The programme is a great base for anyone not familiar with international relations and European institutions and policy says Chloe, former student.

Name: Chloe Beemer  
Country of origin: USA
Programme: MSc of Political Science with a degree in International and European Relations
Work: At the moment job-hunting but has worked in consulting and as a research analyst

Tell us about your background. How and why did you choose to study in Sweden and specifically at Linköping University (LiU)? What were you doing prior to coming to Linköping?

Chloe Beemer, alumn from the master programme in International and European RelationsChloe BeemerI studied biology thinking I wanted to be a veterinarian,but when I realized I couldn’t cut open dead animals in second year bio lab, I switched majors to international studies and followed my passion for world peace and policy to help make the world a bit better. I interned for Congressmen and Congresswoman with that being my ultimate goal of running for office. After undergrad I got a job in sales engineering for Otis Elevators. I knew I always wanted to go to get my masters but in the USA it’s very expensive and Otis had a tuition assistance program. I never ended up needing it because I resigned and backpacked Thailand for a month where I met my future husband. He was planning on studying at LiU just like his mom had done as his family is from outside of Tranås. The only realistic thing for me to do was make him fall in love with me enough to host me as his sambo, which entitled me to free tuition. Win win! I obviously wanted to continue my pursuit for world peace and a dream job back home at the NATO North American headquarters. As well as have some extra education under my belt to beat out competition in a political race!

Tell us a bit about your programme. What did you enjoy about the academics?

The programme was a great base for anyone not familiar with international relations and european institutions and policy. It was challenging, yet relaxed. I enjoyed the fact the exams were open answered questions, as that’s what I was prepared for at Virginia Tech, policy drafting, analysis, extensive reports. The textbooks chosen were also quite good, some essential basics and some new theoretical frameworks as you would except to be exposed to at a masters level programme. My favorite part was the semester where they offered you the opportunity to seek an outside internship related to the course. This gave students access to a professional network prior to graduating.

How did studying in Sweden compare to being a student in your home country, and in other countries where you’ve studied?

Studying in Sweden was somewhere between my experience at an international school in Dakar Senegal and studying at a small private American university. The coffee breaks were much longer in Senegal and you take your coffee to go with you in a thermos - no break necessary.

In the United States my home university was #2 or #1 in dining depending on the source - they brought in professional chefs and we had lobster at a different dining hall. But the best thing about Sweden and Linköping University is that I got to make friends over food! I’ve learned so many great recipes from all the others in the program from all over the world. I didn’t have access to such international students at my mostly white Virginian undergraduate University located in the middle of farmland nowhere Virginia. 

What was student life in Linköping like? Do you have any particular memories that stand out? What were the advantages of studying in a medium-sized city in Sweden?

Bike ability is great in Linköping, and it’s a smaller town so it gives you an excuse to go take a weekend vacation in another country - I was able to see so much of Europe! My best memories are hanging out up on the big rock in Ryd with everyone in my program drinking beers and just talking and sharing our experiences and life stories - I learned SO MUCH about the world by hanging with my classmates.

How have your studies at LiU helped you in your career? What has stood out as being the most helpful part?

I got an internship during the program which led me to a full time consultant position at the same office. I also have a more feminist lens when I view situations, a theory I wasn’t 100% sure of before. I also finally understand Marxism. That’s nice lol.

Why do you think others should choose to study in Linköping? What do you think is really unique about LiU that isn’t found elsewhere?

Great international location that’s easy to get by with just English. I think the idea of fika is so important for people to learn as a whole!

What advice do you have for future international students at LiU?

Get to know your course mates, their success is your success. Also don’t be afraid to try any of the gross foods, except Surströmming, don’t eat that. Bring a cook book from home in case you get home sick, and bring a lot of black clothes – black is the new black and you’re sure to “fit in”. Also bring a sleep mask, the spring and summer months have way too much light to sleep so you’ll need to invest in some quality night time eyewear and black out curtains if you want to catch any Z’s. Also start drinking coffee now.

What, if any tradition, will you continue in your home country?

Fika, Midsommar

Is there anything you would have loved to be able to take home with you?

The relaxed pace. It’s so nice to just slow down for a second and breathe.