Beatriz Aguilar Soto
"To this day, I am very grateful to have chosen Surrey: a place to grow personally and professionally."
Why did you choose to come to Surrey?
The University of Surrey (UoS) has a proven record of teaching successes and is well-recognised for its student-support, excellent research programmes, outstanding quality of education and employability opportunities.
"I had dreamt of studying an MSc in English related to international affairs. I was curious enough to look at what Surrey had on offer, and I found what I was looking for, an interesting MSc in International Relations with the option of a placement."
Something I could not find anywhere else in the UK. I contacted the University and had a response from the director of the programme Dr Malte Kaeding, who kindly answered all my questions. Malte’s reassurance counted considerably in my decision-making process.
What was your impression of Surrey?
To this day, I am very grateful to have chosen Surrey: a place to grow personally and professionally. I admire all the lecturers and thank them for how they have kindly guided me towards knowledge. They boosted my passion for learning.
The support that the University offers to students is priceless and far-reaching. I would say I do have not enough hours in the day to attend all the courses, activities, workshops, and events that the UoS puts at the service of the students. I have felt welcomed and supported by all University staff members I have come across. On my first day, I found myself lost on campus trying to find where my lecture was taking place; not just one but two people, who happened to be lecturers, helped me to find it. The support from the community is hugely valuable; there is no way of feeling lonely or unsupported at Surrey.
Why are you passionate about your subject?
Since I was a little girl, I dreamt about making a difference in the world. I’d watch on the television how international conflicts unfolded, and armed conflicts were sadly taking place in many places around the world. I’ve always been interested in seeking solutions to disputes. I am passionate about exploring human interactions and their causes and effects in an ever-changing world. I am intrigued by how our nations interact and about the global issues that affect us all in a world that increases its interdependency day by day.
"The MSc in International Relations (Intervention pathway) provides you with the skills to cover these areas and more, as well as to have the opportunity to go on a placement to practise the knowledge you have acquired. The subject is so stimulating that you will always want to learn more."
What are the academic staff and facilities like on your course?
My lecturers and tutors are very professional and well-prepared to take the lectures and academic course to another level. It has been a marvellous journey. They have instilled in me further wonder, which I believe is a wonderful gift. Without a doubt, I would choose Surrey and my MSc in IR again.
Do you feel supported at university?
My MSc tutor, Malte, is an excellent person and a highly valuable professional with several years of experience. I also had the privilege to count on the service of our well-being tutor and lecturer Dr Nikolaos Gkotsis Papaioannou who has supported me hugely throughout this year, professionally and personally. I feel extremely grateful for their support and the support of each lecturer from the Department of Politics, that I had the opportunity to learn from in my course. Surrey counts on a wide variety of professionals that make the experience unforgettable. I would like to extend my gratitude to Dr Laura Chapell, Dr Alex Leveringhaus, Dr Ciaran Gillespie, Dr Nick Kitchen, Professor Sir Mike Aaronson, Dr Roula Nezi, Marie-Josephe Morelle, Alice Batchelor (Library and Learning Support), and Professor Tim Dunne.
What has been your best moment at Surrey so far?
I would choose Surrey every time. I am very proud to be part of Surrey. It’s been the experience of a lifetime, as it has opened not only doors but also windows for my career in the international arena. I could not choose “the best moment” because every day on campus has been special and has given me satisfaction as a student, as a person, and as a professional.
Do you have any advice for students thinking about postgraduate study?
I would encourage anybody that has that sense of inquisitiveness towards a particular subject area to take on a postgraduate course. It will always be worthwhile. All the hard work and sacrifice pays off. You will bring a broad range of possibilities for your future career, where the only limit will be that which you pose for yourself.
What do you plan to do following your postgraduate course at Surrey?
I am extremely enthusiastic and grateful for my next path after the completion of my course. I am to start a six-month internship with the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services in the Inspection and Evaluation Division in New York. I will be work as hard as possible to build my professional career in the international sector, particularly in the UN.
Finally, do you have any other comments you’d like to offer about your time at Surrey?
Being a student at the University of Surrey has supplied me with all the support I needed to complete a postgraduate course which is leading me to my journey towards a career in international relations.
I would like to take the opportunity to thank every lecturer who has taken the time to guide me throughout this thrilling course, to my French tutor for delivering such fun learning classes on the University's Global Graduate Award. I am truly grateful for your time, mentoring, wisdom, and expertise. You made me love this masters from the very beginning to the very end. You have empowered me to go for more and better. I am infinitely grateful for that.