This past semester, UC Riverside student Joseph Christian Agbagala studied at the Queen Mary University of London with UCEAP! With the support of the ACE Scholarship, he was able to be an active member at both the International Institute for Strategic Studies and Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs.
Read on to hear about what Joseph has to say about his experience!
Participating in international affairs think tank events allowed me to expand my ideas and share them with other intellectuals within the field. Without joining these programs, I would not be able to have a channel where I can use the knowledge I gained while taking an IR theory course at the Queen Mary University of London. I was able to improve my way of communicating, questioning, and debating topics within the realm of international politics. This project of joining high-level organizations allowed me to start training myself in conversing with people who are already experts within the field. As a student, I was used to debating with other students, but this activity truly challenged me to talk with real policymakers and academics.
I have gained access to resources only reserved to their members such as their journals and analytical papers. For IISS, I was able to use their Military Balance publication where I was able to obtain accurate information about military capabilities and global defence economics and use them to connect with IR theory of realism. Having access to top-notch resources only available to experts in the field allowed me to do analytical papers which can be a great practice when I transition into the field of research and policymaking.
It was important for me to participate in these programs because I gained a platform where I can network and connect with other people who are engaged in answering global problems. After getting accepted to the UCEAP program, I intended to apply for a position as a research intern at Chatham House. This did not happen because of lack of funding for applying for a working visa. Joining and participating in many events as a member of Chatham House and IISS still allowed me to become part of some of the most respected and recognizable international affairs think tanks in the world.
I would not be able to participate in this activity without a grant because the living cost in London became a hindrance for an extra project like this. Scholarships like these will allow students to expand their study abroad experience regardless of their financial status.
I would recommend this scholarship for future applicants who also have the interests in immersing themselves in global affairs discussions and sharing their ideas with other politicians and diplomats. Participating in these programs will also provide them with a greater network. Also, to future applicants, studying abroad is already a great start for developing your undergraduate studies but having the chance to expand it even more by joining interesting organizations you associate with, or doing something that could benefit your future career, gives you more boost in landing a job.Joseph Christian Agbagala