Studying the complexities of international relations is not everyone’s cup of tea, but some people thrive on analyzing the world we live in, and aim to make it a better place. Chloe began her journey with OzTREKK in December 2012 and decided that the University of Melbourne was the ideal locale to achieve her goals of studying global interests.
Chloe and her partner visiting the 12 Apostles, Great Ocean Road
International relations focuses on contemporary issues, including international politics of climate change, nuclear weapons, genocide, human rights, globalisation, corruption, international trade, and women in global politics. Read on to find out more about the Master of International Relations program and why Chloe chose to study at the University of Melbourne.
How did you become interested in international relations?
I spent a lot of time traveling during my undergrad at the University of Winnipeg, and after I graduated I spent two years teaching English in Japan. When I was looking into my options for graduate programs, I knew I wanted to work on the international scene. My main areas of interest are international law, human rights and immigration policy, and the international relations programs I looked into in Canada and Australia all had great reputations and offered subjects that I could apply to my areas of interest.
What made you choose Melbourne?
Honestly, the main reason I chose the University of Melbourne is because my partner is from here, so I had my mind set on Melbourne from the beginning. But besides that, I actually came to Australia on holiday a few years ago to visit some friends, and after spending time in Sydney and traveling around the east coast, I came to Melbourne and could sense right way that this was a place I could see myself living one day. Melbourne gave off such a great vibe. I loved the laneways and street art, the architecture, the markets and the cafés. Melbourne is an incredibly friendly, diverse and welcoming city.
Stopping for selfies at Salmon Bay after a day of bike riding Rottnest Island, WA
What is Master of International Relations, anyway?
In the Master of International Relations, we study politics, history, theory, economics and law. The electives cover a range of topics like global justice, human rights and policy, as well as subjects that focus on specific organisations or regions. It also gives you the option to take two language electives, which some people use to improve languages they already know, or to learn a whole new language.
What do you hope to do once you’ve finished your degree?
I have a few career paths that I hope to pursue once I graduate. I’d like to work in diplomacy, policy making or advocacy. I might even go back to university to learn about international law in more depth. The program is designed to prepare graduates for jobs in government, NGOs, diplomacy and international organisations.
What do you like about your program/dislike?
I like the size of the classes. Each lecture has about 30 or 40 people, so it’s small enough that you can have discussions with your classmates, ask questions in class, and get to know your professors and classmates. I also like the freedom we have to shape our course load to our own interests. There are six core subjects that each student is required to take, and a range of electives to choose from. But, if you’re interested in relevant subjects that aren’t on the list of electives, you can ask for permission to take those as electives as well. The university also brings some really interesting guest speakers from all over the world to lead master classes.
Chloe and her mom having a winery day in the Yarra Valley, Victoria
How has your time in Melbourne been so far?
Life in Melbourne has been great. I spent my first few months getting to know the city, exploring the different suburbs and meeting people. The food and coffee here is amazing—it’s definitely a gluttonous life here in Melbourne! Uni life has been really easy to settle into. I was initially intimidated by the size of the campus, but after some exploring, I’ve found my favourite spots to eat, good hideaways to study and there’s a great Japanese pub on campus that is always a fun place to relax.
What was the most difficult thing about moving to Australia?
Most elements of life were really easy to set up. I have a student line of credit from Canada, and setting up a bank account here was pretty straightforward. But I’ve found the health care system to be really frustrating, and as a foreigner, I don’t always know where I stand. I have OSHC health insurance, but its uses aren’t very clear. By going to the wrong clinic for a minor stomach problem, and after being told by numerous staff at the clinic and the OSHC representative that I would be reimbursed for my expenses, I sent my claims through only to find out that I went to the wrong type of clinic and ended up having to cover a few hundred dollars’ worth of medical bills. There is a clinic on campus where you can make an appointment and OSHC will be billed directly, and had I been told that by someone when I purchased my insurance, I could have saved a lot of money.
Winery lunch at Green Olive at Red Hill, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria
Do you have any advice for students thinking about studying Master of International Relations?
I’d say the most important thing is to be open to constructive criticism and don’t expect perfect marks right off the bat, no matter how good your GPA was as an undergrad. I’d consider myself a really good student in my undergrad, and I had competitive grades that got me into the Master of International Relations, but I was disappointed by my first few assignments. The standard is really high here, and I’ve heard criticism about elements of my work that had never been an issue before. I found this really frustrating at first, but after getting through a few assignments, the expectations have become a lot more clear, and it has made the quality of my work so much better. So just be open to suggestions!
How did you find out about OzTREKK and what did you think of our services?
I found out about OzTREKK on the University of Melbourne website. When I was checking out the university’s website to find out how to apply, OzTREKK came up as on of the university’s recommended agencies for Canadian students. I sent OzTREKK an email with a few questions and heard back almost immediately. The service has been amazing right from the start. They laid out really clearly everything I needed to apply to the programs I was interested in and had answers for all of my questions. They’ve been taking care of all of my questions and concerns for over a year now, and I’m just really grateful for the support they’ve offered, answering emails and even having an OzTREKK staff member come to Australia to welcome us here and help us get set up. I also really appreciate how friendly the service is. Starting each email with a “How are you?” Or “How was your weekend” made me feel like they enjoy what they do and that they genuinely care. I also really appreciated the OzTREKK scholarship!
I would definitely recommend Melbourne to anyone considering moving to Australia, and the University of Melbourne‘s MIR degree is definitely a challenge and a great learning experience.
Master of International Relations at the University of Melbourne
Program: Master of International Relations
Location: Melbourne, Victoria
Semester intake: March and July
Duration: 2 years
Application deadline: The university has a recommended deadline of October 31, 2014 for the March 2015 intake.