Hello! My name is Salman and I am a second year Politics with International Relations student and I will be sharing the broad range of activities that you can engage in 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, with numerous guest speakers attending to discuss their research or events organised by the York Politics Society 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 be in this area. Whether you’re interested in development politics or political theory, the plethora of modules available across the degree will allow you study closely any interests you currently have or develop through the course.
Seminars are one of my favourite components of my course, where we are typically assigned readings to expand on the topics discussed in the lecture but these always are 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 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 and it definitely had led to many students reconsidering the standpoint on the issue on the basis of personal experiences.
The expertise of academic staff is immediately visible across the course, with many of my lecturers publishing research in internationally acclaimed journals and their own books, which always prove 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, which was a great way to understand international relations and diplomatic relations from what I had studied in my degree as well as helping 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, which 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 which I was able to successfully apply to and have subsequently acted as a campus ambassador.
Being able to look back on that, I have been able to build a substantial network across students and staff because of how widespread the skills and interests that Politics fosters are. That’s the other great thing about studying Politics, where 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.
Through these opportunities I was able to apply for the York Bronze Award which 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 into allowing me to travel to numerous companies across the UK and attend conferences which have been a great way to network with people in industry and pursue internship programmes. This programme has also left me immensely passionate of returning the favour in the future and 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 which my degree has certainly help make me aware of and has 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!