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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school


Mateo Urquijo

Mateo Urquijo
Mateo Urquijo
Colorado, USA
Doing Now

My name is Mateo Urquijo and I hail from the USA. Before coming to Edinburgh for the MSc in International and EU Politics I worked in both Germany and Romania in communications, small business development, and journalism. These experiences, as well as an academic background in politics and philosophy, led me to seek out programmes with an excellent reputation in international political economy; Edinburgh was my top choice and I was very happy to be accepted.

Why did you decide to do the IEP degree?

When I began my search for an MSc, I was very keen on finding a programme that had an excellent reputation where I could focus on European political economy. Edinburgh University is not only one of the top universities in the world, but is a leading centre of research on the European Union.Additionally, the IEP programme's connection to the Europa Institute and the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence was a major draw: Edinburgh Uni is the only university in the UK to have received the centre of excellence award in 2010, and Dr. Howarth, who is the chair of the centre, is also the convenor of the MSc in International and EU Politics. For these reasons, even considering other top UK universities, the MSc in IEP was my first choice.

Also, on a practical level, the programme is just one-year in duration in contrast to many comparable two-year programmes on the continent. As an international student, this means a lower overall cost as well as time saved.

What were your best memories?

Aside from all of the great things that Edinburgh has to offer in its own right, it is also brilliantly located for travel within Scotland and throughout the UK. Two of us made it our mission to see as many Historic Scotland sites as possible during the year (highly recommended), and we've had loads of Scots tell us that we've seen more of Scotland than they have. A group of us even went camping in Orkney for a week: For those truly adventurous souls, a week spent exploring cairns and henges under a sun that doesn't set is a week you will remember.

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

One of my primary aims in choosing an MSc was to find a degree that would help me get into an excellent PhD programme. The MSc in IEP offered a wide range of courses to choose from and supervisors with expertise specific to my needs, which helped me to sharply focus my interests and write a dissertation which can be elaborated in a PhD. Additionally, continued advice from my supervisor, as well as professors from my classes, has been instrumental in the proposal writing process.

How did you like Edinburgh as a city?

Edinburgh has everything under the sun, if not the sun itself (Although, in fairness, this makes you appreciate the sun all the more when it does grace the city with its presence). Because of the breadth of its diversity you really do feel a part of the city is short order; from the Mosque kitchen to the Whisky Society, there is certainly something for most here. A bit of advice for newcomers: Walk around. There are interesting places everywhere, and it is a great town to explore on foot. All told, I'd say it's a great place to spend a good few years.