- Course: BA International History and Politics
What made you want to apply to your course and to Leeds?
I thought all the modules offered on the course sounded really stimulating and whilst they were all focused upon my preferred period of modern history, there was also enough variety of topics and different time frames to keep it diverse. I visited Leeds for a post-offer open day and instantly fell in love with the city - even in the rain! It had such a friendly and vibrant vibe and the tutors who gave the talks were effortlessly enthusiastic.
What is it that makes you passionate about International History and Politics (IHP)?
I’ve always been interested in current affairs and I think by studying and asking questions about history you can develop a greater understanding of current political issues. Studying IHP has also helped me to develop a greater understanding of the relationship between state and non-state actors, whilst also incorporating themes of international politics such as diplomacy. International History and Politics doesn’t just look at events in isolation but connects ideas and events by considering broader themes, historical debate and different perspectives.
Which IHP modules have you particularly enjoyed studying, and why?
I really enjoyed the Skills and Concepts module at the start of first year. It was good to get an understanding of the skills, formatting and what was expected of assessed work at degree level, whilst also covering the interesting topic of ideology in the interwar period. In second year I really enjoyed the Documents and Debates module, as I found the theme of decolonisation fascinating, especially looking at the partition of India and the Algerian War of Independence. The primary source materials we delved into helped to develop our skills of analysis, whilst also adding a particularly emotive and tangible quality to the history being studied.
Which Discovery Modules have you studied, and how do you feel they have enhanced your time in Leeds?
Given the political turmoil ongoing in the Middle East today I thought it would be relevant and important to learn more about the history of this area. In my first year I studied an Introduction to the Middle East and in second year I studied Modern Middle Eastern History - both from the school of Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies. I really appreciated the opportunity to study a subject I would have otherwise not had the opportunity to learn about in such detail. It linked well with my history module, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and it was good to see how other schools took different approaches to learning.
What would you say about the library and study facilities at the University?
The library collections at Leeds are excellent! There are so many books, articles and primary sources available in hard copy or online. The study facilities are also great, and it’s good to have a variety of options. If you prefer an old fashioned building there’s the Brotherton or something more modern there’s the Edward Boyle Library.
What activities have you been involved in outside of your course and what have you got out of being involved?
As a History Society member I went to Budapest in first year, which was a great way to meet people and also explore a really cool city! There’s also always lots of social events, which run throughout the year. Last year I was a history peer mentor, giving advice to lower years.
I volunteer for STAR, which is a charity that runs conversation classes with refugees in Leeds. These run on Wednesday afternoons and Saturdays. It is a really good way to get involved in the community and do something helpful about a problem that I am passionate about, and all it takes is a bit of free time! The networking dinner ran by the School of History was also a great opportunity to speak to representatives from a variety of different firms, companies/possible future employers.
What would you say about Leeds as a city and how do you think it has helped you make the most of your time here?
As a student it offers everything you could ever want in a city – great shops, beautiful architecture, and the best music scene you could ask for in terms of both night life and gigs. There’s endless opportunities of fun things to do, with an array of art galleries, the Hyde Park Picture House and plenty of amazing restaurants for decent prices.
What do you plan to do once you’ve finished your course, and how do you think the skills and knowledge you’ve developed at Leeds will help with these plans?
I am interested in pursuing either further academic study on an MA programme or potentially a law conversion, having recently completed a summer internship in London. I think the skills that I have learnt from studying IHP will definitely help if I apply for graduate jobs. Employers will look for a candidate who can hold an argument, can analyse different sources and someone prepared to be challenged in the way that they think. The IHP course certainly provides an opportunity to hone these skills through the volume of reading, tutorials and presentation assessments.