Paul was Loughborough University London's first deaf student, studying Diplomacy, Statecraft and Foreign Policy MSc.
Paul completed a BA in Politics and Deaf studies at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) in 2012 before he chose to study a postgraduate programme at Loughborough University London.
What were you doing before you started your master’s?
I completed my BA in Politics and Deaf Studies at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) in 2012. I then spent time volunteering in a number of different capacities including the London 2012 Olympic Games, the NSPCC and as Chair of the Newham Deaf Forum.
Why did you choose Loughborough University London?
I was initially inspired to study diplomacy having attended a town hall question and answer event attended by then President Obama. I was being mentored by the employment advice service in Stratford and it was they who introduced me to the Inspiring Success programme run at Loughborough University London. They recommended I applied for a scholarship to study my MSc. Luckily I was successful and began my studies here in 2016.
What’s your favourite thing about Loughborough University London?
There are almost too many things to list! However, one of my favourite things about Loughborough University London is the amazing and inspiring range of guest speakers who are invited to talk at the University. I have been able to listen to people from many different walks of life including a representative from NASA. I think being exposed to a wide variety of professionals and experiences enriches your understanding and which equips you with excellent knowledge for future career aspirations.
What helped you choose Loughborough?
I attended an event here which meant I got to see the University first hand. Because I was encouraged to apply for the programme and the scholarship, I felt confident that this University was the right place. As I am the first Deaf student to study here the University has bent over backwards to provide me with all the opportunities and access I need to study here.
Why did you decide to study your course?
I have always had a passion for politics and diplomacy and this course provides me with an opportunity to consider these in more depth particularly in relation to the topics of diplomatic relations, behaviour, protocol, language, culture, use of hard/soft power in negotiating and dealing with conflict resolution to name just a few. These lectures and modules have given me an excellent insight into the skills necessary for any future career opportunities in the diplomatic field.
What did you enjoy the most about your course?
I enjoyed the modules focusing on cultural diplomacy and diplomatic work in this area. It gave me a much greater understanding of how diplomacy actually works in practice and how the UK is represented in an international perspective. I was particularly fascinated by the lecturer who had been involved in the protocol and handover of Hong Kong back to Chinese administration as their authentic real life experience working in the diplomatic sector is so valuable to learn from.
Describe what it is like to be a postgraduate student and how this differs from being an undergraduate.
The biggest difference is that the nature of postgraduate studies relies far more on the student being able to study independently, and to go and find opportunities to extend these by meetings with lecturers or other students who always challenge and bring my understanding onwards.
Describe a day in the life of a postgraduate student on your course
Reading, reading and more reading! Your time as a postgraduate student is always busy and if you keep yourself motivated you will manage to settle in well to the course and create friendships with the other students.
Where do you see your career in 5 years’ time?
I would like to work as a diplomat. I need to take time to travel to more countries to learn all I can about their diplomatic processes, understanding challenging difficult diplomatic situations as well as improve the lives of those who live with oppression. Once I have enhanced my skill range then I would look to return to the UK and employ the skills I have gained by that travel.
How did you like to spend your time away from your studies?
I love to travel and visit new places. I also like reading particularly inspiring and motivational books which help me to understand how diplomacy can be effective. I also like to enjoy a lot of sporting events at the Olympic stadium - as the stadium is just a stones throw from my house it means I get to see a range of team and individual events.
If you could give one piece of advice to a postgraduate student, what would it be?
If you are not sure how to go about a particular essay title then the best thing to do would be to visit the librarian they have plenty of resources and can often point you in the direction of the key texts that will help. As well as this, Loughborough University London provides English Language Support.
Any last thoughts?
My time at Loughborough University London was indeed a wonderful experience. I found both the environment inspiring and the support from every one to be of very high standard and I was impressed by the degree of Deaf/Disabled Awareness from University staff and students demonstrated which I truly appreciated in my studies. I thoroughly enjoyed studying my Diplomacy, Statecraft and Foreign Policy course MSc. It was a fascinating course, and I plan to use what I learned to succeed in my goal in entering the field of Diplomacy in the future. I could see myself becoming involved in diplomatic endeavours, lecturing, government work, and maybe even becoming the first Deaf Prime Minister of the UK!