Astrid Barsk

The BA History programme at LSE is a great programme for a well- rounded education. The Department has an international focus, a break from the typical euro-centric view of many universities, allowing one to truly view historical events from every perspective. I was also attracted to BA History at LSE because it allows for interests in other subjects to be pursued with outside courses required in both second and first year. I have taken economic history courses, which allow me to complement my study of history with a more quantitative perspective and approach. I have also found that the Professors and seminar leaders in the History department are always willing to lend me a helping hand, or discuss a topic outside of class that I'm particularly interested in; I have been impressed with the level of attention and intellectual respect a Professor or teacher will give me.

I was attracted to LSE for its international student body and the unique sense of community and campus life that LSE achieves, despite being in central London. I have had an international upbringing, as my parents are Swedish but I was raised in New York and Rome. LSE's international student body meant that at university I could meet other international students who had had similar experiences growing up to mine, but still interacting with people from around the world, which gave me comfort and excitement at the same time. LSE allows for as much learning to take place out of the classroom as in it, as one is constantly encountering people from different cultures and backgrounds. I was also attracted to LSE because it provides a 'campus' feel in the centre of London. LSE is compact and when one is on Houghton Street there is no doubt that one is in the hub of a university. This brings together the best of two worlds as, at LSE, one can feel part of a tight knit community, but a few steps away London is at your feet.

When I first arrived at LSE I was a bit wary of the intense academic environment and was convinced I would be overloaded with work and my social life would disappear under a pile of books. However, LSE offers a plethora of on-campus events and activities, which allow for an active social life. In the past week alone I have had brunch with the Scandinavian Society, played social tennis with the tennis club and embarked on a round of pub golf. While LSE's academics are a major pull factor for prospective students, its vibrant social life should not be disregarded.

LSE has helped with my personal development through providing excellent academic facilities which provide constructive criticism on my written work with training facilities which help me improve my academic skills outside of the class room.

LSE also forced me to become an adult in many ways. While teachers do offer support, LSE expects all of its students to be diligent and organized of their own initiative in order to be active participants in the classroom. This was a big jump for me from high school where my teachers and parents were constantly there to ensure that I was on the right track. When I first arrived at LSE I fumbled a bit, not used to the amount of responsibility I had suddenly been given; but, like most students, I eventually adapted and I can now manage my time and studies effectively and be fully responsible for myself.

I have no particular plans for when I graduate, and that does not worry me. I have attended a good institution which has equipped me with the skills to organise, analyse and present a persuasive argument, which is applicable no matter what profession I seek to join after I graduate. As of now, I am interested in management consulting or law as I believe the skills I have gained from my degree would be highly applicable in these fields. However, I have time and I am leaving my options open.

Please see International History

Astrid Barsk

Swedish-American, grew up in New York and Rome


2nd year, BA History