Maureen Bungei couldn’t be happier with her decision to study International Relations with International Law at Kent, and how it’s setting her up for the future career she has always wanted.
What attracted you to Kent?
When I was researching which University to study at, four things stood out; availability of January intake, quality of education, diversity of the student population, and the quality of life during and after campus. The majority of the universities worldwide have their major intake in September and this made the University of Kent exceptional to be offering a course I wanted to pursue in January.
As an international student, the diversity of the student population was so personal knowing the benefits of getting a multicultural experience in a course like international relations. The move back to face-to-face lectures with COVID still on the horizon was equally brave, observing all the safety measures that were put in place, like blended learning and an option to attend class online should you need to quarantine.
Other added advantages were the close proximity of the university to London and the serene environment to study.
‘I strongly believe this course has what it takes to make great global leaders and statesmen.’
How is your course going?
International Relations with International Law is such a great combination. So far, I am loving the modules, they are engaging and relevant. I was thrilled throughout the Negotiation and Mediation lecture by Dr Kuzi where we took up seminars, case studies, and more thrilling real-life simulations on negotiation and mediation. For a second being a delegate and minister of a state representing a country’s interest in a mediation simulation felt so surreal and an affirmation to achieve my career goals. I strongly believe this course has what it takes to make great global leaders and statesmen.
What do you think about the lecturers and level of support in your studies?
The lecturers at the School of Political and International Relations are incredibly committed and supportive. As postgraduate students, we are given the opportunity to do personal studies, discuss with other students and critique the findings in a friendly learning environment supported by the lecturers.
The lecturers advertise their ‘open office hours’ which allow us to book a session with them for any academic guidance. We receive feedback on assignments or essays which is detailed and timely. This is as well as having a personal tutor, an experience I had never had before. It is just incredible how the lecturers are devoted to working with students.
How would you describe your fellow students?
I have met ambitious, smart, determined and the most friendly students here at Kent. Studying in a foreign country far away from family and friends was daunting at first. But as soon I was here, most of the students were always ready to offer help or redirect me to the correct desk – your school, student union, the support & wellbeing.
I remember a student I had approached to ask about the Library and on finding out I was new, she literally took her time to do a tour of the whole Library, the study areas, IT support, how to borrow and return books, and then we had my first coffee at the Library café. The student community here is simply amazing.
What are the facilities like on campus?
Canterbury campus has been equipped with facilities that offer a great experience for all student’s needs. The library stands out for me. It’s massive, well stocked with books/ journals, open 24/7, and the ability to have differentiated sections for silent study, group work or private study rooms is inspiring for students. I have spent a lot of time in the Templeman Library!
The lecture halls are pretty modern and comfortable enough for you to sit in a two-hour lecture or seminar, my favourite halls being in Keynes College. Several schools have a cool spot equipped with a colourful lounge area, with a bar or restaurants nearby. The health and sports activities are also catered for from the well-equipped gym to physiotherapy, basketball, volleyball, tennis courts, football, and rugby pitches. It’s all there for you to maximize your student experience.
What about the social life?
Canterbury campus has over 200 clubs and societies that students are open to choose from and participate in. I have been spoilt for choice sometimes due to several events taking place week on week from live theatre performances, cinema, quizzes, dancing, debates, and picnics that create spaces for students to socialize and network. I have visited the famous Oxford University, museums and the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge courtesy of the university chaplaincy team events.
You will certainly be invited to conferences with high-profile guests by your school or come across it on the Kent social media to be involved. These are great events to network with academics, alumni, and professionals that you should take advantage of.
What kind of career do you hope to follow, and why?
I have always believed I could make a great foreign affairs analyst or diplomat. I am passionate about foreign policy, international trade, human rights and sustainable environments. After my master’s in International Relations, I will look for some experience in the civil service stream, ministry of trade and foreign services, or other relevant non-governmental organizations. Foreign affairs analysis helps non-governmental organizations, government agencies and private-sector corporations alike formulate or revise their policies based on what’s going on in strategically important parts of the world.
We have seen the impact of the war in between Russia and Ukraine and how its escalation has impacted other countries globally, causing fuel crisis and catalyzing inflation in so many countries. The modules offered in my course currently assist me in understanding what is happening in the world and why. I strongly see myself acquiring the necessary skills needed to achieve my goals once I complete my degree.
Is there anything else you would like to share about your time at Kent?
There is an active student union that is led by students who are working hard to ensure your voice as a student is heard and well represented. I have been keen on representation whether at the workplace or in lecture halls. When I did my first master’s I was the youngest in a group of mature students, but I still took the challenge to be their class president.
Earlier in May, I have been successfully elected as the chair network for postgraduates across all campuses in the coming academic year 2022/2023. I am looking forward to supporting Kent Union, VP postgrad, student reps, clubs, BAME societies and you on matters affecting students and as such be responsive, efficient, and accountable while at it.
Is there any advice you’d like to pass on?
Choosing to study at Kent university has been one of the best decisions I ever made. Since arriving in Canterbury 4 months ago, I have achieved so much. Made friends from different countries, and attended my first Pride Canterbury and summer ball event. A few weeks ago I completed an intensive a 3 days “Destination for Success Bootcamp” and now doing an internship with Bright Network UK under public sector, policy, and Charity stream, all signposted by the Kent Careers and Employability Services.
Come to Kent, there are so many opportunities; social and professional events to build your network and skills and boost your personal development in addition to your studies. There is a support service to help you throughout your campus life when you need it. Whether a returning student or a new student, there will always be something priceless at Kent, a moment for you that will be memorable!