Graduate profile
International Relations (International Intervention) masters student, Yasmine Ayture, on graduation day

Yasmin Aytüre

"The people I met at Surrey both by living with them in halls, meeting them at societies, or on my degree programmes, including lecturers and staff, have played such an incomprehensible part of my life. My years spent in Guildford and at Surrey will be deeply etched in me for all of my life to come, and I cannot express my gratitude enough. #ForeverSurrey."

Why did you choose to come to Surrey?

I had studied my undergraduate degree at Surrey and I never even considered going anywhere else for my masters. Surrey, the campus, the halls, the lecturers, Guildford: it was all my home and the only place I wanted to be to complete my studies to the best of my ability.

Surrey is friendly, forward-thinking, innovative, passionate, dedicated, committed, devoted, wholesome, caring; somewhere that would push me to grow both as a person and academically.

Why are you passionate about your subject?

With so much to change about how humans live with each other and within the planetary boundaries, critical thinking about economic systems, the climate emergency and war and peace – International Relations (International Intervention) – was 100 per cent what I wanted to devote my mind to.

Why did you choose to study your course at Surrey?

I found the course descriptions, including future career opportunities page, very compelling as I knew I intended to work for the civil service – I had known this since studying a policy module within my International Tourism Management BSc undergraduate degree.

What did you like about your course?

The cohort will always stand out mostly in my mind; I think the pandemic brought us closer together since we had the struggles of that to contend with at the same time as a very rigorous degree, and being quite small in size we were definitely all able to have debates and discussions with each other and build a strong sense of everyone’s positions and views on several matters.

"I also really appreciated being able to select a specific pathway for the course, in my case International Intervention, which allowed me to develop a specialism relating to war, particularly civil wars, and peace and in turn the UN’s Responsibility to Protect doctrine."

What are the academic staff and facilities like on your course?

They are all so deeply knowledgeable and helpful. I felt like my critical thinking was pushed very far and I appreciate this so much – I felt challenged to view the bigger picture and to strike that balance between practical real-world application and academic writing.

What course(s) did you study before, and where did you study?

I studied International Tourism Management BSc also at Surrey because of my interest in different cultures, making tourism more sustainable and ethical, and because of the large economic and social role it plays for many countries including across the UK. It was during this course that I developed interests in qualitative and quantitative research, sustainability, and policy, and I believe it played a strong role in helping direct me towards new interests by virtue of being such as interdisciplinary degree that introduced me to business-related modules such as financial accounting and consultancy, alongside ethics and policy.

Were you part of any clubs or societies? How did they contributed to your Surrey experience?

I was a part of the Politics Society and sometimes attended their events, and also held a role on the University’s Green Party society board. In previous years I had completed the GGA in Sustainability and Russian and had been to Feminist and Gardening Society too. One of my favourite things was also writing ad-hoc articles throughout my time at Surrey, including during my undergraduate degree, for the University’s politics magazine Incite and later a couple for The Stag.

Did you live in University accommodation? If so, what was it like?

I have a bit of an unusual story with this as I lived on halls throughout the whole of university due to circumstance. I lived at Cathedral Court for five years including throughout the entirety of the pandemic.

In University accommodation, I made so many incredible memories there meeting housemates from all around the world literally, who remain some of my closest friends to this day.

"I also always felt so safe – I remember walking home really late one night from the library and I called someone from security to just stay on the phone to me until I walked back to Cathedral Court."

What was the best thing about living in University accommodation?

Getting to know your housemates so well naturally because of seeing each other day in, day out. We were always busy going here, there and everywhere but it was so anchoring to return to the same people each day and to build some fantastic connections.

What were the best things about life in general at Surrey?

Throughout my masters, when my day to day schedule was incredibly packed, I really started to leverage being so close to the Sports Park, attending yoga and other fitness classes multiple times a week which really helped me look after my body during such an intensive time of study. Being in Guildford with lovely close-by places to go for walks, such as Pewley Downs and the Mount, was wonderful and I also adored Guildford town centre.

How did you spend your time on campus?

I genuinely think that I completed most of my undergraduate degree in Hillside coffee shop. I then spent a lot of time in the Hive (well, I’ll embarrass myself and say most evenings really) or in the library – sometimes on the top floor to get those stunning night-time views. They were the places I could drink copious amounts of hot drinks, use the printer, and write my essays and study with friends.

Did you feel supported at university?

Throughout my five years at Surrey I went to the Centre for Wellbeing a few times and received excellent support and guidance. I always found that lecturers were highly supportive and I couldn’t have asked for any more in this regard.

I used some support services at Surrey throughout the years, including receiving some extra time in exams in my undergraduate degree and the online meetings that were held throughout the pandemic online to help students feel connected.

What careers support have you received?

I had the opportunity in both my undergraduate and masters degrees to complete placements, something I was very keen to do on both occasions to gain relevant work experience.

My undergraduate degree also contained multiple professional and personal development-related modules, meaning that by the end we had a fairly comprehensive understanding of our strengths and weaknesses across the board and this self-knowledge is vital for knowing what areas to work on and develop. I also made the most of attending a few careers fairs that were very helpful. I attended a CV workshop in the Hive and have had several informal conversations with lecturers over the years about potential career options.

How do you think your time at Surrey had an impact on your employability?

The work experiences at a trade organisation and a magazine combined with the projects I’ve had the opportunity to be involved in, from research projects for the Centre for Environment and Sustainability, from mock UN scenarios; writing articles for university magazines, and having mentored students for three years at Surrey through the Peer Assisted Writing Scheme (PAWS) and PALS mentoring schemes means that I have amassed professional experience that gives me the confidence to apply for graduate schemes and roles since graduating.

What was your best moment at Surrey?

Probably the moment I found out that I’d be able to write about both feminism and neoliberalism within my final piece of written work at university, my masters placement report, because so many of the different areas of interest I’d developed throughout my five years at Surrey really culminate with these two matters, so I felt this was exactly a fitting way for me to round-off my studies at Surrey.

Do you have any advice for students thinking about postgraduate study?

"I would certainly recommend postgraduate study at Surrey, either continuing with the same discipline you studied for your undergraduate degree or veering off into a different field as so many people do."

People often learn a lot about their interest areas during their first degree which allows for a stronger specialism and focus in your masters, which is often the qualification that will fit most directly into the field of work you will then enter.

Do you think you’ve changed since you started at Surrey? How?

I started Surrey aged 19 so I was a teenager and I left Surrey approaching my mid-twenties and, in that time, I learnt to view the world through multiple different lenses, how to critically analyse, improved my writing skills among others, and I tried so many new things. I left Surrey feeling equipped to enter the working world because of the experiences I’d gained. I also felt that it gave me the space to learn more about my own priorities and boundaries too, so that although we always have a lot further to go in improving ourselves as people, I was able to think independently and make my own life decisions from an informed place.

What did you do after your postgraduate course at Surrey?

I began working as a Future Leaders Graduate at DHL immediately upon finishing my masters in September 2021, and then in the November of that year joined the civil service as a Policy Advisor working in elections.

Since graduating, I’ve had time to put into other interests such as physics, but most of the courses in my free time I take now are in philosophy, a subject that I have always attempted to weave into my work at undergraduate and masters level, and is a subject I want to take forwards.

Finally, do you have any other comments you’d like to offer about your time at Surrey?

The people I met at Surrey both by living with them in halls, meeting them at societies, or on my degree programmes, including lecturers and staff, have played such an incomprehensible part of my life. My years spent in Guildford and at Surrey will be deeply etched in me for all of my life to come, and I cannot express my gratitude enough. #ForeverSurrey.


Find out more about our Department of Politics and our postgraduate courses.