Oksana Makarenko


MSc International Relations, Law & Security


Tell us a bit about your background…
I grew up in Odessa, Ukraine and moved to Poland to start my journey into higher education. I obtained my undergraduate degree in Collegium Civitas, Warsaw and the programme was a BA in international relations, media diplomacy and international negotiations. It was a 3 year programme. Moving to Poland meant I had more opportunities to learn, travel and secure a career as they are part of European Union. A lot of students in Poland travel through from Ukraine.

What inspired you to continue in higher education?
I believe that diving into a deeper level of study with a Masters gives me better career opportunities. It can take a lot of time to find something that you really want to commit to as a career and I want to make sure I have a deep, grounded understanding of my subject. I’m open to working for all kinds of organisations.

Why did you choose to study at the University of Strathclyde?
I really liked what I had read about this programme and I felt like this was a good fit after studying international relations for 3 years. I enjoy learning more about international law and Strathclyde felt like a perfect fit. I definitely wanted to study in the UK and at a university where English was the first language.

Did you seek any support during the application process?
I submitted my application through an agency in Ukraine and they helped me to apply for the university programme and also for my visa. I felt really supported during this process.

What has been the highlight of your time at Strathclyde so far?
I have to say that I often compare my own studies with that of my friends. They are in a different faculty and at Masters level have 8-10 classes over the course of the year. In my studies I have chosen 6 classes over the year and I find that this is very manageable and it means I can focus on exactly what I want to study. International human rights was my favourite class last semester and this semester it is migration law.

I have also greatly enjoyed meeting new people both during the course and when taking part in organised social activities.

What would be your advice for people considering taking the programme at Strathclyde?
I have advice on the process of moving over to the UK – check in with the student agency on your visa and BRP application as you will likely need both if you are coming over from Ukraine. From a programme perspective, make sure that you have evenly distributed your classes over two semesters where possible – this becomes much more manageable in terms of studying and workload. My advice would also be to prepare to work hard during the programme and utilise teams and teamwork when you can. This can help to relieve pressure and means you have a team there that can help shape your perspective.   

What do you think of the support available during your course?
I would feel quite comfortable approaching my lecturers with any problems that I come across. Sometimes I like to discuss aspects of the lesson, or just to check in as to where we are meeting next!

What are your ambitions for the future?
I would like to stay in the UK though I would need to find a company that will sponsor my visa and will fit what I am looking for in terms of politics. My ideal situation would be to find a part-time job or internship in order to have more or less definite idea what to do after graduation.