Hello! My name is Salman and I am a second year Politics with International Relations student. In this blog, I will share the broad range of activities that you can engage with as a student at the University of York.
With a subject that is never settled, it is always an exciting time to be studying Politics, whether it’s the evolving relationships with the European Union or the economic transformation of the BRICS countries. Another significant attraction for me was the vibrant political scene offered at York. Numerous guest speakers attend to discuss their research and the York Politics Society organise events bringing in numerous MPs for wide and open conversations.
Throughout my first and second year study of Politics, I have really enjoyed the way in which you can tailor the course to your areas of interest through module choices which cover all domains of politics in great depth.
In my case, I found myself to be really interested in International Political Economy and this fuelled my second year choices in this area. Whether you’re interested in development politics or political theory, the plethora of modules available across the degree will allow you to study closely any interests you currently have or develop through the course.
Seminars are one of my favourite components of my course. We are typically assigned readings to expand on the topics discussed in the lecture but these are always allowed to be student led. If debate arises (which I assure you is always the case!) then the seminar tutors are always happy to let that occur and often jump in as well which makes for a great way to learn. I have found that this a great way to understand the variety of opinions that exist, and better comprehend the importance of considering all the viewpoints on a particular topic, no matter how contentious. Just last week, we had a very heated discussion surrounding austerity. This definitely led to many students reconsidering their standpoint on the issue on the basis of personal experiences.
The expertise of academic staff is immediately visible across the course. Many of my lecturers publish research in internationally acclaimed journals and their own books. This always proves useful in getting a better grasp of the subject and staying ahead of all the latest developments in the world.
As mentioned before, one big interest was the various extra-curricular activities that York has to offer alongside your course through societies and course activities. In my first year, I joined the Model United Nations at York. This was a great way to understand international relations and diplomatic relations from what I had studied in my degree. Plus, it helped me develop my own research and public speaking skills in the York conference as a delegate of the United Arab Emirates.
Another service that I have found incredibly useful in my time at York so far has been the tailored support provided by the Careers and Placements team. They have really assisted me in identifying what kind of career opportunities I would like to pursue. In my first year, a public sector careers panel was hosted which I thought my political interests could be suited to. Through this, I identified an opportunity with the Civil Service. I was able to successfully apply and have subsequently acted as a campus ambassador.
Looking back on that, I have been able to build a substantial network across students and staff because of how widespread the skills and interests in Politics are. That’s the other great thing about studying Politics: you are able to expand your professional and social circles through casual engagements in your own interests like societies and sports, which will always prove useful in later endeavours.
York Futures Scholarship
Through these opportunities, I was able to apply for the York Award. This is awarded for being able to demonstrate employability skills. This led onto receiving the York Futures Scholarship which helps develop employability through exclusive insight opportunities with a variety of employers. The financial award has also gone a long way by allowing me to travel to numerous companies across the UK and attend conferences. These have been a great way to network with people in the industry and pursue internship programmes.
This programme has also left me immensely passionate about returning the favour in the future. I look forward to helping out in the upcoming Equal Opportunities Award that has been supported by the YuOpportunities team!
So there you have it, studying at York will open you up to an array of opportunities that you may have already planned to engage in already or even equip you to establish yourself!
I have found myself exposed to an infinite number of exciting and interesting societies and programmes. They have really helped make me acutely aware of a broader range of opinions than when I had initially arrived. I’m sure you’ll find the same for yourself and that I have helped highlight just a taste of what York has to offer!