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What does it mean to be truly international?

Being ‘truly international’ isn’t about the number of languages you can speak, or how many stamps there are in your passport. With regards to education, being international is about opening your mindset to a broader way of thinking. As we become more global, both as individuals and as communities, we begin to look at issues differently, and topics such as politics, international relations, and international development become increasingly relevant.

By building your study around these interrelated subjects, you’re opening your world to pressing global affairs where you can make an impact. By having knowledge of what’s going on in the world today, you’re able to challenge and question such issues in today’s society, from a political, developmental and international relations perspective – and with this knowledge and critical approach comes the ability to make a change.

According to a recent report made by Care International, the reality of universal concerns became clear when they released the 10 most under-reported humanitarian crises of 2017. As the organisation states, the report is “a call for the global community to help and to advocate for people in crises who are otherwise forgotten.”  By studying within the field of politics and international studies you will appreciate how such development issues are also impacted and influenced by politics and international relations, and with this knowledge, you can give a voice to those who are “otherwise forgotten”.

We’re lucky to live in a technological era where real-world problems and prime topics can be brought to light with the simple click of a button. This year, especially, many political and economic issues have shaken up social media. There was the rise of Brexit, the presidency of Trump and the heated relations between North Korea and the US. With the aid of online publications, these matters were brought to light and helped to illuminate the everyday impact that politics, international relations and international development has on the world.

And so, to be truly international is to harness global insights and perspectives to tackle global issues. By using your education to diminish major problems, you’re improving your personal skillset as well as those of others.

That’s how the School of Politics and International Studies (POLIS) at the University of Leeds tackles the challenge, by producing globally-conscious graduates with the potential to exert international influence. Ranked within the UK Top 10 for student experience (The Times and the Sunday Times Good University Guide, 2018) and the 5th most targeted university in the UK by graduate recruiters – it’s clear that Leeds is a popular choice among students and recruiters alike.

Understanding International Development

In the midst of the digital age, securing a Bachelor’s degree in International Development brings an everlasting pool of knowledge. This subject primarily focuses how countries develop and deal with challenges such as inequality, economic growth, social development and poverty reduction.

Taught through a mix of lectures, seminars and workshops, this course at the University of Leeds enables you to understand just how important development is and how you can effectively help to improve critical issues that are holding countries back from global advancement.

Plus, driven by the expertise of the School’s international staff members who have previously advised national governments, NGOs and transnational organisations, here, today’s global challenges are thoroughly discussed. There’s even the incredible chance for students to pursue a year abroad in addition to a semester abroad, – something which is exclusive to this programme. Nothing beats first-hand experience in the world of international development!

Pursuing Politics

This particular field of study flies straight into all forms of politics; from national to international debates, political structures and the psychology of politics. The BA Politics course takes a different turn from the usual degree framework since it promotes a Parliamentary Studies Pathway. At the end of your first year, you’ll get the chance to apply for an exclusive spot on the programme. If successful, your third year may consist of an amazing placement with an official constituency office or alongside a Westminster MP. Throughout your degree, you’ll also have the opportunity to discuss topics such as spin doctors, security, US politics and the politics of China.

As BA Politics student, Annie-Rose Peterman, states, “I’ve studied the politics of national identity, crisis diplomacy, British foreign policy and political philosophy. They’ve helped me to better understand today’s big political issues. Throughout my placement year I worked in Westminster for a high profile member of the Shadow Cabinet during the EU referendum, which meant that it often felt like I was watching history being made.”

Introducing International Relations

Unlike other subjects, the BA International Relations degree focuses on the relations between different countries, touching on the political dynamics that influence interstate cooperation and the roles of international organisations such as the UN in promoting international peace and security. Its multidisciplinary approach enables students to understand the social and political dilemmas that the international environment currently faces.

As BA International Relations student, Georgia Ellis, explains “I absolutely love my course due to its continuing relevance and evolving nature. For instance, my EU module reflects on the implications of Brexit and the US Politics module analysing the Presidency of Trump so far. I have particularly enjoyed studying specifically international relations modules which focus on lenses through which we analyse the world.”

Much like the other course structures, here there’s the chance to gain rewarding and international exposure by studying abroad. Or, if you wish to continue your studies, then you’ll be pleased to know that there are postgraduate programmes on offer in Global Development, International Relations and Security and Politics.

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