What are you studying at NMBU?
Master of Science in International Relations at Noragric.
Why did you choose NMBU?
I was lucky enough to visit NMBU before I applied. It was a great experience; people were friendly and went out of their way to help me. I loved the campus and the green surroundings. I liked the fact that environmental research was a focus across the university, and that there were a lot of resources for international students. I also wanted to experience what living ‘on campus’ was like.
What have been the highlights of your study programme to date?
Some of the courses in my first year were really interesting and I was able to have one of my term papers published on the site E-International Relations , which I was really proud of. In the second year of my degree I took the opportunity to apply for the Norwegian Refugee Council, who are in partnership with NMBU for internship placements. I was successful in securing a 12 week placement in the Partnerships and Policy department, where I worked with advocacy issues. That internship took me to Nairobi where I was responsible for organising and coordinating the global advocacy seminar, which brought NRC advocacy officers together to discuss and develop their global strategy and ambitions. It was a great insight into the humanitarian sector and how a global organisation functions. NRC was also a great place to be an intern, they really look after you and treat you as an equal staff member. The people that work there are great too!
What are the advantages of studying International Relations at NMBU?
Before coming to NMBU, I had no academic experience with International Relations. During my first year I was able to develop a solid understanding of the theoretical structure and background of IR, coupled with necessary research skills and in topics such as foreign policy and political economy. It also strengthened my analytical and critical thinking, and allowed me to understand different perspectives in international politics. The term paper assessments helped to further develop my long form academic writing and argumentative ability. The opportunity to gain practical experience through an internship added another dimension of learning to the degree.
How do you think your studies at NMBU will influence your career opportunities?
Choosing NMBU has been a great decision. I have had the opportunity to learn more about a subject I am interested in, while developing skills which will be useful in future professional or academic careers. I have gained immensely from being a part of the student community, volunteering for several organisations and picking up practical skills along the way. I know my two years here have also helped me grow as a person, and the confidence I get from that makes me feel I could would be well-suited to many different working environments. I think my future career will have an international scope, which my degree opens the door for. I want to do work that is meaningful and to be helpful in what I do.
Any advice for new students regarding study at Noragric/NMBU?
There is so much I could say! I think the most important thing for a new student is to remember that a university is an environment of opportunity. You will come to learn and study towards a degree, which is your main goal. But there are so many other things going on that you should be open to trying your hand at. I found these to be everywhere at NMBU. Look for every chance to volunteer, attend interesting events and say yes to as many opportunities as you can. There will be short term benefits to doing this, and some long term ones that you won’t realise straight away. But it will pay off for you and make your time at NMBU even more rewarding.
Sam Davis, from New Zealand, is studying for his Masters in International Relations at NMBU's Department of International Environment and Development Studies (Noragric).