IR Edinburgh v LSEWatch
I'm struggling to decide what to choose and was hoping someone could help
I'm focussed, dedicated, and work hard when I'm interested enough (..!), so I need a course that is exciting and not too prescriptive/ there's freedom to be a bit creative with how you tie concepts together. However I really enjoy sport and hanging out with relaxed people (not overly bothered about nightlife though), so uni needs to be able to give both of these aspects to student life too.
Would really appreciate any input from anyone who could offer some advice!
I understand how valuable LSE is from a careers perspective, and that is one reason as to why its very hard to consider saying no. However, Edinburgh is also great and maybe could offer a stronger sport/ social life than LSE? That seems to be a common view, but I just wonder to what extent that's accurate/ reflective of how proactive students at each uni are at getting involved in student life...
In my (probably biased) opinion I would say definitely choose LSE for IR! Edinburgh is amazing at many subjects but average for IR I would say.
You can really feel how good the research is through the syllabus and teaching! It's not just traditional (slightly boring) IR of Liberalism/Realism which most unis focus on e.g. exclusively on states, war, peace but rather has a very critical approach to IR. This is mostly due to the strong English School focus LSE has (again research influencing teaching). We look at different narratives and theories especially postcolonial, constructivist, feminist IR. From what I hear about my boyfriend and friends who do the Pol&IR course at Edinburgh it's more about concepts e.g. what is a state, nationalism, war. Personally, I find the LSE debates much more intriguing as it makes you question the extremely established underlying assumptions of IR. It is true that many go into consulting/IB, however, most IR graduates will go into a politics related area. (btw many consulting firms now focus on development anyway). LSE is is so much more than that!
My teachers and friends all told me how awful the student satisfaction was and how unhappy I will be. I am so glad I did not listen to them. People are so much more diverse here and party so so much, I can't even keep up. No idea how these people get their work done tbh. I'm in the LSE dance club and many of my friends do football, boxing etc. 90% of my friends are from Halls and sports because I spend so much time there. I by far spend more time dancing than at uni/studying (oops). We train, go out, go for dinners together. Other sports such as Netball, Football get completely hammered at least once a week, especially during the legendary AU Wednesday Zoo Nights.
Definitely join a sport society and go into a social hall (e.g. Rosebery, Carr-Saunders, Passfield, Bankside)!
My friends at Edinburgh are in Pollock halls which seems very easy to find friends in as it is a huge residential campus next to Arthurs Seat. Doesn't seem any less social than LSE though when I visited them.
I can only say don't get put off by LSE just by what you might hear from non-students, who haven't been there (no offence) but it is definitely more independent and requires you to make more of an effort to socialise at first.