Student Profiles

This is Andrea! He is a second year IRPH student and he comes from Italy. He answered some questions about the IRPH program, his experiences and internship opportunities.


Why did you choose IRPH?
I chose IRPH because I believe this program is able to combine the best aspects of the study of international relations and history. I also very much enjoy the flexibility of the program, which allows me to pursue a minor in another subject and to analyze current political issues from different perspectives.

What’s the best thing you have learned so far in IRPH?
I believe that the best thing I have learned from IRPH so far is that the decision-making process in politics has to be analyzed from different perspectives and that international relations are regulated by specific theories.

What’s your favorite class?
Last year I really enjoyed the class called “Comparing Political Systems”, which allowed me to acquire the fundamental tools to better understand the world of international relations. My favorite current class is “Empires and Nation States”, I really like it because it analyzes in depth historical events that led to the current political and economical situation in Europe and other areas of the globe.

What can you tell us about the internship you did this summer?
Last summer I had the opportunity to work at the UN headquarter in Geneva. When I started my job I was really worried. However, I soon realized that the classes I took during my first year gave me strong academic and practical skills, which helped me to face the several challenges I encountered.


This is Amanda! She is a second year IRPH student and comes from China. She answered some questions about the IRPH program and her experiences


Why did you decide to study international relations?
I was always fascinated by various cultures, especially learning about how people from different cultural backgrounds have different attitudes, opinions, and solutions towards a same problem. I also always wanted to help others with their confusions or problems. Then I was thinking how can I help people in need and solve world problems in an effective way for my whole life? Politics came to my mind. To combine everything that I like, I really think International Relations is the right choice for me.

What is your favorite class in Jacobs and why?
I like a lot of courses in Jacobs. I think Regional Integration is one of my favorites. I like courses that allow you to express your own opinions, share knowledge from your home countries, and discuss with the entire class. This can be very interesting, especially when we take advantage of the Jacobs community – all of us come from very different cultural backgrounds. Regional Integration has an amazing atmosphere for all this diversity and freedom of expression. We also often talk about current events, like Brexit, and the US election, which makes theories not just appear on textbooks. And of course, the highlight of the course was an excursion to Berlin, visiting German Foreign Office and European Commission. This excursion brings politics and world problems even closer to me than ever.

Which advice would you give to a future IRPH student?
I think the most important thing is really to have a passion for your major. If you are not sure whether you are making the right decision about your major, maybe just see if you’re willing to spend your free time doing things related to your major, and whether you can imagine yourself doing so for a long time period in your life. If you always read news in your free time and like to discuss political issues with friends, and you can imagine yourself doing debates and speeches, then IRPH is probably the right choice for you. Plus, I really think Jacobs has a very unique environment for IR, since your school mates are from over 100 countries. You nearly never need to worry about not being able to see the “real picture” of incidents and events, because you could just go and ask people who were living there at lunchtime.

This is Liam! He comes from Hong Kong, and he’s a second year IRPH student. But that wasn’t always the case. Liam actually started studying Biochemistry when he came to Jacobs, but then changed his mind! He answered some questions about the IRPH program and his experiences!



Why did you decide to study international relations?

I started as a Biochemistry and Cell Biology major in my freshman year, but over the time I came to become increasingly aware that research-intensive natural sciences is not a field that I would ever dedicate to for life. At that time, I had been pondering over if I should change my major and more importantly what should I change to? With a social science background from high school, I started to divert my attention to subjects that have connection, in one way or another, to what I used to do. After numerous “trials” entailing countless talks with professors & friends in the relative areas and going to different lectures other than the BCCB ones, I came to the final verdict that this is the one major that I am more than sure about changing to. IRPH just fascinated me not only with its transdisciplinary studies including diplomacy, international law, peace and security, intercultural change, economics, and finances, but also its focal point on how to shed light on offering solutions for future through studying both the present and the past. In a world of turmoil, demagogy, radicalism and violence, there is an urgent need of people who can make positive impacts in various actor sectors, whether in domestic, international, or independent social spheres. Changing the major to IRPH is definitely one of the boldest decisions I have ever made in my life, but till now there has never been a day that I shun away in repentance and doubt on whether the major is right for me. Sometimes, the “unsolicited” nostalgia of BCCB does come back, but the sense of fulfillment and achievement just overpowers everything and reminds me on a daily basis that I am one step closer to what I have been envisioning.

What is your favorite class in Jacobs and why?

My favorite class so far is International Security by Prof. Marco Verweij. It was the first time I was ever exposed to a systematic body of International Relations theories, ranging from realism, liberalism, functionalism, feminism, rationalism, constructivism to cultural theories. What is truly riveting about this course is that we did not just learn the theories by heart, but we were expected to analyze either historical or current affairs using the given framework and theoretical background. Although I had to admit that the “dreadfully” long readings and essay-style exams intimated me on an unprecedented level at first, I have gained some of the necessary skills that are pertinent to succeeding in International Relations: such as advanced analytical skills, organizing complex information in a systematic manner, as well as defending your own position with verifiable empirical argumentation.

Which advice would you give to a future IRPH student?

One of the most important suggestions I could ever give for future IRPH students is to take advantage of the resources that this major can offer. You can find any information or insider’s perspectives from enormous alumni networks, professors, or fellow students. In general, IRPH is a community of supportive and enthusiastic individuals that are really devoted to what they do and It is all about what you make out of it.