A diverse course and an even more diverse environment gave Chibale Ngandwe a sense of belonging

I decided to study International Relations when I was at school.

I’ve always been interested in sociology and politics, and knew I wanted to study something related to social science. My cousin studied international relations and recommended it, so I decided on that.

When I read the LSBU prospectus I saw that the international relations course reflected my interests. For example, it covered human rights, development, and theoretical perspectives like de-colonisation, all of which appealed to me.

I’d visited London several times and felt it would be a great opportunity to study in the city and experience city life.

My course is the best thing about coming to LSBU.

I’ve learned so much. They give you an unbiased view of the world and what’s going on, from lots of different perspectives. It’s broadened my perspective of the world and of history. My lecturers are amazing—we receive so much support.

I especially enjoyed the second-year module in international security. I wasn’t familiar with the subject but the way it was taught was so interesting and engaging. We covered counter-terrorism, conflict, conflict resolution, and gender, specifically how Islamophobia shapes the depiction of Muslim women in security. It was a very broad module and I learned so much. This is the area I now want to pursue in future.

There are plenty of opportunities to meet people working in the field, through talks and events. We were all invited to the launch of a book written by one of my lecturers, and met a panel of different academic professionals in international relations and social science who shared their research and experience. The lecturers constantly send us emails about opportunities such as internships. It keeps us connected to the real world.

Living in Elephant and Castle is like living in a small town.

I lived in student halls for my first two years, which I thoroughly recommend. Living in student accommodation is much cheaper than renting privately. I’m from Doncaster and it was nice to move from such a small place to somewhere as big as London, but still live with a warm community around me. I made good friends who I’m still living with now in my third year.

I grew up in a majority-white British town and I immediately felt at home coming to LSBU where there are people of all ethnicities. Here I’m not the different one and I feel like I belong. There are lots of clubs and societies to help you settle in, including the African Caribbean Society, which I joined.

Coming to LSBU has given me the confidence to broaden my horizons.

After graduating, I’ll take a year to build up some experience, in London or maybe abroad. Then I plan to take a postgraduate degree, probably in a security-related field.

LSBU offers you great independence, but with a support network at your fingertips should you need it. That’s a really special combination. There are loads of services you can call on for support—health and wellbeing, mental health, finances, your studies—but it’s your choice.

If you’re interested in social sciences and want to get a real perspective on what happens in the world and how governments interact, LSBU does a great job at teaching you.

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