James Maxia

Country: Italy, United Kingdom
Subject of study: Politics and International Relations with SA
Year of graduation: 2019
Type/Level of study: Undergraduate

What did you enjoy most about your degree programme?

I really enjoyed the BSc course because I benefitted from a lot of flexibility in terms of module choices, allowing me to specialise in the areas of Politics and International Relations that I found most interesting. Personally, I enjoyed the public policy and conflict studies modules, which were really easy to relate to the real-world. I also think that the focus on data analysis and research methods added another layer that I really appreciated, as I think that learning how to navigate statistics, whether in academia or reading a news headline, really made me a better critical thinker.

Some of the students were are profiling have in addition to their degree been awarded a departmental prize or award in recognition of their exceptional achievements. If this applies to you please can you tell us about the award you have received and what this award means to you?

I was awarded the Victor Wiseman prize for the best undergraduate degree result in Politics. To be very honest, receiving the award was a surprise. At the beginning of my course, I don’t think I could have envisaged or foreseen such an outcome but now, looking back at the many hours I spent in the library, I can only be proud of this achievement. It is, more than anything, a tribute to the friends and family who supported me, as well as some great lecturers who were able to push me to reach my potential.

What was the highlight of your time at Exeter?

I think my two highlights of my time in Exeter were my year abroad in France and fourth year. The first was just an incredible cultural and personal experience, which forced me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to meet a lot of very interesting people. The second could be kind of surprising, as everyone associates final year with stress and work. However, I found that I was very comfortable knowing how things worked at the University and, with everyone in the same boat with the workload, I really enjoyed my downtime with my friends. 

What will you miss the most about University?

I think what I will miss most about Exeter are the people I have had the pleasure to meet here, without whom I don’t think my university experience would have been the same. I am certainly going to miss the strong friendships that have accompanied me along the four years, but I am sure that I will keep in touch with them. I will also undoubtedly miss the friendliness and willingness to help of many tutors I have had the pleasure to work with.

What advice would you give to current and future students? (If you are an international student what would you like to tell future students from back home who might be thinking about applying to study in Exeter?)

 Three things. Firstly, I’d say that good results and producing quality work doesn’t happen overnight, but through commitment, seeking feedback and trying to constantly improve. Secondly, look to find a balance: there is no point in achieving it all if you can’t take time to enjoy it. Finally, I’d say to be bold, show your character and take every opportunity you find along the way.

What are your plans now that you have graduated?

I will be starting a two-year masters course in International Relations. After which, I hope I will have the opportunity to work in an organisation or industry where I feel I’ll be able to contribute and hopefully get the chance to give something back.


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University of East Anglia. I applied to study Midwifery Bsc and successfully got in, deferred a year and continued to work as a carer, saving up for University. Now I am a student midwife and work as an agency worker part time at a Mental Health Hospital in Norfolk.