Before I came to LSE I was running an environmental NGO in Australia and I was frustrated by how difficult it was to discuss climate change within the current political environment. I wanted to take some time out to get a deeper understanding of the problem and find new solutions. LSE has a strong reputation for teaching political communication in a style that is grounded in both theory and practice.
I'm not sure if I should admit that this influenced my choice in coming here, but my favourite fictional president, Jed Bartlett from the West Wing also studied at LSE!
At LSE I loved the level of access we had to key political players. After a term of political communications theory I took a course on how to run political campaigns which was taught purely by guest speakers. We had the campaigns and communication director of each of the major British political campaigns come in for two hours and give us an 'off the record' insider account of how the 2010 election campaigns went and their ideas on the future of campaigning.
I was also surprised at the amount of time lecturers gave students. In one of my courses there were only four students and we were given a lot of support when navigating complex theories. My thesis supervisor was fantastic and really pushed me to aim high, bringing academic rigour to my research questions.
In an attempt to calm down students worried by exams, the LSE Students' Union recently organised a petting zoo on campus. Seeing donkeys, pigs, goats and bunnies lounging around in central London made me laugh and certainly reduced my stress levels!
Being in London opened up a lot of new opportunities for me. I joined a group which led to me being asked to participate in and speak at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos. As part of the WEF, I was invited to have afternoon tea at Buckingham Palace and a few weeks later the Queen came to visit the hall of residence I was living in!
I was warmly invited into the sustainability and advocacy community of London and became close to many leaders in my field. My friendship group here spans 30+ nationalities and I know that many of these friendships will last long beyond this year.