Being a Politics and International Relations Student
Written by Salma Ghandour – Politics and International Relations Student
It feels like just yesterday I stepped foot into a lecture hall for the first time!
As an international student traveling to Manchester for the first time, it was very daunting. The Politics and International Relations course here at the University of Manchester has a great reputation, and I knew I was going to be engaging with a course that is of academic quality in a vibrant student city. I ultimately chose to study Politics and International Relations at Manchester because of the opportunities that it would bring, and I was excited to engage with the course content in a lively political city. Manchester is an industrial city, and it is where the Suffragette movement was born! I was worried at first that I wouldn’t be knowledgeable about British Politics as an overseas student, but that was a concern I quickly overcame. It’s natural to be more knowledgeable about certain subjects than others and there is a lot of academic support available. The students at the university and on the course are a diverse group, and our discussions bring to light interesting perspectives.
As a final year student, there are many courses I have enjoyed! Looking back at them now, I’ve learned so much since becoming a university student. In my first year, I was captivated by the ‘Introduction to International Relations’ module, I was starting to grasp the different aspects of global politics. It was also the first time I engaged with Political Theory, understanding political ideology and the key thinkers in the realm of politics.
The module titled ‘Making Sense of Politics’ introduced me to the principles driving empirical research in political science, and though I was intimidated at first, I can now understand different methods of research to address real questions in the study of Politics. In my second year, I had spent it remotely due to the unprecedented COVID circumstances. The year of the pandemic was undeniably difficult, and despite that, I felt supported by the academic staff in the course modules, my lectures, and tutorials. In my ‘Ideals of Social Justice’ module, the course explored incredibly thought-provoking questions that I found myself bringing up in discussions with my friends outside of the academic environment. For example, I had enriching conversations on the ethics of designer babies, or the rights to parent. I also started getting comfortable with my research skills through the ‘How to Conduct Politics Research’ module. In my current year, I can dive into the subjects I am most interested in, some of my favourites are ‘Intersectional Political Economy’ and ‘Ethical Issues in World Politics’.
When I applied to study Politics and International Relations, what immediately appealed to me is the variety of topics I would be engaging with. I can honestly say that my experience with the modules I took did not disappoint! There are so many other course options and different paths I could have taken, and I am very glad to have chosen Politics and International Relations here at the University of Manchester. For me, it wasn’t about studying Politics in a strictly traditional sense, or International Relations through a textbook, it was about engaging with interesting topics that are evolving and adaptive to current events.