Why did I choose to study at the LSE? Having attained my Bachelor’s degree in Political Science in Spain and Portugal, I wanted to complement my academic foundations with the world-renowned British approach to higher education. In addition to taking on an intense academic challenge, I was excited to do so in the heart of London: a truly global metropolis.
I arrived at the EI in 2016 – a landmark year in global politics, as the UK had just voted to leave the EU and, soon after, Donald Trump was elected President of the US. This, to me, highlighted that globalisation and economic integration are political choices rather than irrevocable facts. At that moment, many difficult questions loomed for politics and policymaking. The EI was an excellent place to engage in thought-provoking debates on the future of capitalism, welfare states, UK–EU relations and the European project in general.
I can attest that my high expectations were met, and my time at the LSE greatly contributed to my intellectual development. I was privileged to learn from and work with leading academics and (in addition to my main courses) attend a variety of other lectures and seminars. Amongst these, a series on political risk by Mujtaba Rahman (Eurasia Group) truly helped me enhance my critical thinking. I must also commend the wide range of resources on offer to students, particularly the exceptional library; and, of course, I met many bright, engaged students from all backgrounds, several of whom became good friends.
After finishing my degree, it seemed natural to apply what I had learned in Brussels, the centre of EU policymaking. A traineeship at the European Parliament was a valuable start, after which I gained experience in the private sector as a Public Affairs Consultant. For that, my time at the EI proved invaluable in helping me analyse legislative developments in the EU and design tailored public affairs strategies in fields as varied as digital technologies and healthcare.
Since 2019, I have been a Policy Advisor to a Member of the European Parliament from Latvia, focusing on economic and environmental policymaking. In my work, I draw on powerful ideas that I explored at the EI, such as theories of economic integration; I also draw on various skills I improved during my time at the LSE, including the ability to analyse complex issues, make convincing arguments, and meet strict deadlines.
The moment I left the LSE, I knew I wanted to maintain a close link to the School. Soon after arriving in Brussels, I started taking part in activities of the LSE Alumni Association in Belgium, later becoming a Board Member. Of the many events we have organised, I would highlight the one regarding the future of the LSE itself, in February 2020, with Dame Minouche Shafik, LSE Director, and Professor Simon Glendinning, Head of the European Institute. Today, as the LSE AAB Vice President, I am happy to continue giving back to the Alumni community – which has undoubtedly also enriched me.