My name is Will Baulch and I just completed a Bachelor of International Security / Bachelor of International Relations. I am currently an editor for Foreign Brief, and write regularly for other publications such as The Strategist.
ANU is consistently ranked in the top 10 universities in the world for its politics and international relations programs. I decided that if I was going to undertake political studies (a topic I enjoyed in secondary school) at a tertiary level, I should go to the place that offered the best return on my investment in terms of education and employment prospects. International Security Studies complemented and contrasted with the International Relations degree, giving me a deeper understanding of complex global issues and a broader understanding of the international landscape.
I’ve been very lucky to have taken a wide range of courses during my degree. Some courses were a lot of fun because of experiences such as field trips and war gaming. Others felt incredibly valuable because they gave me insight into topics I would never have been able to access by myself. I cannot pick any one course that stands above the others, which I believe reflects the quality of education at the Bell School and ANU.
Throughout my degree I have been able to do practical exercises, such as planning responses to security crises or determining the reliability of human-sourced intelligence. ANU’s reputation and position in the national capital meant there was a steady flow of guest speakers, usually high-ranking officials or experts in their fields, and their real-world insight into the political challenges were always highlights.
Don’t be afraid to be proactive. This is a good life rule but one that can be developed at university. The Bell School offers an amazing variety of opportunities but they need to be seized upon; they will not come looking for you. Speak with your lecturers, ask advice from your tutors, join some of the student societies, and put your opinions in the public domain. If you do nothing else, the ANU will give you a world class education; if you put yourself out there, it can set you up for life.