International Relations presents its majors series webinars on International Relations in a 60-minute webinar and Q&A with college students and alumni. Our CollegeAdvisor panel will share their insider perspectives on how they chose their majors, how they applied successfully to colleges, and how they pursued their majors in college. Come ready to learn and bring your questions!

Date 02/06/2021
Duration 58:21

Webinar Transcription

2021-02-06 International Relations

[00:00:00] Hi everyone. Welcome to CollegeAdvisor’s webinar on International Relations. To orient everyone with the webinar timing, we’ll start off with a presentation. Then answer your questions in a live Q&A on the sidebar. You can download our slides and you can start submitting your questions in the Q&A tab.

So to start off, we can meet our presenters.

Perfect. I’ll kick it off here. Thanks Tess. Hi everyone. Hopefully you can hear me. If you can’t let us know my name is Gagan Vaseer. I am a senior advisor here at I went to undergrad [00:01:00] at duke university, studied in actual comparative studies and political science. And I have a master’s degree in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy school currently based out of Washington, DC, where I do strategy consulting.

Thanks for gun. Hey everyone. My name is Zach. I am currently in a first year at the Kennedy school, so you’re getting a double dose of Harvard Kennedy school action today. I graduated from the university of Chicago in 2018 with a degree in political science. I’m currently based in Cambridge, but I spent the last couple of years in Washington, DC.

And I’m originally from. Yeah. Okay, great. Thank you both for being here now. We’ll just go through the slides and answer some frequently asked questions about international relations and get some background on our panelists.

Yeah. So I can take it off here. Yes. I’ll kick it off here. So I actually, when I started college, I actually went to college to the neuroscience major as a pre-med. But previous studies, [00:02:00] even though I had no aspirations in that whatsoever, I grew up in a household that was somewhat political.

My mother to work for the Indian government. And I always had aspirations that were somewhat political as well, quickly. I was strong believer in NGOs and egos and really wanting to work in the UN world bank IMF space. The focus on diplomacy, international development, really ways to improve the way people live especially in the developing world.

And again, as I mentioned, I didn’t go into college thinking I was going to study international relations and really pivoted my academics and focus at the end of my sophomore year, which is when duke requires students to pick a major. So I picked the national competitor studies then, and then eventually also added on political science with a focus on international relations in my junior year.

Zach, how about you? Awesome. Thank you. Yeah, I was always interested in foreign policy, international affairs, current affairs. And when I [00:03:00] started at the university of Chicago, I knew I was going to do something, adjacent to that. I knew it was going to be political science or public policy at U Chicago.

We don’t actually have a, an international relations major. So you had to do most people, did public policy or political science and then tailored it to fit their their specialty and their interests. But I knew I wanted to do something that was gonna let me go abroad something that was gonna let me travel.

Something was going to let me meet people and get to know the world a little bit better. And it wasn’t until junior, senior year that I actually started getting really passionate about international development. And I’m currently a a pain fellow at the Kennedy school. So I’ll be joining the foreign service with the U S agency.

A us agency for international development after graduation. So I’ll be a diplomat focusing on democracy, stabilization and governance, and that was something that happened towards the end of my academic career, but it was nice to be able to through political science explore international relations foreign policy and get to see some of those.[00:04:00]

You guys can alternate through those first. I know that you’re in the same order, but what extracurriculars did you do? I can go into, to change things up a little bit. So in high school I went to, so I went to, just to, for everyone that’s this tuning in, I went to a big public high school with not a ton of opportunities.

I started to meet a lot of people that got to do a lot of really cool things in high school. And I felt like I was missing out on a ton. But I’m here to tell you that if you didn’t go to a high school where you were, getting, do amazing things, You weren’t, you’re not curing cancer, you’re not sailing around the world.

Don’t stress about that. You can do a lot of really great things with your high school experience, no matter where you are. And I think I’m a pretty good representation of that. I was in choir and I was in German club. And I was in our national honor society, but I did take advantage of the opportunity to take leadership positions when they came available.

And I think that’s something I would really encourage all of you to do.[00:05:00] Even if you. Limited options to get engaged in. Like I did I would really recommend you take the opportunity to jump on leadership opportunities when they come about. So I was choir president which was a great a great time.

I got to work and do some project management stuff. I got to do some fundraisers and just spend a lot of time working on that. And my participation in German club actually got me the opportunity to study abroad. So I spent my sophomore year of high school summer. In Stuttgart, Germany which was an incredible experience.

Take advantage of the opportunities as they come to you. I also I like many of you worked part-time jobs when I was in high school, I initially worked at a grocery store and was at the cash register. And then I got the opportunity to be a quarrier at a law firm. So I was running sort of legal documents back and forth between firms and and the local courthouse which again, Part-time jobs are a great opportunity to demonstrate some leadership ability, demonstrate commitment.

So I encourage you guys to take advantage of that. No matter what it is being working as a part-time working a part-time job is a great, it’s a great thing to have on your college [00:06:00] applications. And I think it goes a long way and you can learn a lot while you’re doing it. Thanks Zach.

So as I mentioned earlier, I went to college. I started college in pre-med and so I spent a lot of my high school career in like the health space. I went to a boarding school in North Carolina that really had a strong focus on science and math, which worked well in my favor for what I wanted to do, or I thought I wanted to do with my life at that moment.

So beyond activities that are outlined here, A lot, a part of my high school was actually focused on public service. So I did a lot of volunteering. So the, I think probably on an average year, four or five hours worth of volunteering at the local hospital, it’s really dive, dive deep into a part of the possible career path that I thought it was going to take.

But to getting back to my local community colleges, really like students who care about their, who care about the community, who dedicate themselves to their community and are involved in volunteerism. So I really threw myself in there both of them the school [00:07:00] year, but definitely during the summers.

I also did quite a bit of research outside of school, as well as working with local universities to do research in biotechnology. Again, obviously that passion fizzled away in college. Again, that’s just, I think that’s just a kind of part of life and part of the college experience you learn what you really care about.

And yeah, I think my activities that are outlined here are, we’re just a hodgepodge of activities. I did try to focus, I think similarly to Zach on leadership, where I could utilize my background, the, my skillset to really bring value to wherever I am, wherever I joined. And similarly, if there were what things were missing, for example, really taking initiative to start that up.

So for example, the health and wellness committee. So something that I started in my high school, joy promote again, a health and wellness approach of how students live and think and work. And that still exists today. So now we’re 12 years strong as I would really recommend to students, obviously do what you can with what’s available to you, but things are missing and problems [00:08:00] take initiative to start on your own.

Yeah, generally PM schools prefer people who take initiative and who, can find their own leadership opportunities, but perhaps it’s, I, it to them back.


want to go? You want me to go? I can kick it off here. So the college application process for me was fairly. I get like simple. So again, my cult, my, at my high school had a pretty robust system for how we, how they approach college. I just start off in my junior year. I entered the kind of prepping everything up.

Figuring out like who I want you to have as my recommender, my recommenders, asking them events, giving them really, essentially all, everything that they needed to write a good letter, my resume essays any kind of thing that I wanted to highlight and a possible letters so that they could again create something that was pretty effective.

I also knew fairly early [00:09:00] on that I wanted to put a duke early decision. So I’m from North Carolina. Duke was in my backyard. I spent most of that. Most of my work outside of academics at the university. I had been involved in some form or fashion with duke since I was in fifth grade. And so I was sold on university.

So I applied there early decision, got in December of my senior year. And that was at fight, like it was an early decision. So it was binding. I’m happy. I made the decision. I think for me, that saved a lot of, limited stress from the high college experience by far. And then I think what I wish I had known, a lot of times, these universities are very financial aid giving, but I really didn’t consider.

Non-school approaches to aid. So like the sectional scholarships, because then you do could duke had a very robust financial aid system. But I would say, looking back, I wish I’d looked at the Coca-Cola scholarship, for example, or the gay scholarship because obviously those are not just financial [00:10:00] scholarships, but they have a lot of leadership components to it as well, which can be of quite a bit benefit down the road.

So again, looking at the financial, but also look at the peripheral things that these scholarships. Zach onto you. Awesome. I wish I had gone instructing me when I was applying to college. Because I can not echo him enough on the outside financial aid opportunities. There’s a ton of scholarships out there, even in your local community, like your local chamber of commerce.

Sometimes the rotary club has scholarships. Really go far and wide if you are. If you’re needing some financial support, because there’s a lot of opportunities that often go untapped. I am not a first generation college student, but my, both my parents went to community college. And then moved on to state schools and I have tools brothers and they both went to state schools.

So there was that was. World of college that my family was aware of. And that was the only information that I had going into it. It wasn’t until my, it wasn’t until my senior year that I decided I was going to apply to to, to more [00:11:00] competitive, more selective institutions.

And I was on my own, I went to a big public high school. I didn’t I had a great college counselor who knew how to connect me with our local state universities, but that was about it. I had to figure out the common app on my own. And Google can do a lot of things for you as I’m sure you all know, and everyone that’s on this webinar has already, far ahead of where you need to be.

But do your research even if you don’t feel like you have the support there’s definitely a world out there that you can a world of knowledge out there that you can access. So I encourage you to do that. I applied to U Chicago early action, and I got deferred. And then I got in.

So if you get deferred from your from where you want to go don’t fret because there’s an opportunity to get in. And I’m living proof of that. But I applied I would recommend that you do not try to emulate me because I applied to all of my schools between Christmas and new year’s right up before the deadline.

And it was very stressful. And it was a lack of planning and that’s where my, what I wish I had known comes in is plan prep, prepare, do all the things you need to do at a [00:12:00] time to make sure you’re in a good spot because this is a big deal, spending your time, working on your essays, having people read them.

As gigaton said, asking early for your recommenders to, to write their letters of recommendation, these are all things that can help you set yourself up for success. And the more you plan ahead, the more you prepare, the more you spend time working on that the less you have to be stressed out, on, on on Christmas Eve or on new year’s Eve which is what I was doing.

So plan ahead, and you guys already, everyone on this webinars, isn’t a good spot, but I recommend planning it. That’s that’s my word of advice.

I can kick it right here. Yeah. So in college I was super excited to get to school and have a million things to do. So I recommend when you get to college, most universities have their sort of sort of college fairs basically. So you walk in and you have a bunch of different tables and you’ve got all the different student clubs that are offering a bunch of different opportunities.

And you write your [00:13:00] email down, or I guess, I don’t know, you guys might be scanning QR codes to put your email down, but I recommend. Signing up for as many things as you can just to try it out. I went to astrophysics club. I got to, which I am not a science guy, but I loved, the two meetings of astrophysics club.

I went to even went up in the middle of the night, one time. And they had an art at the big observatory. They had a late night viewing of of the constellations and they had a professor up there who was rattling off about rattling off by the stars basically. And there’s a ton of cool, unique opportunities that you would never think that you would, get exposed to, or I think you would be interested in.

And I think that’s the best part of college. So sign up for everything, try new stuff. You might not like it, you might love it. But you just got to try it out. And I think over time, you eventually start to see the things you’re interested in. And that was what happened with me. I knew I was interested in foreign affairs, but as I spent.

Time as an undergrad, I loved model UN I got to travel around the country, which was incredible. So I got to go to San [00:14:00] Francisco and I got to go to Montreal. I got to go to I got to go to Boston where I am now on the university’s dime, which is incredible. I was a team member on the model United nations team.

So that was a great time. I also spent a lot of time at the Institute of politics which is run by David Axelrod. So I was chair of our international policy program. So I got to get some leadership experience. I managed a budget, I manage a staff that was a really cool opportunity. I spent a lot of time in the admissions office.

I was a tour guide in a shift manager. And then eventually I was a fellow in the admissions office. So I actually got to read applications. Sit through committee and get the admissions experience, which was a cool opportunity. I was in a sort of fraternity. I was spending a lot of time doing a lot of writing.

So I was writing not only with the Chicago journal foreign policy where I was managing editor, but also during my internships when I was at the Chicago council on global affairs in the U S department of agriculture. So taking time to. Pursue my passions, both in a carefree, relaxed, extracurricular way, but also in a professional way and build on that opportunity.

But [00:15:00] so my takeaway is just take advantage of as much as you can, because there’s a ton going on at these universities at every university. And. You can’t let it go. You gotta take advantage of everything that’s before you, because especially for me going to a university with so many resources and so many opportunities it was just amazing how much was at your fingertips.

So I recommend you try everything, see what you’re interested in, see what you hate, see what you love. And you’ll start to figure it out, but definitely take advantage of it. Yeah. So I think in the notion, again, vantage of things, I definitely took advantage of all that was a lot of those offered at everything but international relations and political science, but he put me, that was like the big thing that I miss clearly in in undergrad.

So dimension again, I started in as a pre-med. So a lot of what I started off on was focused around health and medicine. So again, like a lot of volunteering at the local hospital, I did be sure on that we should on diabetes, for example, where I met a med student. [00:16:00] I my own health onus on campus as well is the chapter of it.

Again, we were trying to figure out early on in my career what’s healthy that I really wanted to focus on. And it was really after my, again, my end of my freshman year, early sophomore year, when I pivoted to kinda thinking about what more I want to get involved in. And that was blue focused around education mentorship.

And we engagement with both the local community, which was also my home community. And of course the duke community as well. So I think for me, it was like, Don, like what was like the prime activity I did in in college. So I was an RA for our first year of class for all for three years out of my foreign colleagues.

So that was essentially, living and working with the first-year students being them on campus, making sure that their first year experience was really solid. And for me, I really enjoyed that as a, the great opportunity to build a network. Yeah, with students who you generally wouldn’t engage with.

If you’re an upperclassmen within to really shaped their experiences in a way that’s impactful and meaningful. And I’m still connected with most of my residents [00:17:00] even an hour, 10, 12 years down the road. I also get to continue my dedication to volunteerism. So there’s a program called American with America accounts where this opportunity to really work with.

Students, the students, the local community. And for me, it was a cool opportunity because I ended up tutoring math and science at the elementary school that I went to with the teachers that I had when I was in elementary school, going back full circle and really having a an impact in that fashion.

I just try and go to like random things as well. So I joined the men’s rowing team or men’s crew at duke after watching a movie one time. So I was like, I was a Cox in for a while, and that was pretty enjoyable. Again, fairly random had never rode before. I can swim so risky as well, but it is what it is.

And then again, because I’d never really explored IRR or political science, most of my internships were focused around education or like business strategy. So I, I worked in corporate America, but never really delved in to IRR policy, which. [00:18:00] No I, the way it was Zach says, college is about exploring a part of it, exploring your passions or part.

It was also just just to see what else is out there. And until you really try it, you won’t know whether or not you actually like it. And so for me, I try to hard part of activities. Some worked well, some did not, but they were all great opportunities to learn more about myself and what I valued.

I’ll end up there and I’ll get back.

Okay, great. The next thing we’re going to cover some common college classes for an international relations major. Yeah. So I’ll start off here. So for for first year classes, sophomore year classes, again, I think this is very dependent on obviously where you go to school and the school’s requirements when it comes to.

How you hired to pick a major. So again, at a place like duke, where we didn’t have to pick a major until the end of sophomore year there weren’t required like first year of classes as they relate to IRR. When you decide to major that’s when you started the focus around it. So [00:19:00] for example, I started political science plus I majored at my junior year.

So I took the intro classes in poly PSI, my junior year of college which I think is actually gives you a lot of flexibility to make sure that what you’re doing. Is wanting to have value to you, but also really ensure that the people in the class aren’t going to be all first year students, you’ll have sophomores, you have some people like me who are juniors, and you even had some seniors who takes the class as well.

Because again, at a place like duke, there, isn’t like a preset. You have to do a before B before C when it comes to IRR or poly psy know, we had a approach where you give a, you have to take X number of classes within Y number of facets. By the time you graduate, how you do it is really up to you, which actually makes you actually helps.

He’s helped me tailor my major to what I really cared about. But I guess to answer this question, in terms of if I guess a first year class or intro level course, we had a class that was called comparative approaches to global issues, like in a bare bones class, just focus [00:20:00] on, the fundamentals of IRR.

So perhaps like intro to IRR Again, pretty general in that sense. And then beyond that, it was really up to you, the student to decide how you want to approach your major. We did have some focuses, for example, you had to focus, you had to have some nuance around the global criteria that we had.

Whether you wanted to focus on international institutions or identities, whether you want to do a global focus or region focused, that was really all up to you. But again, the major itself was fairly flexible by virtue of the fact that the school really wanted you to get what you to get, what you wanted out of it, rather than I guess, a generic IRR major Zack, honestly, give it to you since, I think you actually have no more new ones in your junior and senior classes.

Yeah, thank you. So it was in, in many ways, actually it was similar first and second year at the university of Chicago. We have a pretty intense core curriculum. So it’s not a lot about your major, but the first two years you spent a lot of time knocking.[00:21:00] Requirements. We have to take three classes in biological science, three classes and physical science, three classes in the social sciences.

So you rack up a lot of classes over your first couple of years. And then in your junior and senior year you get to explore a little bit more and take classes that are that are in your major. I actually started abroad my junior year. So at the university of Chicago, U our study abroad program is actually all compacted together.

So you actually go abroad with university of Chicago professors instead of enrolling out of at a foreign institution. So you spend a quarter abroad. The university Chicago is on a quarter system. I think duke is on semesters, but you’re gone can correct me if I’m wrong. So instead of two semesters a year, you have three.

It doesn’t make sense, but you have three quarters during your academic year. So there are three, 10 week sort of rapid fire rapid fire quarters. So it’s a different system. I have a ton of classes list, ton of classes listed junior and senior year because of that, you get to take a lot of courses in a short amount of time.

But you do have. Three sets of midterms, three sets of finals. So it [00:22:00] is a little bit faster pace, but I do I do like it. I do the quarter system. And now that I’m a student, again, I’m at the Kennedy school, which is on a semester based system. I can actually say that I actually do prefer the quarter system.

I like that you get to be kept on your toes and you get to learn a lot. You get to do it. Different, interesting classes you get to learn from a ton of great professors. So it’s something to look into, whether you’re what the universities are looking at are on the quarter system or on a semester system, because it does change change how you spend your time.

But I use your cog and you get to do a lot of really great stories. Major small discussion style classes, no matter what you’re in, whether it’s computer science or French or political science you get to spend sort of time in small discussion-based settings doing a lot of really cool stuff.

So some of my favorite classes I took. Are on this list. The history of Iraq was a really cool class that I took. The global justice class. I took from the anthropology department and resilient, credible, and you have a ton to work from the political science major is open to you. We do have to [00:23:00] pick a specialization so you can do American politics.

You can do comparative politics, you can do international relations, which is what I did. And so you get to see. Pick the electives that sort of fit into your wheelhouse. And then you get to write your thesis on what your specialty is. And you have an advisor that teaches in that sub field.

So you get to tailor your political science degree to exactly what you want. And I think, yeah. Looking into, no matter where you’re looking at school, look at, look at the public policy department and look at the international relations major, look at the political science major and see what actually the requirements are because many of them have a loose structure and then you get to.

Fill it in with what you’re interested in what you’re interested in and what you want to do. And there are some really cool opportunities to be flexible and learn some new stuff. Definitely do a little bit of research into the specific majors that you’re looking at, even in just abroad, sub field, if, you want to do policy, look at the sort of four, four or five majors that fall in that fall in that space.

And that can give you an idea of what you might be getting yourself into tasks.[00:24:00]

Okay. Great. Now your specific set-back classes related to your niche. Awesome. I can keep going. Before I pass it on. So I, my favorite class that I took was conflict root causes, consequences, and solutions for the future. It was actually a class at the Harris school of public policy, which is the public policy school at the university of Chicago.

It’s a graduate school and they had an undergraduate section of this course. And it was incredible. We got to do some. Qualitative and quantitative analysis to look at what causes conflict, why it happens. We did a ton of different case studies. We looked at we did go, we got to use by varied multi-variate regressions.

We got to do some coding and data in our and got to do some really interesting research on why conflict happens and how it can be prevented. So that was a really cool opportunity, but I, my favorite thing. You Chicago is just how small the classes were. Even as a first and second year, freshman or sophomore, you were in classes that were, no bigger than 20, 25 [00:25:00] people at the largest.

And most of them were capped at 16 students. So you got these really cool small discussion-based settings where it honestly didn’t even matter what it was, whether it was statistics or, your humanities class that was required. You got to sit down. Think critically learn a ton. And just get to know, get you get to build this foundation of really critical skills.

You Chicago, we have a the core curriculum, like I mentioned is about a third of the classes that you take. So in every class that you’re doing, you’re learning how to think critically. You’re learning how to write, rigorous, analytical papers. You’re learning how to do. Yeah. Some math that you might not want to do.

I know that I wouldn’t have taken a math class if I had been able to go somewhere where I didn’t have to take a math class. So you get to learn a lot of stuff in all the classes that you take. But my favorites were definitely in the conflict and international development space and the Harris school of public policy was a cool opportunity to learn a little bit more about that Keegan.

Perfect. Thanks, Zach. So yeah, I think just echoing [00:26:00] what Zach said. I get there’s a lot of fungibility when it comes to what high class. That’s, as you become more tenured and you’re tenured in your college career, for me as someone who wants, you know what, again, going to focus in international development space in particular, how NGOs IGO is function.

What a favorite class is with a class on class called international law. And that’s what institutions, which is why like a more like a senior level course taught by the head of Duke’s political science department. Who was also at that time was also head of the grad school when it came to political science as well.

And the class will get voted, just focused around the nuance of international politics and institutions and how international law. It says functions and impacts society. It was a pretty intense class, a lot of reading, you easily read on an average week, three or 400 pages. But it was all you, it was everything that you really want to partake in.

A lot of writing, a lot of essays, it’s, as you again, grow in your College experience. Do you find that the exams tend to focus more [00:27:00] on papers and critical thinking rather than perhaps like a calculus course, which has often had more rote memorization and your ability to just do a calculation itself?

Which I actually thoroughly enjoy because it pushed you to be a more critical thinker and really understand why certain institutions exist, what values they bring. And with your peers as well, learn from them. One of the values I think of duke was the fact that we had scholars who not only just taught about what you know, taught about these kinds of spaces, but are also worked there or had some kind of leadership opportunities to engage with them.

And so a lot of times, those faculty. Brought to the experience in the classroom. And then I think for me, like this class was pretty unique because we had a lot of speakers as well. So our individual schoolwork international law would come in and supplement the classroom experience or the academic experience where the real experience of how they’d had that approached it.

Which again, I think we eventually got to careers as well, but allows you to get a better perspective on, what pathways exist for you. [00:28:00] And how you can essentially link the classroom experience and the classroom learning into the real world, which I think is obviously quite important because you don’t go to college to go to college.

You go to college with the ambition and the goals that you’ll come out of it, having learned something that will get you a job or a career in your ideal path. And I think duke really did that very well both of this class, but again, I would say in most of my classes, we were very heavy on bringing outside speakers.

Or leaders to supplement the classroom experience, test back to you. Okay. That brings us to what career options are available for people with this major. Yes, I can. I can start off here. Again, we have a list of careers, hair. I would say this is a very small list of careers. So in terms of my background, so I’ve been working now for seven years.

I started coming out of college again with a degree in IAR and political [00:29:00] science. I did, I teach teaching fellowship for a couple of years. So I taught in a small village in rural China to educators, not on here, but that’s something that’s available to you. I then pivoted, with a liberal arts degree, the tech industry.

So I spent a couple of years at Google doing tech strategy.

Is that a typical career path of some of that international relations degree, perhaps not, but again, having gone to duke having learned largely happening analytically, how to think critically, how to solve problems. It was that mindset that allowed me to transcend and kind of push between different careers and different opportunities that may not link well to someone who had liberal arts degrees.

So I spent a couple years at Google, went to grad school had stints at the UN, especially like doing more like the international development work. Again, my focus was primarily on strategy and business development. And now I do consulting where I focus on the public sector, as well as the tech industry.

So again, I think yeah, what career options are available, it’s kind of anything you want it to be [00:30:00] really? Because obviously all schools will teach you to think critically, to think smart and solve problems. And if you can do that really well, The career options available to you? Yes.

They exist obviously tons in the IRR space, but they aren’t limited to IRR. I think you have the entire plethora of opportunities available to you, as long as you want to dive in and learn, of course, the specific nuance of that industry. But Zach, I think you obviously took a more relevant path, so let’s have your experience as well.

Yeah. Thanks. I would echo the same thing. I think, learning to think critically learning, to write well, learning, to speak well, learning to tackle problems and in a strategic way, no matter what, what the topic is I think is the. The baseline sort of springboard, and then you can decide where you want to, where you want to go from that.

And so much of what what I’ve done and I’m sure what Google has done too, is it’s learning on the job, right? So you have this sort of core baseline set of skills, and then you get to go and use them and [00:31:00] learn in this substantive, learn about a substantive topic and get to apply them. So you do have this whole world in front of you, which is cool and which is exciting.

Aye. Knew I wanted to do foreign policies. So after I graduated, I spent two years in DC working at a half nonprofit half lobbying firms. So we lobbied the administration in Congress for funding for the international affairs budget. So funding for the state department funding for USA ID funding for all the foreign assistance that the United States Gives abroad as well as the salaries for diplomats and the money that builds our embassies.

So I got into the foreign policy space early, which was a really cool opportunity. And I was lucky to be able to do that. It’s a tough space to break into as sort of an entry level and entry-level person. So I, there are opportunities to break in. A lot of them are low-paying I didn’t make a ton of money in my first job.

So you have to, if you want to do a policy job and want to do international affairs, a lot of those jobs are relative to how much you spend on four years at any institution is [00:32:00] not a ton of money. So you have to be thinking about that and being financially smart and planning ahead.

But the cool part is that you put the time in and you get some of that sort of in the field experience, so to speak. And then you can, and then you can pivot in a lot of different ways. And for me, I knew I wanted to do government work and I got a great fellowship that allows me to go into the foreign service.

But I have lots of friends who spent a couple of years Understanding how DC works, understanding how the policy process works, understanding how businesses and nonprofits and multilateral institutions all sort of work together to engage in foreign policy and international affairs and what that means for, everyone from people on the ground.

And in conflict zones too, the people that are sitting in Washington or Brussels or Berlin making, foreign policy decisions that have impacts that go around the world. And those sort of, couple of years of experience allow you to see. Understand what the world looks like and then get to make decisions, allow you to make decisions about where you want to go from there.

So for me, I knew I wanted to do government [00:33:00] service and I haven’t officially worked for the government yet, but after I graduate from from the Kennedy school, I’ll be joining the foreign service, which should be a cool opportunity. So that’s government services and opportunity for you.

The sort of nonprofit NGO space is an opportunity for you. Foreign policy international relations is so much more than. The state department making foreign policy, right? Like the United nations is involved. Private sector companies are involved. It’s, it matters, your local states are doing foreign policy, right?

When you are looking at your state capitals that are working with partner nations on trade or tourism, all sorts of stuff. So there are, I think what I wish I had known. Earlier was just how big international relations and foreign policy and international affairs can be. Cause there’s a lot of angles to it.

And it was really well, a lot of ways you can take it actually. I’ll just add on here to Zack. I think that the key here is yeah, IRR is everywhere. I, our policy really transcends all fields. So again, I feel I’m in consulting right now. I focus consulting primarily for the private sector.

[00:34:00] But it’s focused oftentimes around international privacy, international law and how large institutions can again, work globally. Again, that’s just a flavor of how I are transcends a lot of industries, but you aren’t just yet again, we have around nine or 10 roles here. That’s a flavor of jobs available too, but especially in the modern day, as companies globalize, you know that the need for an IRR background or just like critical thinking is paramount.

And you can take away whatever jobs are available to you. As long as you’re able to think quickly and learn on the job, test back to you. Okay, great. So that’s the presentation part of the webinar. I hope you found this information helpful and remember that you can download the sides in the handouts tab or in the link in the public chat.

We’re moving on to the live Q and a and all the way through the essays that you submit and the Q and a tab pitch them, enter the public chat server can [00:35:00] see it, and then I’ll be done at lad. The panelists, give an answer. You can react to your question to one specific panelist or both will give an answer.

And as I had that, if your QA tab, isn’t letting you submit questions, just double check that you joined the webinar through the custom link in your email and not from the webinar landing page. Okay. We don’t have any questions in the Q and a chat yet. So feel free to submit any questions you have. And we could start by picking a question that was submitted before the panel.

What are the best slash worst aspects of working in international relations?

I can hop in on that one. I think that. It’s not necessarily an international relations thing, but I think committing to a and I was actually on a political science panel earlier this week and committing to [00:36:00] a career in public policy. It, comes with its own challenges. I think like you spend a lot of you spend a lot of time and energy and.

For working on whether it’s your thesis or your undergraduate academic career or whatever it might be. And you have to come out. And this is, I think this is true for any career, to be honest with you, but you do have to hit the ground running and Do some do some like nitty-gritty work.

And I think international relations, international affairs sounds like a really glamorous thing when you’re studying it. And you have to get out of college and, take notes and, do a lot of writing and do a lot of reading and do a lot of supporting. Folks that are making the decisions above you.

And I think that is an important lesson to learn early on that, that you can learn a ton. It’s a really important job. But you do have to put your nose to the grindstone and work through work through some of that stuff. So I think that’s not necessarily international relations thing, but I do think.

It’s really fun to talk about the United nations, and it’s really fun to talk about foreign policy. But the way that a lot of that gets done is it’s not super [00:37:00] glamorous and the more you the more you’re prepared for that as you enter the international relations professional space, I think the better off the better off.

And I guess just to add to there. So I’ve done quite a bit of work in the advising space. So advising governments us agencies, like the state department, USAID as well, like the UN role UN world bank space as well. In the IRR world, I think one of the hardest parts about this space is affect things.

Move slowly, right? I R is not the fastest moving environment to be in policy takes time. Diplomacy takes time. And you’re somebody who has, very much focused short-term impact. It’s not the kind of the place to go because again, good policy quality. I, our work is slow moving. Having said that I think one of the best part for the IRS base is, when done well, if you’re someone’s patient, the work is very impactful.

It’s work that really impacts how people live and work, especially, if you’re thinking about IRR in the [00:38:00] development space, it’s, people’s livelihoods are at stake. So if you’re able to let you dedicate yourself into this career, there’s a lot of value added. There’s a lot of impact there, but again, it’s, you have to be very patient because it’s not going to be a quick impact

test back to you. Okay. The next question I’m seeing as an international relations major vary, depending on the country, for example, studying international relations in Spain, be drastically different than the United States.

So I can start off here. It depends on the school and how they approach. I R so I are just generally speaking it’s the study of how you have a formulation of international politics and the impact it has on the world. Compared to political science, which tends to be of course focused [00:39:00] more around is how government functions, how IRS Todd, again, is super dependent on the academics that are at that school and that the, and the scholarly work that they do and drive forward.

So at a place like duke, for example in the comparative studies space, You can focus typically on more domestic IRR work. But again, it really comes down to, how you make your degree, how you approach your studies. So for the, I focused my international competitor studies on development and humanitarian assistance.

And it’s different. It differs again by student, because obviously you tell your own degree, but I would say if the question is around, does it vary based on country? I would say it even varies by school. And how a school approaches IIR and what kind of academics they have on call to drive that discussion forward?

Zack, I don’t know if you’re a different perspective on it. No, I would echo everything everything he just said. I think the more, I think there are two things I would say the [00:40:00] first is that I think learning international relations in the United States from an American perspective is something that no matter where else you live, just because of the history of the United States and The role, the United States plays in the international system.

I think we get a different perspective on the way that international relations work and the way that international politics work. So that’s the first thing. But the second thing is that I think it is more about. The school and how it’s taught. I think it has less to do with country and where you’re learning it and more about, as gigaton said, what specific aspect you’re looking at, what the professors are interested in what you’re choosing to spend your time working on.

I think that that says That has a lot more impact about what your eventual degree in what your curriculum looks like. But I do think the American perspective is is a unique one for better or worse. And it’s something to keep in mind. As you’re learning and as you’re going into your career, Awesome.

Okay. So we’re part way through the Q and a [00:41:00] as a quick break, I wanted to let you know what you can do after this webinar. If you want to get help on your college apps from any of the panelists or other advisors from CollegeAdvisor. We have two monthly advising plans to start a plan. And the scholar plan, they’re both monthly subscriptions, but you get matched with an advisor of your choice and you get one or two hours of one-on-one advising each month.

We also have larger packages that come with a set number of hours and an extended relationship with your advisor who will work with you and your college. I says choosing schools contributes and more, and suddenly everyone at the panel is linked to get started. This author links to our page to sign up and get started.

I, students at CollegeAdvisor have had a ton of success. This past admissions season. We had college as their clients get to all the IBS and every top 25 school in the country. I clients where it as 9.8 out of [00:42:00] 10. And that’s because advisors put a ton of care to working with you. One-on-one through every step of your application process.

Okay to continue with the Q and a, the next question is what are some jobs related to the FBI or CIA through international relations?

I can hop in on that one. A ton, there are a ton of jobs related to international relations at the FBI and at the CAA. I would recommend you go to USA That’s where all of this sort of federal jobs are being posted. And even if you just want to look and see what types of jobs are out there, that’s a great place to look.

The CIA website also has a ton of resources. Some of their own independent recruiting that happens. So you can go on the CIA website and look at analysis, look at operations and see what’s out there. But both of them have a ton of opportunities. And I think, just anecdotally the best things you can do to prepare for some of those [00:43:00] jobs.

One learn languages that are relevant to us, national security. Mandarin Russian Arabic. Spending time early on investing in those languages is a great way to set yourself up for success. If you want to join the intelligence space, there are a ton of really cool jobs.

There, a ton of really interesting jobs everything, from counter terrorism to working with allies, there’s a ton of really cool stuff going on, but you do have to have. Cause that’s a lot of skills to get into those fields. So language acquisition is one of them being able to obtain a security clearance is another, that’s something that’s really important if you’re thinking about going into those fields.

So that talks about it. Everything from, illegal and illicit drug use to having your finances in order those you can Google, what you need to do. To have a security clearance. I recommend you guys look into that. If that’s something that you’re interested in but there are a ton of opportunities and USA is a great place to start if you’re interested in that.[00:44:00]

Okay, great. We can move on to the next question. What international relations jobs require you to live out of the country?

I can hop in on that one to start too. Being a diplomat is it’s a job that can require you to live out the country. No matter what country you’re from you have a diplomatic core at the, in the United States. It’s called the state department the overseas the U S diplomatic Corps and in the United States use basically spend.

Stints abroad, they’re called tours. One to two years you representing your your country abroad, working on a variety of different issues. It can be everything from working at the embassy stamping visas to allow People from other countries to come into the United States to working what I’ll be doing, which is working on crisis and conflict affected areas conflict afflicted areas and working on building up democratic institutions.

So there are a ton of really cool opportunities to represent your country abroad. And there [00:45:00] are a ton of jobs that don’t have to do with the government where you can work abroad working in the humanitarian space, big NGOs, big nonprofits Looking up. If you guys are interested companies, organizations like mercy Corps save the children our care C a R E.

These are big companies that sort of do on the ground work abroad, working to help people all around the world when natural disasters hit, when crisis strikes, when conflict is happening. And there are a ton of opportunities at multilateral institutions the United nations NATO the IMF.

Bank. These are organizations that have offices all around the world that do everything from economic analysis to humanitarian aid. There’s a ton of different opportunities abroad that can, that you are able to take advantage of. But I would say the most important thing to keep in mind is just.

Thinking about what lifestyle you want to have, where you want to live, what you want to do. At the end of the day, it’s a big commitment to, to move across the world and make a decision. But international relations is a great way to open those doors. [00:46:00] If that’s if that’s something you’re interested in.

No, I think, yeah, you got most of them. So for example, I used to be whether you went children’s. Initially the New York office, but that was domestic, but so I, our focus and then eventually transitioned to the UN children’s fund in Geneva. And so Zach mentioned international institutions, like the UN world bank IMF, et cetera.

They also have similar programs where you can do multiple stints throughout, throughout the world, depending on where you want to be. Generally, and like towards a five or so years. Again, we’ll also echo the fact that, think through, what kind of life do you want, or you can flex a little bit with being upward every couple of years.

Some people really enjoy that. Some people want more stability think to think that through again, corporate America is also a prime place to go. If you want to have a global career as well, you can work at a place like Google or Facebook or et cetera. And work in their policy office or work in, in their nonprofit.

CSR work and stuff, that ability to see the world or be [00:47:00] staff internationally international countries as well. I think they get there’s. The IRR space is so large and the careers you have available to you are quite massive. So it really just comes down to what kind of life do you want?

What kind of career do you want? You won’t be, you won’t be lacking for opportunity to live global to Lebanon. Okay.

This will probably be our last question on the Q and a, unless anyone else, because of these quick ones do international relations and political science has an overlap in the curriculum being taught. So I can start off here. So at duke, it was nuanced. Okay. I studied international competitive studies and political science with a focus on international relations.

So double I are at duke, the way that quickly and worked was every class was essentially had different to notions of what majors is linked to. So one of the ways I was able to, [00:48:00] for example, a struck my political science major so late in the game again, junior year and still finished up by my senior year was the fact that there was a.

There was overlap if you chose that to be overlap. So for example, because I focus my place, I major on IRR and it had a separate major in actual studies. I was able to take courses that did overlap, but had I, for example, I’ve chosen to do my political science major within domestic policy. And then my national comparative studies major.

Obviously in that situation, there won’t be that much oral up because when it’s more domestic focused and the other one has the course of international flavor to it. So again, it really just comes down to, I think as most answers do how you approach your academic experience and how your school approaches counting credits.

I think a lot of situations, especially, I think, I think the one bulls I’ve bolts, I call you guys are focuses on our institutions that allow students have a lot of fungibility on their major and really wants you to succeed. After the need to have. [00:49:00] Counting done correctly in classes.

And it makes sure that there’s overlap in the curriculum. Duke was very good about that. If you felt a class that, Meredith overlap, you could put a petition for it. And if there was some substance around your audition yeah. They would count it. So again, pretty niche and specific to us a school itself.

But I would say. Yeah. If your policies had degree, for example, and your IRR degree can be linked. Yeah. You can probably have a, quite a bit of overlap in the curriculum.

Yeah, I don’t have much to add. I think a gun hit it all just anecdotally at U Chicago. We had to if you were majoring in political science and we didn’t have the international relations degree at all. So this was the route you had to take. If you wanted to do IRR you had to take the four introductory classes, therefore traditional sub fields.

Political science. So international politics political theory, comparative politics and American politics. So you had to take all of those at [00:50:00] the, at U Chicago, if you wanted to do if you want to do eventually do political science with a focus in international relations. And obviously if you did in a traditional, straight out, by our degree, you wouldn’t have to take classes necessarily in political theory or American politics, if you didn’t want to.

So I think. Political science is a broader umbrella. And then you spend your time, as Keegan said, working through credits and working through what you want to focus on and what you want to study. They’re related you learn a lot of the same skills but I think political science has a broader world that allows you the opportunity to stay broad or focus in on foreign policy international relations.

Perfect. Thank you so much. This is the end of our Q and a thank you for all the great questions here is the information again about our panelists. If you missed it at the big guy and. This is the end of our webinar. We had a great time telling you about international relations. I hope this webinar was [00:51:00] helpful for you and that you feel more prepared with your college applications and goals.

We have a brand new webinar series for February about specific majors, which you could see on the side, and you’ll be redirected to once you leave the webinar. Thank you so much for coming out to the next session and thank you to our panelists. Thanks everyone. Thanks guys.