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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school


Benedikt Erforth

Benedikt Erforth
Benedikt Erforth
Doing Now
PhD in Trento, Italy (full scholarship)

My name is Benedikt Erforth and I am originally from Germany. Before coming to Edinburgh I studied history and politics both in Germany and France, with most of my courses focusing on the European Union. I also worked in Brussels for the European Parliament for one year. My interest in the IEP Programme emanated both from my academic background and my professional experiences.

Why did you decide to do the IEP degree?

There are several answers to this question. After having completed my undergraduate degree, I was looking for a degree which would teach me more about International and European Politics, and afterwards would still leave me the option to continue with a research degree or provide me with a good asset for the job market. I was also looking for a course that both deals with theoretical approaches and more practical examples covering a large variety of topics. The School of Social and Political Sciences, with its various research institutes and groups, seemed like the right place to undertake such a project. The fact that I wanted to study in the UK at one point in my life for quite some time further contributed to my decision. When a good friend of mine, who hails from Edinburgh, told me nothing but good things about the city, my decision to apply was made. Thanks to a university scholarship the place I was offered on the IEP Programme was made affordable and I moved to Edinburgh.

What were your best memories?

Some of the best memories are simply those of the everyday life in Edinburgh: walking through its streets, climbing up Arthur;s Seat, enjoying the Meadows, reading a book in one of the many cafés in hidden side streets or attending a cèilidh. And, of course, I can;t forget Edinburgh;s proximity to the Highlands and islands, with their incredible landscapes. But it is also about the people and the friendliness with which they greet you that astonished me more than once. Regarding the academic environment, I really appreciated the great university facilities - especially the extensive library - and the friendly and good relationships between professors and students.

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

I am currently a PhD student at the University of Trento. After having finished my MSc degree, I first started working for the French Parliament. My aim, however, was to go back to university and keep on working in the field of research which I already explored throughout my MSc dissertation. The great support of my professors as well as the knowledge and methods I acquired during my MSc subsequently helped me to draw up a concise PhD proposal with which I was able to secure a PhD position.

How did you like Edinburgh as a city?

Edinburgh, for me, is definitely one of the most livable cities and it took me only a short while to call it my second home. Edinburgh provides most of the amenities of a big city without being crowded by millions of people. Most of the people you encounter are friendly and helpful. The main sites are all in walking distance and it is just a short stroll to escape into nature. To be fair, the weather is rather inconsistent, but in case of a sudden downpour there is always a pub or a coffee shop nearby to hide in (try Artisan Roast if you fancy not only a nice place but also a good coffee).