Akos Erzse, BA International Politics with Intelligence Studies
There were two reasons I decided to study at Aber - the Department is the oldest in the world, established in 1919, and its prestigious reputation reached me even before I began thinking about studying in the United Kingdom. Nonetheless, I became absolutely sure of my decision after I spent a couple of days here with a good friend of mine.
During my first year, I was introduced to the basic concepts and ideas of international and domestic politics. I read the works written by some of the most important political thinkers, past and present; and enriched my knowledge on issues such as postcolonialism and gender.
The true fun began in second year when the immense vault of knowledge offered by the Department truly opened up. As I chose from the wide selection of modules available, I found myself getting the chance to engage and explore topics like the thrilling world of Cold War espionage, the psychological explanations behind intelligence failures, and even the use of child soldiers in weaponised conflicts.
Nonetheless, life at Aber is not only about writing essays, sitting in the library or going to seminars. The Department never fails to offer new opportunities to go beyond your basic academic duties. There are public lectures, research seminars and talks given by guest speakers almost every week. A talk was given by the former Director of the MI5, Baroness Eliza Manningham-Buller, for example. There are constant calls for essay submissions to competitions, or for applications for exciting new projects.
I held a presentation at the first E H Carr Student Conference organized entirely by students from the Department, and wrote an article to the Interstate Journal of International Affairs. I became a co-editor at the Journal and I helped organize the second E H Carr Student Conference, which was extremely rewarding.
At the end of my first year, I took part in the North American Exchange Programme. I got to spend the first semester of my second year at the amazing McGill University in Montreal, Canada with three of my fellow Aber students! Those four months were magical times. Naturally, I had to study a lot, but I also went on a hike around Mt Tremblant with my flatmates, celebrated the winter equinox with a Mohawk tribe near Akwesasne, took a four day trip to Philadelphia, Washington and Pittsburgh, and made many new friends I keep in touch with even today.
Then I was granted a place on the Parliamentary Placement Scheme, which offered me a chance to experience politics from a whole new perspective. I spent a couple of weeks working closely with an Assembly Member and his staff in his office at the National Assembly for Wales. As a research intern, my daily duties ranged from finding valuable information on a specific topic, analysing and collating that information and then presenting my findings in a coherent and processable way. I also accompanied the Assembly Member to meetings and interviews, while also helping out with every-day work related matters he required assistance with. The breathtaking amount of dedication I witnessed amongst officers during the few weeks I was there motivated me beyond description.
If you value having chances at exploring engaging new fields in International Politics and getting endless, wholehearted support to constantly better yourself and achieve more, then the International Politics department at Aberystwyth should be your first choice!