Carl graduated from Aber in 2003 with a BScEcon in International Relations. In addition to his highly successful career, Carl also acts as Aber's unofficial ambassador in Sweden and he is willing to assist any Aber alumnus with locating and/or doing business there. Contact him at email@example.com
What do you remember most about your time at Aber?
My very first impression of Aber is likely the beautiful landscape and the hills surrounding Cardigan Bay. And the rather unpretentious train fare from Birmingham to Aber. An observation, which persisted throughout my studies, was the frequent rainfall. But this did in no way interfere or reduce my experience of Aber as a colorful, bustling and energetic town. I also recall the student society. It was more than I could wish for. Aber is a small town with a significant student population consisting of a large and active international student community. Seeing as Aber is far away from larger settlements, it means few students head home during weekends. Everyone stays put and that helps creating a special community. It is really easy to meet people and start new friendships and relationships in Aber. Its still, after some 15 years, very close to my heart.
What are you doing now career-wise and how has your Aberystwyth degree helped?
After graduating from Aber I went on to do a Masters degree at St. Andrews. Currently I am working as a senior adviser in international development cooperation at the Swedish Board of Agriculture. In my position I am responsible for identifying, setting up and carrying out capacity-building projects in the area of public administration reform. My work allows me to travel and work in many low-income countries. My degree in international relations has helped me tremendously to perform well in an international multi-cultural environment. Particularly the critical theories and political philosophy in general has equipped me with a mindset that allows me to quickly understand “systems” and their subordinated components on a theoretical as well as practical level. Several “wisdoms” from Aber that I may have questioned at the time, is unconsciously guiding much of my work today. Particularly my ability to take on a critical approach to assignments and existing structures and processes based on a fairly thorough understanding of theoretical systemic constructs.
What advice would you have for a student doing your course now?
Try to delve into the political philosophy component. You may oppose the abstract theories at first and even question what use it may have in a more practical “job-setting”. But I can assure you that it will serve you well. After a while, when you start understanding the bigger picture of these theories, you start evolving as a free thinker. This will in turn allow you to think outside the box, notwithstanding what type of career you aim to pursue post-graduation. To prepare yourself for the realities after leaving Aber, I would suggest that you also breathe in the positivistic research-methods. Being in civil-service, it will serve you well to be able to collect, process, analyse and present complex information in a rigorous and innovative way.