Soeren

JOB TITLE
Reader in Politics and International Relations

INDUSTRY
Higher Education

EMPLOYER
Canterbury Christ Church University

I left Kent in 2010 after completing both my Masters’ degree and my PhD in International Relations at the School of Politics and International Relations. While I studied to become an academic, finding a job in academia at the time was very difficult for early career researchers. So when an opportunity came up to join a charity in Dover (Dover Detainee Visitor Group) as a project manager, I jumped at it. I stayed with the charity for 2 years, before I returned to academia when Canterbury Christ Church University offered me a job as a Lecturer in International Relations.
Today I am a Reader in Politics and International Relations, I teach mainly courses on conflict studies, IR theory and also occasionally on comparative politics and I supervise Bachelor, Master and PhD theses. I also conduct academic research, my field of interest is post-conflict institution building, particularly in terms of territorial autonomy. My new 2018 book focuses on “Federalism and Conflict Resolution” and I also work on the Western Balkans, and have an edited volume forthcoming titled “The Europeanization of the Western Balkans”.

In addition to this, I am also responsible for a good share of academic administration. I am the Research Lead for Politics and IR at Christ Church (together with Dr David Bates), and in 2017-2018 I was also responsible for Level 4 i.e. First-year students.
My advice for current students would be to think early about what kind of job you want, and what you need to do to get there. I wanted to be an academic after 3 days at University for my first degree. Everything since then has been designed so I can achieve this goal, including studying abroad (I am actually German), completing a PhD, and taking on lots of teaching.

I am originally from Germany and came to the UK (and Kent) in 2005. I have also lived for a year in Sarajevo, Bosnia to conduct research for my PhD, and one year in Brussels, where I worked.
I wanted to do a post-graduate degree in the UK so I applied to numerous universities and got accepted at nearly all of them (including Cambridge University). I chose Kent, because I met someone at a conference who had completed her undergraduate degree there and she loved it and was very positive about it.
I did a lot of internships to try out things. For example, I interned in schools to see if becoming a teacher would be for me. I also interned with an MP, which turned into a one-year job in Berlin. Internships are great, because they give you the opportunity to try things out, and to find things you like, and you do not like to do in the future.
In addition, I was always active in University politics. I was active in a political society in Germany and at Kent, and also acted as course representative for my PhD programme.