The Politics and International Relations festival gave me insight into possible careers

Student spotlight | Beth Gettings, BA (Hons) International Relations with Politics


Hi, my name’s Beth and I am a first year student studying international relations with politics and I was the first year International Relations Course Rep. Outside of university I enjoy embroidering and reading; the Handmaid’s Tale is my favourite book.

Tell us a bit about yourself and what drew you to International Relations with Politics

Politics has always been a subject of interest, I found particular interest in British political history during my A levels and was further spurred on by events such as Brexit and local elections. Although I didn’t do A levels specifically orientated towards an International Relations and Politics degree, I wanted to pursue a subject that I genuinely felt passionate towards at a degree level. Leeds School of Social Sciences and the Politics and International Relations Department offered a wide range of pathways, which allowed me to choose a course I felt was most tailored to my interests within the field. Also, I liked the wide range of modules undertaken in first year as they explore the core concepts of international relations and politics without having to have taken an A level in politics.

What made you choose Leeds Beckett?

I had the opportunity to visit Leeds Beckett on an Open Day in February 2020. Throughout the day there were presentations and opportunities to meet with staff and students. The lecturers were accommodating to the queries I had about having unrelated A levels and the lectures throughout the day showed the passion of the lecturers. The students across the department offered an insight into the teaching, subjects covered and extracurricular opportunities. I felt that there was a community within the course and university, and I felt this would make the move to university easier.

Also, the course at Beckett differed to other courses I had considered at other universities. There is a focus throughout the course on employability and specific modules tailored to this. The Active Citizenship module, which involves volunteering in the community, was an opportunity not offered at other universities. Alongside this, the option to change pathways at the end of first year allowed for me to further tailor my degree as I learnt the areas I enjoyed most.

What has been your favourite thing about your time studying at Leeds Beckett?

Although much of this year has been undertaken through a blended learning approach, this has not impacted the department’s community feel. Throughout the year, there has been support through the academic advisers, and lecturers have always been on hand to help quickly with assignments and general queries. Also, the Politics and International Relations Festival still went ahead this year online. Over two weeks, both local and international speakers held events covering a range of subject areas from food insecurity in South Sudan to resisting militarism. The festival gave me an opportunity to speak to people working in the field and see the careers that can come from studying international relations that I hadn’t previously considered.

What advice would you give someone thinking about studying this course?

I would advise everyone to take every opportunity they are given on this course. Each opportunity allows you to develop and learn more about the subject areas you love and individualise your degree.

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