Roya Mokhtabad graduated from her undergraduate International Politics degree from City in 2018 and went on to complete a master’s in Diplomacy and Foreign Policy, also at City, in 2020. Roya now interns at the United Nations where she assists the director of global communications in engaging with outreach activity surrounding climate change and gender equality targets.
We caught up with Roya to see how studying at City helped to get her where she is today, her journey, as well as hear her advice for future students wishing to study International Politics at City.
Why did you choose to study at City?
For my undergraduate degree it was actually the student satisfaction rate of that year that really pushed me to apply. The more I found out about the course and at City, I was really excited to apply. As an international student, there are loads of hurdles that you have to go through to be able to study in the UK.
I found that the way the staff were able to help advise me with immigration which was really something that helped me integrate to living abroad and my desire to study at City.
During my introduction week at City, I was extremely impressed by the facilities. mostly the library in my case as I spend a lot of my time studying there. I also researched the professors on my course before starting and they were really impressive even by an industry standard and proved to be even better once I took their modules.
What was your experience of studying at City?
The student satisfaction scores were something that I got to experience first-hand and well beyond my expectations. Not to sound cliché, but it really was like a family for me. The faculty and the students were all working as one, a really cohesive environment for a student.
Even tutors that do not know you are always so helpful and really go out of their way to support you and point you in the right direction whenever they can on both academic and personal levels.
As I said I had researched the professor’s works before coming to City and was really excited to meet with them whilst studying. I have to say they lived up to their publications! I loved Inderjeet Parmar’s classes and I still keep in touch with him today! All the professors are brilliant experts in their field and it was nice to see how passionate they were about their teaching, and how well they manage to engage with you through their teachings.
I also did my masters at City straight after my undergraduate degree. City and the tutors there were my family at that point, and I was almost certain I would not be able to create the same bond I had developed over the years within other institutes! After the amazing three years I had I did not know why anyone would go elsewhere. Suffice to that I am extremely happy I chose to stay on at City for my masters as well.
How was life after City?
The faculty at City is extremely sympathetic when it comes down to students life outside the university and caring about mental health in addition to academic growth. At the start of my masters I had a family tragedy, and I can say with confidence that were it not for my tutors and course officers’ help and empathy, guiding me through the various procedures within the university such as extenuating circumstances I may not have gotten the amazing results I received at the end of my degree. When you go through something like, that its really nice to know that the people around you in the university are there to step in and assist.
Upon completing my masters, a key taking from my course that I utilise even in real life situations would be the attention and due diligence that must be given to fact checking and vetting your sources. This is a skill that I still hold with me today which has helped a lot especially with applying to jobs. Having an undergraduate degree and masters from City on my CV was definitely something that helped me build confidence upon applying to jobs once I graduated.
Also, going into interviews I was able to converse with high ranking officials in various industries using the language and jargon that was taught to me during my foreign policy lectures and throughout the entire course, and much of the thanks goes to the high standards the professors would make available to us through their presentations and also would expect us to deliver within our own work.
A week after I came back from London to Iran, I got a job as a foreign trade specialist for a private steel and mining company. As I had taken a few modules in law at City, I really hit the ground running in that role. As a foreign trade specialist, having that broad background from international politics at City, with so many modules to choose from in various fields such as finance, economics, international law and politics, really helped me in that dynamic role.
I recently got an internship at the United Nations in New York which I am really excited about as it has been my ultimate goal for quite some time! A lot of the skills I utilised during my interview process which consisted of 3 stages, were skills I learned during my academic journey at City.
In my new role as a public information intern, I assist the director of global communications on various projects which focus on the UN’s engagement in areas such as climate action and gender equality and the decades 17 sustainable development goals.
What advice would you give to students starting out at City?
Do not be shy! Find your group of friends, which to be honest is very easy at City as everyone is outgoing. Find a good study buddy, someone you can go to the library with and get your head down and work.
If possible, make sure this person is on your course! Get to know everyone you can, tutors, professors, and students! Finally, just remember that everything you do at university, every interaction you have and every lecture or assignment you do is teaching you life skills, and that you will be creating experiences and relationships you will carry with you for a lifetime.