School of Social and Political Science

Ben Wellings

Ben Wellings
Ben Wellings
Luton, England
MSc in Nationalism Studies
December 1997
Doing Now
Convenor of European Studies, College of Arts and Social Sciences - The Australian National University, Canberra.

What were you doing before you started your studies at Edinburgh?

I finished my undergraduate degree in Contemporary History with French from the University of Sussex in 1994. I then spent two years working on the English Channel between Newhaven and Dieppe keeping England’s supply lines to cheap Continental lager open. During my spare time I also worked as a voluntary researcher at the House of Commons.

Why did you choose the MSC in Nationalism Studies?

Without really knowing it I’d been studying nationalism for many years. I spent a lot of time at Sussex writing about nationalism from Europe to Africa and Asia and beyond. I was especially stimulated by a year spent as an ERASMUS student in France which increased my interest in nationality and the past in a contemporary European setting. Working on an international border like the English Channel also piqued my interest and when I read in the Times Higher Ed that Edinburgh University was launching an MSc in Nationalism Studies I applied and was accepted – the rest is history.

What was it like entering the job market with an MSc in Nationalism Studies?

Two things: firstly, an MSc from Edinburgh University helped me win a not-easy-to-come-by international student PhD scholarship to the Australian National University; secondly, the MSc also looked good on my CV when working in the private sector. In both cases the University and the MSc helped me get meetings and interviews with potential employers in Scotland and Australia, in my case in the field of public affairs.

What are some of your favourite memories of the MSC in Nationalism Studies?

The intellectual environment generated by the tutors and my student colleagues was excellent and I still have fond - if hazy - memories of the local beer, “Eighty Shilling”. The timing was perfect for a student of nationalism too, including the successful devolution referendum and Scotland’s last foray into the World Cup: Scotland is a great place to study nationalism. I also met my wife on this course, but I understand that Edinburgh University cannot guarantee this outcome for all students.