BA Politics and International Studies (2020)
Having read the course information numerous times I felt like I knew what life as a PAIS student would be like. The modules all cover what is listed on the website, but the way the modules are taught offers a much more interesting degree than I’d first expected.
Lecture sizes range, with between 60 and 560 people attending. In smaller lectures there is a more intimate atmosphere, which is a nice branch from secondary school to university learning. In larger lectures there is an exciting atmosphere with so many people, all with different views, coming together to learn about something of mutual interest. The lecturers are very engaging and will use relevant examples (did someone say Brexit!?) to explain theoretic examples in practice. Each week a new interesting topic is covered, but you will make links back to previous ideas to ground all your knowledge together.
The seminar groups are my favourite part of university learning. Here you discuss the content that was in your previous lecture. For each module your seminar group will be different, so you get to interact with more people and more viewpoints. They are a place to test and question your own and others’ knowledge, which you will see results in you becoming more a more analytical student. There is a large emphasis on students leading the sessions; you can cover areas that you aren’t that sure on or follow lines of debates that fascinate you. Warwick’s hugely diverse PAIS department improves these discussions as you will be hearing view points from many different cultures, ethnicities and social groups.
PAIS also aids your academic life with many organised events. In the first few weeks there is a second-hand book sale where you can buy helpful texts for a much lower price – I would really recommend using this rather than stressing about buying books beforehand. There is a PAIS film club where you watch and review politically interesting films, e.g. Milk and Lord of the Flies - and the free pizza is also pretty good! The department also organises talks from world-renowned politicians and academics and offers tailored workshops to improve your writing style (all of which are free of charge). Later this term, with other PAIS students, I will be listening to the President of Malta, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, speak in The Shard on the issues of equality during times of globalisation.