I am Hacı Mehmet, from Turkey but have been in the UK from June 22 to September 27 for Erasmus Internship Program conducted by the European Union (EU) to mobilize youths.
In this paper, I will try to explain my experiences in the UK for about 4 months. The paper includes: information about me, application process of Erasmus Internship, my home life in the UK, my job and works (interviews, articles and corner posts), cities I have visited, and my voluntary activities.
I am studying International Relations with Political Science and Public Administration as a double-major student at Gediz University, located in İzmir. This is my 3rd year at the university. From my 1st year to 2nd year I was the President of Gediz University European Union Club. During my Presidency, I organized many programs with my distinguished friends about the EU. Also, I was one of the members of the Model European Union, Strasbourg – 2014, conducted by Bring Europeans Together Association co-operated with European Parliament. Thus, we can deduce that I have been familiar with the EU, its policies and youth programs.
Application process of Erasmus Internship
In my first year at the university, I decided to research something in the UK, but as you know that researching something in the UK is expensive. When I was thinking about this, hopefully the Erasmus Office of my university declared that the exam for those students who were interested in having Erasmus or Erasmus Internship abroad would take place, so I applied this exam and passed it. The exam for me was easy, but you should know that every university has its own exams. However, the main issue was not based on passing the exam; the problem was based on where you would get your Internship. Luckily Prof. Dr. Alex Nunn, the Leader of the Politics and Applied Global Ethics Group of Leeds Beckett University, accepted me as a research assistant in the Office. Later, he sent me the “Letter of Acceptance”. In the ongoing process, I applied for the British Visa to work in the UK. Honestly, the British Visa process is a little bit complicated and expensive (near to £250), but anyway I got my visa and arrived to the UK on 22nd of June, 2014. Also, you should know that the grant from the EU is not enough, so you should save some money before coming to the UK. Where most of your grant goes is visa and passport processes as well as ticket. Unlike the general belief, life is not too much expensive in the UK. Indeed, many things are cheaper.
My home life in the UK
Before coming to the UK, as much as I remember, most of the dormitories were closed, so the best and cheapest choice for accommodation is always to search “Rooms for rent” online. I found such a big and cheap room. I am sharing the home with 5 Polish people. They are really nice and helpful people to me. Especially, one of them Zigy has taught me many things about real life. The home is near to everywhere. And luckily there is a mosque just in the opposite, costing 1 minute from the home.
What I have done: job and works
I am a research assistant of Prof. Dr. Alex Nunn, the Leader of the Politics and Applied Global Ethics Group of Leeds Beckett University. During my Internship, I have tried to reduce his and his colleagues’ workload. However, I have too much free time, but I use this as a chance. Up to now, I have approximately had 20 works including articles, corner posts and interviews with well-known people living in the UK and Turkey. I guess that this is enough for a new 3rd year student J. All of these works are available on Academia. (https://gediz.academia.edu/Hac%C4%B1Boyraz).
Without my job at Leeds Beckett University, I have been to Oxford University – African Studies Centre, and the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). I was really excited while I was in these two institutions because these two ones host the most important experts on African studies, one of my research areas with EU, Conflict Resolution, and Turkish Policy.
Also, I was invited by the following institutions to work in different roles. These institutions and my roles are Academic Perspective Magazine located in Ankara (Columnist on Global Politics), International Relations Portal located in İstanbul (Columnist on Global Politics), International Policy Academy located in Northern Cyprus (Columnist on Global Politics), Universal Strategic Research Centre located in İstanbul (Columnist on Global Politics), VivaHiba located in New York (Representative in the UK and Columnist), and London Centre for Turkish Policy located in London (Columnist on European Union and African Studies).
Honestly, having invitations from these institutions keep my concentration to be better.
Visiting the whole Britain
During my Internship I have worked and studied a lot, but enjoyed, too. I visited these cities and towns: Birmingham, Bolton, Bradford, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hull, Keele, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Newport, Nottingham, Oxford, Sheffield, Skipton, and York. This indicates the whole island…
I have visited the universities of the cities where I have gone. I strongly advise you to visit the universities in the cities because you can directly communicate with students and staff.
I cannot explain all of these experiences I have got, but I can say that each of these cities does worth to visit. Just to say, I have always used buses, which are the cheapest transportation options in the UK for travelling.
Without my intern at Leeds Beckett University, in different positions, I have participated in the following programs, projects and workshops related to my research areas. I became an “election observer” during the Presidential Election of Turkey, took place in London. I was an organizer in “Annual IPE Conference: Competitiveness, crisis and political authority in a changing global order”, by Leeds Beckett University co-operated with Gediz University. I was an organizer in “Annual Conference: Peace and Conflict: an Interdisciplinary Conference”, by Conflict Research Society co-operated with the University of Leeds. I was a volunteer of NATO Summit, the Wales. Also, I observed the situation before the Scottish Referendum.
Thanks to the European Union for giving me this chance.
I wish good luck to you all from the UK. If you have any problem, just send me an e-mail.
Hacı Mehmet BOYRAZ
The United Kingdom, 05.09.2014, Friday