My year as an MSc student at the LAC was a truly enriching experience, both academically and personally, which far exceeded my already high expectations. The MSc course, with its naturally interdisciplinary focus, allowed me to pursue my broad academic interests spanning multiple academic subjects. Furthermore, the LAC’s outstanding faculty and multinational cohort, all of whom brought their own experiences and understanding of the region to seminars, allowed for a perfect environment in which to exchange knowledge and perspectives on a fascinating region.
I came to the LAC having studied my undergraduate degree in International Relations at the University of Nottingham, with a year’s spell at Mexico’s Tecnológico de Monterrey. I had also previously gained work experience at the British Embassy in Costa Rica and the EU Delegation to Mexico. When considering where to study a Latin America-focused master’s degree, the LAC immediately stood out to me for its interdisciplinary ethos, academic excellence, and the quality and diverse research interests of its faculty.
As a student at the LAC, I was very impressed by the broad range of courses offered, spanning history, economics, sociology, and international relations, among other disciplines. This, in combination with a busy calendar of events, made for a varied and dynamic academic setting. Seminars from guest speakers included topics as diverse as the press in mid-20th century Mexico, Latin America’s burgeoning economic ties to China, and Argentina’s investment climate. The result was a rich academic environment, with the Centre’s intimate seminar room providing the venue for detailed questioning and post-presentation discussions.
I chose to focus my research on contemporary Brazilian politics, while also studying the region’s politics, economics, and international relations. I found the friendliness and diversity of the LAC’s student body to be a particular strength, providing perspectives from different world regions and their respective academic disciplines. Outside of the LAC, I routinely discussed historical development and contemporary policy challenges with students from other area studies programmes over dinner at St Antony’s, with its cosmopolitan student body and social sciences focus. This provided useful points of comparison, particularly with countries of similar levels of development in the former-USSR and South-east Asia.
After finishing at Oxford, I moved to Brussels to work for a member of the European Parliament, where I regularly wrote speeches and advocated policy positions in the transport and tourism committee. In my current role, I work as an analyst focused on the politics and security of Latin America at a political risk firm in London. This allows me to use my knowledge of the region in a commercial setting, which has been particularly interesting amid a recent increase in civil unrest and multiple political shifts across the region. Furthermore, this has helped me understand the intersection of business and politics, and how commercial organisations view and respond to the dynamic politics and economics of Latin America.