International Relations student Veronika on her ambitions to become a diplomat

Veronika Scherer is a student of Queen Mary Online’s International Relations MA. She also owns a property development business with her husband in Kansas City, USA, where they live with their three children.

We spoke with Veronika about her motivations for studying the international relations course, how she juggles learning with work and family life, and the impact she thinks the MA will have on her career development.

What motivated you to study the course?

My ultimate goal after I finish the International Relations MA is to become a US Foreign Service Officer. I believe the programme will equip me with the right skills to pass the entry exam and represent the US abroad as a diplomat.

I have three citizenships and my background is very international, and that’s part of the reason that I’ve always dreamed of being a diplomat and why I wanted to study International Relations. I chose Queen Mary because it’s a top university for international relations. It’s a Russell Group School as well which will look good on my CV.

It’s challenging having children and juggling my job with the programme, but I really enjoy it and have the motivation to succeed. The course is equipping me with so much knowledge about international relations and I think it will be great for my career.

Veronika Scherer

International Relations MA student Veronika Scherer

How do you manage your time?

Each week we get a new topic to discuss, and I get to engage with students from a diverse range of backgrounds in the online forums. Some of the other students in my cohort are diplomats already, so I ask them questions about their job which is hugely beneficial for me.

To be successful as a student, you must stay on track with the work and make enough time to go through the content, as you move onto a new topic every week. You don’t want to get stuck on the previous week’s content.

I do have to do more than 20 hours a week of studying during the assignments. It’s good that we have a reading week during each module that doesn’t include new content, as you can devote that time to research for your assignment.

I look forward to the weekly webinars as I get to meet with other students and share what I’ve read about and learnt during the week. I can then get other students’ opinions on the topic and have a debate with them. If I can’t attend, I can always watch the recording and still see the debate between other students. That’s helpful.

Was there a reason you chose the May start date?

I wanted to start an online programme as soon as possible after coronavirus hit us and we went into lockdown. I didn’t want to wait until September. It was good to start as soon as possible and there was a break in September as well.

What’s the support like?

The support from my Course Adviser with the application process after I showed an interest in the programme helped me make my decision to study with Queen Mary. It feels like a little family after a while with the whole team. I know I’ll always hear back from my Student Adviser and our Online Tutors. You can always ask questions and arrange a one-on-one meeting as well if you need to.

Will you attend graduation in person?

I'm very much looking forward to graduation in London and meeting the other online students for the first time in person. When I’m struggling with an assignment and I start thinking ‘Why am I doing this?’ I visualise the graduation and it keeps me going.

Thank you to Veronika for sharing your thoughts on the programme with us!

Develop the skills and knowledge to think, talk and write critically about contemporary international challenges with Queen Mary Online's International Relations MA. Start in May or September:

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Topics: MA international relations

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