MSc Diplomacy & International SecurityKyler Howsare, United States

Tell us a little bit about your background...
I studied my undergraduate degree in London, but I’m originally from the United States. While I was in London, I studied international relations with a minor in Chinese Studies at Richmond, the American International University in London.

What inspired you to study your subject?
I became fascinated with international relations after studying abroad in Finland with Rotary International during high school. I really enjoyed being in a dynamic and international setting and being exposed to new languages and cultures. I had the chance to stay on with Rotary as a volunteer after my exchange and became aware of all the other organisations doing work like theirs internationally and decided that I wanted to get involved.

Why did you choose to continue studying for your Masters at the University of Strathclyde?
I had always been really interested in coming to Scotland ever since I started my undergraduate degree in London. I thought that it was a really beautiful country with an interesting history and culture. I also was really interested in the fact that the university was investing a lot into its programmes and I thought that it would be a really valuable experience.

What has been the highlight of your time at Strathclyde so far?
I have really enjoyed all of the guest speakers and people from the field that professors have been able to bring in to speak for us. It really helped me get an idea of the practical side of the field that I’m planning to enter.

How have you found studying online, in the current situation?
Online learning has been difficult at times, but I feel like my professors have done everything that they can to help us as we are constantly adapting to new regulations and restrictions. I found it much easier since the library was still open and I have another space to do work that’s outside of the house, and the library has also digitised a lot of the things that we needed for class and research so its been made a lot easier.

What specialist knowledge/professional skills have you developed whilst studying the course?
So far throughout the course I feel like I have really been able to develop my negotiation skills. Many of the classes that I’m currently taking in my second semester are focused around aspects of negotiation and mediation and I feel like I’m learning a lot of practical tools. Since the transition to online learning I feel that I have also been able to develop my public speaking skills after adapting to learning on a new platform. The addition of breakout rooms to class has really helped me be able to have better discussions surrounding the material and projects.

What would be your advice for people considering taking this course?
I feel like the course is really well rounded. I liked that it took a historical, innovative, legal, and security-based look at diplomacy and that I was able to also take classes about other subjects I was interested in. So if you’re looking for a multi-dimensional view of security and diplomacy related issues then I think you’ll enjoy this course!

What have been the main challenges studying at postgraduate level?
I feel like the main challenge for me has been time management. I wasn’t sure initially what to expect in terms of the workload in the beginning and I slowly realised during the semester that I needed to balance out my workload.

How has your scholarship supported your studies?
The scholarship really helped make postgraduate study a more financially viable option for me.

What do you think of the support available?
I think that the support has been really helpful, and staff are doing everything that they can to make sure that we are supported.

What are your ambitions for the future?
I would love to continue on working in an international setting that’s dynamic. I would ideally love to work within the American Foreign Service where I could continue to learn more in regards to language, culture, and international relations.