Helen Whyman

MA International Relations, 2016

Helen Whyman

I hope to work in International Development, particularly focused on promoting gender equality, in particular I hope to be involved in research and policy work

Helen completed a BA in Human Geography at Exeter University in 2012. She then spent a couple of years working in administration before enrolling on the MA in International Studies. She will graduate in 2016.

I had completed my BA in Human Geography at Exeter University in 2012 and thought I had finished with my formal education! I worked for a couple of years in an administrative role, before realizing that I still wanted to study. I really wanted to start a career in International Development, which is something that I am very passionate about, and I wanted to learn more about the issues that surround it. The opportunity to challenge myself and return to academia after a break really appealed to me.

The listed modules for the course at Brookes sounded so interesting, it was exactly what I wanted, particularly ‘International Development’ and ‘Gender in a Global Context’. The staff were fantastic and brilliantly engaging and I found myself enjoying parts of the course much more than I had expected to which gave me a real confidence boost. I particularly enjoyed taking part in the field trip which gave a real insight into some of the institutions that were relevant to our studies, particularly the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which I would not have had access to otherwise.

I was a student representative for the course, which gave me the chance to give student feedback directly to the staff. This was great as it gave me an insight into how student experience shapes the course. Alongside this, I can honestly say all of the staff that I came across were extremely helpful and I enjoyed the working relationships that I had with them.

Oxford is a beautiful city with lots of interesting places to visit – it is well located to get to London or into some lovely Cotswold’s villages. Being in Oxford also carries great benefits for your studies; having access to the Bodleian library is certainly a bonus, but Brookes library was more than enough for what I needed.

I hope to work in International Development, particularly focused on promoting gender equality, in particular I hope to be involved in research and policy work. The course has been essential to giving me the skills to get me on my way there as it has helped me to develop a really good range of understanding, allowing me to see issues within their global contexts. It also enabled me to develop my writing skills which I hope will hold me in good stead for my career goals. You certainly need good organisation skills for the course, which a lot of employers find attractive! You really get a chance to develop your communication skills as well, be that through contribution to seminars, presentations or essay writing.