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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school


Kelly Soderstrom

Kelly Soderstrom
Kelly Soderstrom
Colorado, USA
MSc International and European politics
Doing Now

My name is Kelly Soderstrom. I grew up in Boulder, Colorado in the US and studied for a BA in International Relations at Carleton College in Minnesota. After college, I spent a year living in Melbourne, Australia working for a member of federal Parliament and as an event coordinator for the Australian Greens Victoria. In November 2013, I graduated from the MSc International and European Politics programme.

  1. Why did you decide to do the IEP degree?  I always knew that I wanted to pursue a career in international politics, especially in the context of Europe. I soon realized that if I really wanted to work internationally, I needed an international perspective. Therefore, it made perfect sense for me to pursue a Master’s degree in international politics at a European university. The MSc IEP programme at the University of Edinburgh, with its emphasis on critical analysis, discussion of internal and external EU relations, and international student body, seemed like the perfect match for me. The wide breadth of courses available also gave me the flexibility to tailor the content of the degree to my interests. I was able to focus on my interests (EU policy and international migration) while others could take classes in Middle Eastern studies, international political economy, or security studies. Unlike many other European politics degrees offered by other universities, the IEP programme offered both an internal and an external perspective on EU policy and affairs. This was an especially important determining factor for me when choosing a Master’s programme.
  2. What were your best memories?  I have a lot of fond memories of my time studying in Edinburgh. All of the students were incredibly interesting, bright people who were fun to hang out with and proved to be great study partners. The professors were also very helpful in supporting me academically and were always ready to discuss post-degree plans and opportunities. One of my best memories is of the annual Brussels Trip, where all IEP students have the opportunity to visit the EU institutions in Brussels. It was really amazing to get to talk to Commission and European Parliament staff members in person after spending two semesters studying EU policy.
  3. What is it that you do now and did the degree help in your career path?  I am currently a Visiting Scholar at the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart, Germany conducting a research project on youth immigrant integration through language acquisition. The independent research and writing skills that I learned during my time studying for my Master’s have proved invaluable to my current research. While studying, I also realized that I want to eventually pursue a PhD in European and migration studies. The fundamentals that I gained in the study of international politics, migration studies, and EU policies will provide a wonderful foundation for such future studies.
  4. How did you like Edinburgh?  I am so happy that I got the chance to live in Edinburgh. The city is very student-friendly, vibrant, and has an amazing history. Between restaurants, shopping, and the world-famous Edinburgh Festivals in August, there is always something to do. If you need to get away, it is really easy (and cheap) to take the train into the Highlands or down to London for a weekend.