MSc Theory and History of International Relations (2020/21)
Why did you choose LSE?
I did my undergraduate degree at the University of London and my modules were designed by the LSE so I was familiar with the structure of courses and assessment systems. Naturally, it made sense to me to look into the institution for higher education. When I was applying for my master’s, I also noticed it was the only high-ranking university that offered a degree situated in two departments i.e. the department of International Relations and the department of International History which was an exciting prospect as it meant I would have more choice when it came to course selection and an opportunity for the degree to be tailored to my own specific research interests.
What did you do before you started your master’s?
I worked as an undergraduate tutor at my alma mater for a year and then went on to do a traineeship at the EU for 9 months where I learnt a lot about refugee and migration policy. I also did voluntary work with Extinction Rebellion UK, including climate activism and briefly interned at an NGO in Lahore called the Centre for Economic Research in Pakistan, which is affiliated with the Harvard-Kennedy School.
What can you say about your academic growth at LSE?
Well, I’ve definitely been challenged more than I expected. From an intellectual standpoint, I jumped into a history degree with no prior experience in the subject, so I’ve been able to develop new academic skills such as identifying historiographical patterns in articles and incorporating historiography into my essays. Additionally, I think the discussion-based seminars have really helped shape my research interests in the sense that I can now see myself as being able to identify and appreciate specific aspects of the scholarship and situate my own views within the work of others, so I find there is now a more mature approach to my analysis of academic texts.
What’s it like living in London? Where’s your favourite place to eat/visit?
I’m in London right now, and I’m pretty sure I’m not being biased when I say living here is a dream. Of course, the pandemic has made exploring difficult but there is still so much to do, even if it’s just walking around at night especially during the holiday season when everything seems so magical and festive. I have way too many favourite places to list but currently I love walking to St. Paul’s Cathedral. It’s not far from campus and is so pretty at night – the courtyard is perfect to unwind and relax in. I tend to stop at Covent Garden on my way to grab something to eat; there are some cosy cafes tucked away that are always fun to find, Nutshell being a new favourite discovery. I also really like going to Portobello Market and browsing through the vintage shops – you never know what goodies you’ll find especially on a student budget!
Do you have any advice for future LSE master’s students?
Don’t be intimidated by the reading lists! They can seem long and dreadful but if you genuinely enjoy the course, it isn’t as scary as it seems, especially if you make a conscious effort to stay on top of it. Also, be sure to talk to your professors if you are struggling. One thing I love about LSE is how accessible and willing to help the faculty is, especially your academic advisor who will always talk you through your concerns. Lastly, reach out to your class fellows and make friends because you’ll need a support system to unwind with when the workload seems too heavy and you need a bit of fun!