Want to study something that will broaden your horizons and cover a vast range of disciplines? Try International Relations on for size. Nawras Al Kindi, our Dublin City University ambassador, tells us more about this fascinating and varied course…
The question I am asked the most is by far, “what exactly is International Relations?!” Put simply my answer now is ‘it is about everything!’ However, that would not have been my answer three years ago…
I had always dreamt of becoming an Ambassador and everyone told me that International Relations (IR) at DCU was the perfect course to achieve that. I conducted some basic research online and initially thought that it might be an interesting course. Nevertheless, the idea that I had embedded in my mind was that for some reason this course will teach me how to become a diplomat! Apparently, this was not written anywhere, and on the 21 of September 2015, I was faced with the reality of very intimidating modules and an intense workload of assignments.
The first year was basically an introduction to EVERYTHING, to get a glimpse of what I mean take a look at the most exciting list of modules you will ever see. I would strongly recommend going through this if you are thinking about studying IR. It is not only a list of modules, but it also provides information on future career paths. I just wish if I had read that before, perhaps I would not have been as shocked!
One of the greatest things about IR is that it offers a year abroad programme in your third year. Students who meet certain criteria can choose to go to any of DCU’s partner universities. I personally thought that this opportunity would not add a lot to my respectable amount of experience, given that I am already studying abroad. Nonetheless, for anybody who is willing to discover more, then this is your chance. The final year then is one of the best! You only have one mandatory module per semester that is worth 10 credits. To complete the number of required credits you can then choose anything that you are deeply interested in. So, it is your chance to start thinking about which strand of the huge umbrella of IR would you like to join. In summary, IR is a course that depends on lots of reading and writing, the continuous assessment is based on assignments. Throughout the year you could have one or two exams only. If you are willing to study this course, I would say the reading and writing are not as important as passion. You must really love what you are studying in order to excel in it, otherwise, it might just be a disaster! By writing this I don’t mean to scare anybody off IR, rather, I want IR students to really engage with the modules and become important figures in the future!
Despite my initial confusion and shock, I must confess that I do not regret my choice at all. The most obvious evidence of this is that I am in my final year now. Despite the heavy workload, I am enjoying it to the max. No matter how difficult the assignments can get, once you get into the topic it turns out to be a fun exercise. IR is one of those courses that keeps giving, it expands your knowledge and does not restrict you to follow a particular career. Additionally, it makes you a person who’s capable of linking contemporary events with theories or history and lots more, at least that’s what it’s made me. It is one of those courses that does not restrict you as much as scientific courses. In IR there is no right or wrong answer, you can express your ideas as much as you like as long as you back them up. In the end, I must say that what enhanced my IR experience is doing it in DCU with the most experienced and admirable lecturers, who are always there to help.
In a couple of months, I will be a graduate, I don’t know if that initial ambassador dream will come true. In fact, I no longer know if I want to be one, however, what I am sure of is that I am having the best time studying International Relations. I would never imagine myself studying something else, in another institution. I will not say that it was easy, as with everything else in life there are ups and downs but, as long as you put your mind and heart into it, then I believe you will begin to see the beauty of the course.