nations and the International Development Bank. Ultimately, however, I would like to work with a social advocacy organization such as The Salvation Army Social Justice Commission.

What advice would you give to students considering studying MA International Relations?
My advice would be to do it! Middlesex University not only gives you the resources, opportunities and support academically but also they go above and beyond to make sure that as an individual you reach your full potential.

As a collective body, the university is so diverse — so much so that your classroom experience will reflect that of a United Nations conference!  The MA in International Relations is structured in a way that students from a variety of subject backgrounds can recognise what their niche is and focus on that area of study.

The modules are straight forward and very clear, allowing for wide reading and clear understanding of the material. With opportunities such as the Practicum and other placements available throughout the year, your experience here will definitely equip you with the tools needed for the professional world.

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