Graduate profile: working in the House of Commons

Recent Politics and IR Undergraduate Emma Booth, has had a fantastic start to her career, working in the House of Commons, and now working in Public Affairs. Reflecting upon her time at the House of Commons, Emma discusses working in Parliament and with MPs. 

“From being Chair of Kent Labour Students to representing over 5000 students as Social Sciences Faculty Rep, it is safe to say my time at Kent provided me with the confidence and skills that got me to where I am today.

I was lucky enough to secure myself a job in the House of Commons working for two Labour MPs before I graduated (that said I would also urge you to have a well-deserved break post university pre work life). Working in the Commons is not like any other job you will do, you never really know what you might expect on a daily basis, what press calls you might receive or even if your MP is going to get promoted. I started off working for two shadow ministers, one in Education and one in Treasury so I quickly learnt exactly how parliament worked, and how to effectively hold government to account.

It would never cease to amaze me working in such a bold and historic building and just how much you would learn from being immersed in its surroundings every day. Before I started I always found MPs to be quite intimidating but once you’re working with them on a daily basis you build up an amazing relationship that you wouldn’t quite get in any other job. You’d know so much about them as a person to really grasp what exactly you had to do to make their lives easier.

You can talk to as many different parliamentary researchers/assistants (they’re the same thing) as you like but they’ll always have something different to tell you and a different angle on how parliament works and what it’s like to work for an MP. In many ways working in parliament feels like an extension to university, you’re with people your own age (most parliamentary researchers are young to mid-twenties although this isn’t always the case) who are also straight out of university and you’re just constantly learning. Whether it’s about a specific issue in your MPs constituency or trying to wrap your head around and do a briefing on the Finance Bill – no day will be like the other. The other secret bonus is that Parliament has a bar (correctly speaking it has several) where researchers from all parties will go to after work and try their best not to talk about politics.

I’ve now moved on from parliament, to work in Public Affairs – a job that requires you to know the ins and outs of how parliament works as well as knowing as many MPs as possible.

To those considering working in Parliament and even taking that job onto public affairs or press, I would highly recommend doing everything possible at university to get involved. It’s very easy to become obsessed with just focusing on your degree (which is still something you should do!) but you will gain all the life skills for a future career by getting involved with societies, playing sports and just leaving your comfort zone a little bit and taking on new challenges.”

Student testimonial: Internship at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Elena Filip, a recent graduate from the School of Politics and IR, with a bachelor’s in Politics and International Relations, recently undertook an extremely competitive and valuable internship at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the Romanian Ministry. In this piece, Elena reflects upon her experience, discussing her role at the Ministry and how this has influenced her future career.

The internship at the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) was part of an initiative-project promoted by the Romanian Government, Romanian Ministries and other political institutions. The project’s aim was to offer the youth the chance to observe how the central public administration works and to see what can be improved or changed within it.

There were 7,500 candidates who applied for the whole project and only 10 available positions within the MFA. Working with the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for two months was an outstanding experience. Securing this internship was one of my goals after graduating from Kent and also the path I want to build my future career on.

During the first month of the internship I worked in the Communication and Spokesman Department. The environment was very active and I had to be available every moment to help the staff with different inquires, from filling in reports, analysing the news that may affect the Ministry, either positively or negatively, to participating in press conferences with diplomats. I also took part in the Annual Reunion of Romanian Diplomacy, as one of the press department representatives, where I had the chance to meet with ambassadors, diplomats and well-known politicians.

In the second month I worked in the European Union Department, more precisely, in the sector that is focusing on the Europe 2020 Strategy. Overall, my job was to submit a report, analysing the European Commission’s recommendations for each European Union member state from different perspectives, such as calitatively, quantitatively and sectorial. I participated in an event organised by the Embassy of Netherlands to Bucharest, focussing on how we can make the available data from governments and other institutions more open and easily accessible for every citizen.

Beside my work in the MFA, I took part in different events and visits organised by the project. I visited the Romanian Parliament, observing the democratic process within the Deputies Chamber, the National Bank of Romania, the Embassy of Canada to Bucharest, and I took part in meetings with the Romanian Prime Minister, Ministers and also with the USA chargé d’affaires to Bucharest.

This internship helped me realise that the career I want to develop is in diplomacy, to represent my country in diplomatic missions overseas and to help improve Romania’s image worldwide.

Interning at the EU Commission

Daniel Quirk, a current stage 2 Politics and History student, completed an internship at the Representation of European Commission to the UK. Daniel reflects upon his experience, including his responsibilities and the key aspects of the internship that he enjoyed.


My internship experience as a stagiaire at the European Commission Representation to the United Kingdom in London has helped me to develop my professional skills and has added something unique to my CV to impress future employers. I applied for this placement because I am interested in pursuing a career in politics and have focused my studies on European politics in particular, so undertaking an internship under the European Commission has definitely given me a better understanding of working for the EU and helped me consider my future opportunities. This experience also gave me an insight into the work of the Representation in the UK and how they represent the Commission to British citizens.

Working in the Communications Department, I was given a variety of long running projects over the internship period which were perfectly suited to the skills I have already been developing through my degree. My first main task was researching the traineeships which are available to British citizens within all the main EU institutions to put into a single resource for students and the Representation to use. I was also given the assignment of looking through EU-funded projects in the UK and collecting the details of their locations to be used for a website map of UK EU-funded projects. This was so the Representation could clearly present to citizens the projects the EU supports in the UK. These tasks allowed me to apply my aptitudes in researching and data collection that I have gained through my course and introduced me to the extent of investment the EU has put into the UK.

The most interesting part of this internship experience was being within the EU institution during a critical time in EU and UK relations. My internship at the Commission took place throughout the referendum and post-Brexit period and I have been able to see for myself the way the referendum result is being received and acted on. This has certainly added to the value of taking part in this experience. After the referendum, I was asked to help with organising some of the logistics of a debate which the Representation wanted to hold for the State of the EU Speech in September. This involved me helping with gathering contacts to invite to the event and helping on the day with the events delivery.

This stagiaire placement has given me the ability to develop my skills and also a clearer view of what I would like to pursue in the future. I would like to thank Claire Tanner in the School of Politics and International Relations for selecting me to undertake this wonderful opportunity. I would also like to thank the Representation for hosting me as an intern and providing an enjoyable placement.

Get involved with Enactus Kent!

Would you like to work with an international non-profit organisation, with a focus on  student led projects? Are you interested in gaining events, marketing or recruitment experience? Then Enactus Kent could be the ideal way to gain this experience! Sharad Kiswani, Operations Vice-President of Enactus Kent, introduces the organisation below and the types of projects they are involved in.

Hello everyone!

Enactus Kent is a student led organisation, where students are encouraged to create their own projects following the Enactus criterion using “entrepreneurial action to empower people to improve their livelihoods in an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable way.” Enactus is an international non-profit organisation aimed at university students by business and higher-educational leaders, in order to make a difference in the community while developing the skills to become socially responsible business leaders.

Currently, Enactus has are over 70 000 students, spread across 36 countries, working on nearly 5000 projects each year. That’s over 5 million volunteer hours, impacting the lives of nearly 2 million people.


At Enactus Kent, we see opportunity to rethink and redevelop. Bringing students, academic leaders and businesses together, in order to shape a bigger, brighter and a sustainable future. So whether you are into design, economics, law, science, engineering, psychology, we believe that there is an entrepreneur spirit in all of us, ready to take action. While working with multinationals including Amazon, Ford, KPMG, Tesco, Santander and many more, we take this opportunity to make a difference in the world.

As of now, we have endeavoured to dispel isolation among the elderly community in Peru through our honey and soap enterprise through our international venture Project Cantuta. We also work to empower the homeless in Canterbury by training them to serve as tour guides through our local project, MyStreets. Further, we plan to be working towards empowering women in India by establishing a female taxi initiative through our new enterprise, Project Badlaav.

Enactus 2

Be a part of our wonderful projects or start our very own with a basic idea! If you’re interested to work in our internal team, you can get involved in various channels including our events, marketing and recruitment teams. For more information regarding our events or the application process, please contact: or visit

Find us on:





Students develop new app to aid refugees seeking asylum

eLog is the name of a new innovative app, designed by Cesare Dunker and Rayyan Sorefan. The app can help immigration departments distinguish between genuine and fraudulent asylum claims.

Cesare, a Politics and International Relations student, and Rayyan a Law student, won Kent’s Big Ideas Competition, which gave them the opportunity to compete in an international entrepreneurship competition at Virginia Tech, USA, where their idea won a $5,000 top prize.

Presenting eLog


The app tracks an asylum seekers migration using geo-tagging, time mapping, and photo recognition. This enables asylum seekers to build their own comprehensive asylum case, helping immigration departments process genuine asylum cases faster, and detect fraudulent cases.

The idea was born after Cesare had witnessed the Refugee Crisis first hand while travelling through Europe in 2015, and then reading an Independent article titled: ‘Surprised that Syrian refugees have smartphones? Sorry to break this to you, but you are an idiot’. Cesare realised that the phones refugees were carrying could be used to allow for a new form of technological humanitarian aid.

Google Maps navigates asylum seekers through Europe, and translation apps help overcoming language barriers in different European countries. Asylum seekers are clearly using smartphone technology to get to and through Europe, so why not use it to gather documentation in order to apply for asylum?

Winning the $5,000 top prize secured a first investment, and eLog will continue the development of what they call ‘technological humanitarian aid’ at the University of Kent’s HIVE facility (Hub for Innovation and Enterprise).

For details about HIVE please visit 

Thomas Lodge: my internship at the International Seabed Authority

Current second year PolIR student Thomas Lodge, interned at the ISA, a body of the United Nations in Kingston, Jamaica, during the summer. Here Thomas shares his experience:

UN/ISA Internship –  Summer 2015

“I was lucky enough to be able to do an internship at the International Seabed Authority (ISA) in the summer of 2015, through a family member. The ISA is a body of the United Nations located in Kingston, Jamaica, which is where I went for 3 weeks to attend and work at the 21st Session of the ISA. I was participating and working during the General Assembly, Council and Legal and Technical Commission meetings.

Thomas Lodge Nation group sub-debate in the Council
Nation group sub-debate in the Council

After some study of the UN from an academic perspective, it was really exciting to see it work in action. Through the internship I was able to attend and work in private meetings, which gave me amazing insight into the workings of international politics.  I was part of a team keeping notes and records of every session. The actual work was very intense and required attention to detail but it was very rewarding to be part of international legislation being made. The records I kept were vital to draft legislation and official session documents that have been and will be published.

The work I did during the internship further developed my research, communication and working under pressure skills. I learnt a great deal about myself and my abilities, pushing myself to my limits in a real working environment was invaluable to me and was very rewarding.

Thomas Lodge UN Intern Team
UN Intern Team

The international environment that working at the ISA involved was a great experience. I was able to have constant interaction with delegates from over 100 different nations, also including senior members of the Secretariat and United Nations. The interactions were not always formal in nature as I was able to attend side events and evening receptions held over the course of the 3 weeks, often held by the different embassies and consulates in Jamaica.

I hope to be able to find and complete more internships or working opportunities before I leave university and I would encourage others to try the same as it offers an invaluable experience and opens the door to many other opportunities.”

Student Internship: Planning Commission of Pakistan, Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms


Current stage 3 student, Mohammad Ali Shah, interned at the Planning Commission of Pakistan during the summer. Mohammad shares his experience, discussing the type of work undertaken, those in the Ministry whom he worked for and highlights of his time there.

I interned for 8 weeks, between the end of July and the first week of September at the Planning Commission of Pakistan, which is a part of the Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms. (Government of Pakistan)

I chose this internship because governance and policy making are very relevant to the degree I am doing, therefore it sparked a great interest in me. I have always been interested in macro-economic, development and social policy-making and I wanted to experience the making and execution of these policies first hand.

I worked under two very senior members of the Ministry namely: Mr. Syed Naseer Ahmed Gillani, who is the Joint Secretary for Administration at the Ministry, and, Mr. Malik Ahmad Khan, who is the Member of Infrastructure and Regional Connectivity, at the Planning Commission of Pakistan.

Under the guidance and mentor-ship of these two, I gained an extensive understanding of policy-making and its effective execution at government-level. They were very senior members of the Planning Commission and the Ministry, therefore they kept busy and had to constantly travel back and forth between their offices and Cabinet offices. Hence, it was rather tough for me to have lengthy one on one sessions with them. Despite this, they managed to give me enough guidance and help for me to carry out my tasks.

As a part of the internship, I produced a fifteen-page report on how climate change is impacting not only the global economy, but specially the developing world, particularly Pakistan. The report also contained details on the feasibility of alternative energy for both the developed and developing worlds. The report was concluded with an analysis of the reasons for Pakistan’s energy crisis, and Pakistan’s possible future contributions to the global struggle against climate change.

I also produced four short reports. The first, an analysis of the innate relationship between Capitalism and Climate Change, making references to Naomi Klein’s book ‘This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs The Climate’. The second, an analysis on the IMF’s report on Pakistan’s impending water crisis, and its implications on the future of the country’s socio-economic structure. The third, a ‘concept note’ on climate change and its impact on Pakistan’s economic progress, Pakistan’s near-future water crisis, and possible solutions to both problems. The fourth, a report on globalization and its ever-changing implications.

If there was anything I particularly enjoyed, it was to experience and observe what the environment is like in a governmental work-place, and getting to know how senior policy-makers and bureaucrats go about their every-day work-related tasks.


Student Testimony: Child Rights and You

CRY Kinnari

Kinnari Doke, a current stage 3 student, studying BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations, undertook an internship at Childs Rights and You organisation in India.

I interned at Child Rights and You (CRY), a non- profit organization in India, that wishes to reinstate and restore children’s privileges. It enables people to take responsibility for the situation of the deprived Indian child and so motivates them to seek resolution through individual and collective action, thereby enabling children to realise their full potential.

I interned at CRY for 6 weeks, from 22 June to 30 July 2015, with Policy Research and Advocacy function. My primary tasks and responsibilities included:

  • Writing a concept note on Right to Health from Lens of Child Rights.
  • Writing a note on children as a domestic labourers- Issue and Concerns.
  • Carrying out a desk research for Parliamentarians.
  • Making a presentation on a rapid Survey of Children 2013-2014, Ministry of Women and Children Development Government of India.
  • Making a Presentation on The Small Factories (Regulation of employment and condition of service) Bill, 2014.
  • Streamlining of document UN latest Resolution on Right to Education.
  • Writing a note on ‘Why is it critical to invest in Children aged 0 to 6 years of age’

Working at CRY allowed me to have a more detailed acquaintance about the children’s life and especially the unfortunate one.  My tasks gave me a better empathetic view of the society. Most prominently, it has aided me to attain better insights to the plight of the children that the organisation is working for. Being my first ever internship at any organisation I was exposed to a lot of situations, and it helped me in not only dealing with those but also preparing a contingent plan in case of emergencies. In fact, working with so many people has developed my soft skills like linguistics, communication, leadership and other interpersonal skills.

Student Internship at the Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria




Current student David Alfred-Olufeyimi undertook a summer internship at the Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria. David tells us about his experience, including how and why he did this internship:

To be perfectly honest, a summer internship was not on the cards when I finished my exams back in May. Since Easter break, my mother had been harassing me about my plans for the summer and although I had mentioned that I was looking for some type of internship, my efforts were limited to quick Google searches on my phone during commercial breaks of ‘Scandal’. (Un)fortunately for me, my mother is the proactive kind, and had managed to find me an internship in corporate finance at the Nigerian headquarters of multinational bank Standard Chartered- one week before the start date. In Nigeria.

As a Politics and International Relations student, you might be wondering why I (read ‘my mother’) chose to do an internship in banking. Well the summer after my first year at Kent, I did an internship at Citi in their Trade and Treasury Solutions department, and it was surprisingly intriguing. After I had finished that internship I started looking more into banking; however I felt that I would need formal quantitative training before I could actively pursue a career in finance. That being said, I took this new opportunity as a sign and so I flew to Lagos and began work as a Debt Capital Markets intern. Essentially, a capital market is where buyers and sellers trade securities such as bonds and stocks. In a debt capital market, companies and government institutions ‘sell’ debts in the form of bonds, seeking investment, typically from financial institutions. It diversifies funding for the company, and is more cost-effective than raising capital in-house. Since I’m not doing a finance-related degree, I assumed my duties would consist mostly of photocopying and coffee-making. Luckily this wasn’t the case; my line manager handed me a number of investor presentations, as well as investment and accounting handbooks. I also drafted letters to clients who were looking to access the Eurobond market in Nigeria, an area in which Standard Chartered has a substantial amount of expertise. One interesting ‘real world’ development whilst I was there was the restrictions placed on foreign exchange by Nigeria’s central bank, creating complications in many of the bank’s dealings, which led to a number of frustrating conference calls with Standard Chartered offices in London and New York.

One might expect it to be difficult working in finance as a complete novice, but it was the cultural aspect that I found most challenging. Although I’m Nigerian I was born and raised in England, and being in a very hierarchical environment where almost every member of staff demands respect, it was quite the contrast to interning at American Multinational Citi the previous summer, where even interns were on a first-name basis with senior management. Although to some it might seem like an insignificant detail, to me it seemed to slow down the general working environment. But in today’s globalised society, adaptability is key.

All in all, it was a fascinating and insightful opportunity. I developed good relationships with people in the Capital and Advisory department, and even managed to have a conversation with the CEO who said that I would be welcome back after graduation! I certainly plan on applying to their various graduate schemes worldwide.

My internship at the Embassy of Romania in London

Current student Elena Filip shares her experience whilst interning at the Embassy of Romania in London.


Working for the Embassy of Romania in London was by far one of the most interesting experiences of my student life. I worked very hard for my application to be successful as I will focus my career on the diplomatic sector.

It was a very intense month, traveling to London, working with the staff and actually understanding how things work in an Embassy. I have also worked for the Romanian Consular Section as it is part of the Embassy, where I spent three out of the four weeks. Most of my job was centred in working with the public and helping them with different enquires such as filling out specific documents, giving information and also guiding people with more complicated issues to the relevant authorities. In my last week at the Embassy I was involved in media, PR and other politics-related activities.

I can truly say that the high points about this internship were the gain of some fantastic experiences within the diplomatic sector, the opportunity to work with a great staff and also that I had received a recommendation letter from the Romanian Ambassador. To be honest, the only low point was that I had to commute between Canterbury and London as this was very tiring.

Overall, it was an amazing opportunity and I am very thankful to be one of the Kent students that have accomplished some valuable experience over the summer.