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Politics and International RelationsPart of Economic, Social and Political Science

Rebekah Kulidzan BSc Politics and International Relations, 2016

MSc Social Research Methods at the London School of Economics

Rebekah Kulidzan's Photo

I chose a module in Global Health, which was University-wide and which meant that I was sitting in a class with medics, Mathematics and Economics students. It was really interesting to be in that environment because Global Health is something that is interdisciplinary in the real world, and we all came at it with different angles. It’s great that Southampton allows you to do that, and it's really benefited me in widening my knowledge

Why did you choose to study at Southampton?

I think the reason I chose to study at Southampton was because I really enjoyed the fact that you could study beyond just Politics, so during my time here I’ve studied modules in Demography and I’m going on to do a master’s in Social Research which is a subset of Statistics. Had I not come to this University and done a BSc as opposed to a BA I wouldn’t have been able to do that.

Were there any aspects of the course that stood out to you?

I really enjoyed Political Theory in my first year. The stand-out lecturers that I had, I would say, were Dr Russell Bentley, who was my tutor as well and who’s been amazing throughout my whole time here and is also a lecturer in Political Theory. Dr Justin Murphy has also been a great lecturer and friend throughout this whole time, and he’s quite innovative in his teaching. Just today he won an award for innovation in teaching from our department. I took Justin’s module in Politics of the Media, which was really great and really interesting, because he had quite a different take on it to what most people have in that discipline. I also really enjoyed the modules in statistics, so I furthered that in my third year and specialised in that in my dissertation thesis.

Did you have the opportunity to study any interdisciplinary modules?

I’m really interested in Demography so I chose a module in Global Health, which was University-wide and which meant that I was sitting in a class with medics, Mathematics and Economics students. Whoever was interested in Global Health could take that module, and it was really interesting to be in that environment because Global Health is something that is interdisciplinary in the real world, and we all came at it with different angles. It’s great that Southampton allows you to do that, and it's really benefited me in widening my knowledge. I also made quite a few friends in Population Geography and Economics and various other departments across the University, even departments outside Social Sciences, such as Medicine, through studying interdisciplinary modules like that, which also helped me to relate to what they’re doing and exchange perspectives and knowledge.

Did you take part in any extracurricular activities during your time here?

I was president of Lawyers Without Borders, which was great because I also met a lot of people within Law and I also worked with a lot of big companies who came down to sponsor us at Southampton and I went and did some internships through that. I set up the United Nations Association with some of my peers, and it was basically a group of us who were connected by Russell Bentley because we had all asked whether there was a United Nations Affiliated Group, and there wasn’t, so we all got put together to make one ourselves, which was absolutely amazing. I still get to attend events in Central London and abroad if I can afford it which has been really fun. I was on the Ladies’ Basketball team in my final year, and we came second in the league which has been something really cool to be a part of. I was a brand ambassador for Deloitte which was so different and exciting because I was thrown into a kind of corporate setting whilst still being on campus. I had training days up in London, I had emotional intelligence training from Penny Blake, something that I can put on my CV that everyone asks for, but I also got to see the company’s activities and image from a student’s perspective and give feedback as a student to a multinational corporation that’s one of the biggest accountancy firms in the world, and people always impressed and ask about that whenever I go to interviews or talk to people, and that was just literally through meeting someone on campus and applying.

What are your plans following university?

I’m going to study an MSc in Social Research Methods after graduating, at the London School of Economics. I’m really interested in election forecasting and predictive statistics so I hope to look a little more into that, whether it be to go into public relations or forecasting itself.

How has Brexit influenced your university experience?

My dissertation thesis was on predictive statistics for election polling data and so Brexit obviously came into my research. People were writing about it but not necessarily being published yet because it was very new. I also did a module on the Politics and Governance of the EU, and we held an EU symposium, where we invited MEPs and Members of Parliament to come down and debate with us about Brexit before it happened and discuss what our views from different standpoints. We also have the Erasmus Society on campus which held this big evening with representatives from the EU who actually gave up their jobs to campaign for Stronger In, and our local MP also came down and talked to us about what the effects would be for students.

What has been your proudest moment from your time here?

Putting one achievement down as my proudest moment is hard, but I’m proud of my academic achievements. I’m graduating with a first, and at times in my degree I didn’t think that I would be standing here today saying that, but with the support of my friends and my tutors I’ve managed to do that and it’s been amazing. But also the involvement that I’ve had with so many different clubs and societies and jobs whilst being here has been really rewarding.

Do you have any advice for students about to start their degree at Southampton?

The advice that I would have for students starting their degree at Southampton would be to get involved, be up to date, be on social media, and don’t just Snapchat with your friends, actually introduce social media in a thought-provoking way and engage with things beyond your studies. So whilst I’m tweeting about stuff I’m learning, there’s bound to be people around the world who will tweet back. We have conferences here that have official hashtags, and when you tweet using those hashtags researchers from all over the world can see your tweets and send you useful resources. For my dissertation, the person who influenced my study was quite heavy on social media and he actually tweeted to me directly so I used that stuff in my dissertation. So I think if you’re studying Politics you have to be up to date, but the easiest way and most important way is to harness social media properly, people are using it for education now and it’s a new way to innovate. People like Justin Murphy and Russell Bentley, and other people across our faculty are using it in their classroom, and there’s a reason for that, so if you applying to do Politics at Southampton start doing that now so that you’re ahead of the game.

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