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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school


Claudia Gemmel

Claudia Gemmel
Claudia Gemmel
MSc International and European Politics
Doing Now
Studying in Paris

Why did you decide to do the IEP degree?

I have always been interested in the European Union and international relations. I chose my MSc at the University of Edinburgh because I wanted to get a specialisation in the area that interests me most, at a university that offers academic excellence.

After I had done research on the programme, I noticed that it is the best place in the UK to get this specialisation on European affairs, not least because the Europa Institute is also situated in Edinburgh. When I started the MSc at Edinburgh, I knew I made the right decision because our professors are more than experts in their fields. It was an honour to be taught by professors who are involved in the work of governmental bodies and institutions. Thanks to the Europa Institute and the people organising it, we had the option to attend regularly interesting (free) lectures on current issues within the field of EU and international affairs, which were either held by professionals or by guest lecturers from other universities. The MSc at Edinburgh was certainly the right decision.

What were your best memories?

Everyone who has been a student will agree that your time at university allows you to collect plenty of good memories. So here are a couple:

The best thing about studying at a prestigious university like Edinburgh, besides the great academic experience you become part of, is the international environment in which you get to live and study, and of course, the many friendly professors you will meet. Everyone in our department was always willing to help. Studying with people from different parts of the world is an experience for itself, and also in class, it was great to have this cultural diversity, as it nourished interesting discussions and broadened our perspectives on particular subjects.

In terms of the social life, I remember the week before the beginning of term when our department organised events to meet fellow students. One of the best was the Ceilidh evening, a typical Scottish dance evening. Throughout the year, there were more events to come portraying Scotland’s culture, and it was always a great pleasure to be part of it.

In terms of the degree itself, my best memory belongs to our Brussels trip. We had been studying IR and EU politics for nearly three quarters of the year and finally we were to visit the institutions in Brussels and to smell a bit of EU air. We were all pretty excited, and had a splendid time exploring the city of Brussels together.   

What is it that you do now and did the degree help in your career path?

After finishing my MSc I continued with my French studies because it is important within the field of European Union Politics and Law.  

How did you like Edinburgh as a city?

Edinburgh is surrounded by a beautiful landscape and the city itself presents a stunning architecture from the olden times. I liked this in particular, as it reminded me of home and continental Europe where I grew up. Even though Edinburgh is not the biggest city, it is a dynamic place with many things do, it is not without reason called “Scotland’s cultural capital”. The university, libraries, cultural attractions and the shopping mile are all in reachable distance. Apart from the many festivals that you find there throughout the year, there are many nice spots like Arthur’s seat, Princes Street Gardens, and the Meadows, which become a great place to study once the sun comes out again. I was pleased to discover that it rains less in Edinburgh then it does in Wales that was at least the case during the year I was there.