Our latest Chevening Conversations blog is by new 2012 Chevening Scholar Meg Lawson. Meg is studying International Peace and Security at King’s College London.
Strolling past Big Ben. Studying in the same buildings as Desmond Tutu. Enjoying a ‘cuppa’ in the original Twinings shop. And never leaving your flat without an umbrella. It’s all in a day for a student in London.
Greetings from Britain’s capital city! My name is Meg Lawson and I have the privilege of being one of Canada’s Chevening Scholars for 2012-2013. You might be asking yourself, what is the Chevening Scholarship? And exactly how do I pronounce the name ‘Chevening’? While opinions vary on enunciation, I can tell you that the Chevening Scholarship is a generous scheme administered by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office that provides financial support for postgraduate study in the United Kingdom. Students from around the globe – this year we number more than 700 – have come to the UK to complete a Master’s degree in disciplines as varied as international human rights law and journalism.
My route to becoming a Chevening Scholar included everything from student journalism to political speech writing. I completed my undergraduate degree in history and peace & conflict studies at the University of Toronto, including a study abroad semester at the University of Melbourne, Australia. After graduation, I ventured south of the border to undertake an internship at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C. Most recently, I had the opportunity to work with Members of the Parliament in Ottawa as part of the Parliamentary Internship Programme.
I am now several weeks into my one-year Master’s of International Peace and Security through the Department of War Studies at King’s College London. My areas of interest include the evolving structures of international law, nationalism and security, and the media’s impact on conflict. A stone’s throw from Westminster, King’s College provides an innovative and inclusive environment for study. Not a week goes by in which I don’t attend a book launch, a lecture from a visiting dignitary, or a student-run event. Just the other day I was at Chatham House, one of the leading think tanks in the UK, to take in a talk about harnessing the power of mass participation.
Samuel Johnson famously said, “when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.” Johnson was onto something; London is even more animated than I could have imagined. On previous visits, I never appreciated the vibrant student culture that exists in pockets across the city. Now, as I rush along the Strand to campus each day, I am coming to appreciate London as a patchwork of academic communities that encourage you to connect with others, and – to use the old adage – think outside the box. By studying under the umbrella of the University of London, I have met students from other universities like the London School of Economics and University College London. Frequently, we find ourselves studying at each other’s libraries, or attending academic events together.
And when it’s time for a break from study, it’s easy to hop on the tube and catch a concert in Shoreditch, grab a coffee in Bloomsbury, or visit a gallery in Southbank.
Over the coming months, my fellow Chevening Scholars and I will be updating this blog with our reflections of postgraduate study in the UK. If you are thinking about study in the UK, I encourage you to apply for the Chevening Scholarship – it’s an unforgettable opportunity.
For now, stay tuned for more from across the pond. And thank you for reading!