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THE UK: Subject Guides

Student Spotlight: International Politics

Hotcourses speaks to a student at Middlesex University about their international student experience in London, UK.

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Name: Nadira Irdiana

Course:  International Political Studies

Study Level:  Undergraduate

University:  Middlesex University

Country of origin:  Indonesia


Q. Why did you enrol on your course and how did you choose your university?

I actually went to an education consultant and I chose my university basically because of its teaching quality and the short distance from home. I also like their international exposure. I was pretty sure Middlesex University is one of the universities in the UK where the students are mostly international students. The university has two international campuses today in Dubai and Mauritius. Recently they also planned to open another campus in India. I always wanted to study International Political Studies since I think it is a very relevant and important subject in today’s world and they offer that course.


Q. Why did you choose the UK as a study destination?

UK is well-known for their huge influence in international politics arena and that is why I considered studying here. The country is based in Europe, which means I also can learn more about European Union politics. UK also offers undergraduate courses that could be finished in just 3 years.


Q. How did you feel in your first month?

First month is a very hectic experience. I want to be as involved as I could be, and I joined several societies and made new friends. I also take time to adjust to the surroundings, teaching style and how to use university facilities like library.


Q. How did your institution help you settle in to university life in the first few weeks?

The university helped me settle with various fresher’s events and programme orientation. They introduced how to get around London, how to join societies, and a lot more about the university and the city of London. I learn many things about my course, and I know many lecturers before the course actually start.


Q. Where did you live and how did you find suitable accommodation? 

I actually live in North London with my parents here, so I find a suitable accommodation fairly quickly and one of the reasons why I chose Middlesex University is because of their short distance from where I live.


Q. How did you integrate into the social scene at your university?

I integrated by being involved in societies and university events. The students from my programme were very diverse and very nice. I liked to hang out with them during university breaks.


Q. Did you experience any culture shocks when you arrived in the UK?

Not that many, but I am amazed by people’s fast pace during rush hours (especially in tube stations) and sometimes it is hard to understand a group of British students since they often talk really fast.


Q. How did you fund your studies?

Financial support by my parents, but I also get a partial scholarship from my university even though I did not apply for it. The university gave scholarship to some Southeast Asian students.


Q. What were the biggest challenges that you faced in your first year? 

The biggest challenge for me is group studies, particularly because I am studying in London where the students come from all over the world. It is hard to make decision because everybody has different mindsets about the subject. Finance is a challenge too, you have to be really smart to not waste a lot of money during your stay.


Q. How does the English teaching style differ from that in your home country?

Students have more engagements in their classes. What I like the most is they have two different types of classes. One of them called lectures, where we just listen to the lecturer and ask them questions in the end just like what I used to do in Indonesia. However, the other one lets us to be more active. It is called seminar, and the students are encouraged to discuss course topics with fellow students.


Q. What are the best things about studying in the UK?

UK education suits me well and it is a place full of inspiration. Other than politics, I also have a great interest in art. The UK, particularly London, gave me a lot of amazement in that particular area. Some of the world’s best writers come from this country so it gave me a lot of enthusiasm to really strive for the things I wanted in life. I also believe that being used to an international environment has been useful for the work environment.


Q. What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned since you started your studies?

The most valuable lesson so far is probably in knowing how important critical thinking is. Without it, education may not progress as far and as fast as it is today. Studying in the UK will surely give me a lot of competitive advantage.


Q. What advice would you give to other new international students?

It is best to know at least a little bit information about your subjects before the course really starts and once studying the course, get used to reading books and other materials for your preparation to discuss it the next day. Students here will be used to critical thinking and in some subjects, you might know less than the British students, so be prepared. Learn more about the country, do not leave before you know better than the people who never been there. But other than that, don’t forget to have fun and enjoy your time with friends. Make your time memorable!


Read articles about the important points Nadira has spoken about:

Student finance

Getting to grips with English

British undergraduate degrees


Click to view more blogs and articles.

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