Artiom, from Lithuania, is a recent graduate from the MSc Diplomacy & International Security programme within Strathclyde's Department of Humanities
Tell us a little bit about your background..
My name is Artiom, and I am from Lithuania. More than a decade ago, I moved to London to study filmmaking at Royal Holloway, but life took me on a different route. I spent a few years working in the third sector as a youth facilitator, project manager, and non-formal education trainer for EU projects, something I started doing in Lithuania. I travelled a lot and organised youth projects in the UK as part of EU international initiatives. I also found fulfilment in working with young people in care. Then, in 2018, driven by a renewed passion for education, I decided to move to Scotland and delve into the subjects that had always ignited my interest. The MA Politics and International Relations course at the University of Aberdeen marked the beginning of a new chapter for me, and I continued the journey at the University of Strathclyde, studying MSc Diplomacy and International Security.
What inspired you to study the MSc Diplomacy and International Security?
The Ukraine war influenced my determination to continue studies in IR or international security. Opting for a shift from Aberdeen to a larger city, I secured acceptance into various postgraduate programs. After careful consideration, Strathclyde emerged as my top choice following an informative online session with course leader Dr Rogelia Pastor-Castro. Before confirming my enrolment, I studied the course content, finding its distinctive blend of social science paths resonating strongly with me. What truly distinguished it was the exceptional opportunity to study diplomacy and international security - a combination I had not encountered elsewhere, perfectly aligning with my future career aspirations and interests. Now, having graduated with distinction, I can confidently say that I made the right choice.
What were the most enjoyable parts of your course?
My time at Strathclyde had many enjoyable parts that contributed to the overall holistic experience. Firstly, the classes provided a deep dive into the topics through engaging case studies, fostering thought-provoking discussions, and conducting in-depth analyses of various events and phenomena. Secondly, the academic team overseeing the course was fantastic; they were approachable, knowledgeable, and friendly, dedicating time to students beyond class hours and building strong bonds. Thirdly, the availability of extracurricular activities, such as a group visit to Glasgow City Chambers, where we gained insights into the city or a practitioner's event on the UN's Humanitarian Work, added richness to the overall experience. Lastly, my classmates, with whom I spent a lot of time discussing seminars and enjoying drinks, quizzes, or nights out, made my time at Strathclyde truly enjoyable. I know that with many of my peers, I will remain friends for life.
What specialist knowledge/professional skills have you developed whilst studying the course?
Throughout my year at Strathclyde, I have sharpened a variety of skills and learning-to-learn capabilities. There has been a notable improvement in my research proficiency, involving literature reviews, critical and structural engagement with materials, and a heightened capacity for in-depth analysis, contributing to a more nuanced understanding of complex subjects and phenomena. My writing skills have also undergone refinement, emphasising clearer structure, critical thinking, clarity, and persuasiveness, helping me achieve high marks in assignments. Growing confidence in presentations and group activities has bolstered my overall self-assurance in these areas. I would also say that my soft skills, especially in communication, teamwork, flexibility, and interpersonal relations, have made me more versatile and better prepared for future academic and professional scenarios.
What do you think of the support available?
I would say that the level of available support was great. The amazing academic team was friendly and approachable, you could stay for a chat after a class or contact them via email, sometimes receiving a fast response even at late hours. At the beginning of the year, we had an induction to the library and the use of various academic sources. We also had seminars on essay and dissertation writing, construction of arguments and making presentations, which was helpful. Additionally, the excellent career service for students and graduates provided informative seminars, and I personally benefited from a private consultation for my job application. Moreover, during my year at Strathclyde, I faced a health problem, and the University helped me and provided support by granting extensions for my assignments and checking up on me. I am confident that if I needed more structured support, I would be able to get it from the University or academic tutors.
What would be your advice for prospective students considering applying for this course next year?
If you're considering applying but have doubts, I've been in your shoes. Now, after graduating, I can confidently say that if you're seeking an exciting and dynamic program with a fantastic academic team, along with the opportunity to meet and study with like-minded peers from various countries in one of the greatest cities in the UK, you should definitely apply! The program is genuinely interesting, allowing you to choose subjects and paths that you find most appealing and to shape the overall trajectory of your curriculum. Don't worry or be anxious; the team in charge and the University overall take good care of the students and can address any questions or concerns you may have. You're in safe hands, and I strongly encourage you to apply for the program if you are interested in IR, diplomacy and international security. It promises a year that's not only fun, sometimes challenging, but definitely interesting and intellectually stimulating.
What are your ambitions for the future and how do you think your time at Strathclyde will help you achieve your goals?
Now that I have graduated, I find myself at a crossroads, exploring two potential paths. The first involves starting a career associated with international affairs, with a focus on security and stability. My MSc in Diplomacy and International Security provides a solid foundation for that with a uniquely tailored program that goes beyond the generic. It not only equips me with a comprehensive knowledge and skills but also helps me stand out in a competitive field. I am currently actively exploring diverse opportunities for jobs or traineeships, primarily within the EU, spanning public bodies, research, or international organisations. The second path, which I have not yet decided on, is to return to university and pursue a PhD, possibly in conflict studies or by delving deeper into diplomacy or international security.