Why did you choose your course at the University of Birmingham?

The University of Birmingham offered me the chance to be part of a vibrant research community, to meet a lot of people thanks to dedicated events for research students and be part of a couple of societies. As the university hosts so many students from all over the world it is very easy for one to integrate themselves, find their own space and feel part of a community. The career advice on offer is exceptional and I have really benefited from their postgraduate-dedicated events and public talks. I believe that my course offers me great opportunities in regard to my professional goals and I have been lucky to have the support of my supervisors and other staff members of my department.

What were you doing before you started your course?

I completed a BScEcons double degree in Politics between the UK and France. My interest for the study of politics and my motivation to improve my employability incited me to enrol on a MRes course in the UK in Security, Conflict and Human Rights.

What piece of advice would you give to anyone considering postgraduate study in your field?

I believe that the discipline of Politics and International Relations is one of the most fascinating and exciting study areas as it is an always-changing field. In order for one to really get that critical-thinking edge and detailed insight in different theories and methodological aspects, postgraduate studies seem indispensable to me. I believe that enrolling at a postgraduate programme is a fantastic opportunity for everyone who is interested in getting an in-depth insight in one particular area, gaining valuable personal and academic skills as well as discovering about a broader spectrum of job-related opportunities. In my experience, I also gained more confidence in myself and felt more comfortable expressing my thoughts and ideas. Completing a master’s dissertation, for instance, feels so personally rewarding!

What, for you, are the best things about the course?

I enjoy the fact that I am part of a multidisciplinary research team and that I could learn so much from people who have more experience than me or are even experts in their field. Each month we have workshops focusing on different aspects of our research project and I find this particularly engaging and insightful. I can also benefit from the knowledge and expertise of two supervisors who look after my progress and help me plan ahead. I can turn to them for advice and guidance but I also have a sense of independence when it comes to deciding the specific topics of interest for my own research. I believe it is fantastic that the University of Birmingham has so many PhD students working on different areas and the fact that we can exchange ideas through various common activities such as lightening talks, conferences and coffee mornings. I am optimistic that they will be even more opportunities for PhD students like me to get to know fellow students once the pandemic is over and we can join more face-to-face events.

What was your motivation for undertaking postgraduate study?

I have always been passionate about learning and being in an academic environment. I find it a personally stimulating and enriching experience. During the very first month at my Master of Research programme at another university, I felt that the area of research is where I want to be and where I feel happiest. When I found about the PhD opportunity offered by the University of Birmingham, I did not hesitate to apply and I was very happy when I was finally selected. I love being part of a research team and learning from others who have more knowledge and experience than me. The opportunity to move to a big and diverse city with lots of potential like Birmingham was also highly appealing for me and I am happy with my choice.