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School of Social and Political Science: Undergraduate study

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International Relations: Sarah

My name is Sarah and I'm in my 1st year of an MA in International Relations.

I’m taking Introduction to Politics and International Relations, International Law, Democracy in Comparative Perspective, Arabic, Modern Middle Eastern History and History of Medicine.

To study International Relations, I thought it was important that I learn in another culture than the one I grew up in, so I could really get a global perspective. Edinburgh was definitely the right choice for me.

I wanted to learn about politics and global interaction. In a globalising world I think it’s incredibly important to understand how states interact and the impact of each political, social, and economic decision that is made. My dream is to work for an NGO focusing on human rights and gender equality, particularly in developing countries.

Usually you can study a combination of subjects in your first two years before specialising in your final years.

I have a wide range of interests, so I made sure that in addition to my core politics courses, I branched out and tried a new language, Arabic (hard, but so cool), studied an area of the world I hadn’t before, the Middle East (so important in today’s world) and studied something completely different, History of Medicine.

Modern Middle Eastern History is my favourite at the moment. It’s so interesting and it’s a topic that I’ve always wanted to learn about but never had the opportunity.

Living in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is so beautiful, the architecture is stunning. I visited once before I decided to attend, and I fell in love immediately.

There’s so much history everywhere you look and it’s definitely a cultural hub. You hear so many different languages everywhere you go, I love that it’s such an international city. I also love that travel is so easy and affordable, both to places in the UK as well as in Europe!

As an international student, it’s a really scary and difficult decision to move across the world but I know I made the right decision, and I can’t imagine myself anywhere else. I’ve grown so much and I learn new things every day. It was obviously an adjustment; I came to a new country, a new city, and had to suddenly be very independent but everyone I’ve met has been very friendly and helpful - you’re not alone if you feel out of your element for a little while!

I lived in self-catered accomodation, and I loved having the freedom and independence of living in a flat and cooking for myself. 

Student societies are a really great way to meet people and to enhance your university experience. I’m a member of the Feminist Society, and I’ve gone to different events run by the Politics and International Relations Society and Art Society. I love that there are so many societies to fit my different interests. My only regret is not getting involved earlier!

Sarah Waldman