This article is part of an occasional series introducing you to our Tigers.
I’m from a village north of London called Hertingfordbury. It’s about 30 minutes outside London. It’s quiet and very peaceful. But it’s not so far away from London. Compared to the States, it’s very well connected in terms of transportation. I also lived in Qatar before going to university. I lived there with my parents from ages 16-18, and it was an interesting experience. I moved back to England and did a gap year before going to university to do international relations.
My dad’s an architect. The company he worked for is in construction, and about 2008 he got a job for his company in Qatar and part of the contract was he had to set up an office there. He went out there on his own for a while, when I was 14. When I got to 16, it’s a different set of exams [at school], and he posed the question if I wanted to come and live there with him and Mum. My older brother had gone to university, so he could do his own thing. It was a brilliant decision. It was one of the best decisions of my life. I lived in a village, where I went to a village school. There were 150 kids in the school, there were 18 people in my class and only three of them were girls. It was very contained world I lived in [in England] and then you go to a school with 70 or 80 nationalities and its “wow, the world is bigger than Hertingfordbury.” I’m so glad I made that decision, and it’s the reason I wanted to do the degree I’m doing.
We get quite a lot of choices [of locations to study abroad]. It took me a while to decide I wanted to go to America. I was torn between going somewhere to pick up a language or somewhere that was so culturally different from me. Or going somewhere I was going to gain the most for my degree. I picked Towson partly for location. It’s so close to New York and DC. America is so central to every aspect of my degree. You genuinely can’t discuss international politics without considering what would be America’s response. So any opportunity to expose myself to the political system as a whole and learning about American politics at a university that is liberal arts heavy…
Part of it was I wanted to do some sort of internship, something relevant to what I was learning. It took awhile but I finally got an internship with Congressman (John) Sarbanes. I had a few sessions in December but I started properly in February.
I’d really like to try to see more of where I am. I haven’t done it enough, but I’ve had a trip to two to D.C., going in and around Baltimore, and luckily I’m 21, so I can have a beverage or two. I tried out for the [club] soccer team last May and was picked. But then I tore my ACL, so I just had my first training [in early February].
U.S. Foreign Policy with Dr. Clark. Very interesting man. He used to work at the Pentagon as a psychological warfare officer. He would say he advised for people and we’d ask who. He’d say “governments” because he couldn’t say any more. It was a class that was very deeply rooted in logic and reason and discussion based about certain decisions are made and certain actions are taken in terms of U.S. foreign policy. It was right up my alley in terms of IR. He was a great teacher. At the end of the term, he invited a couple of us to a talk by the ex head of the CIA. I had a good relationship with him, and it was a great class. I still chat to him time-to-time and he was one of my references for my internship.
There’s a lot of things I like about Towson. I don’t know if it’s an American thing or a Towson thing, but people are inherently more friendly. I think the social areas are nice; I like the Union a lot. There’s a lot of opportunities for clubs and societies.
Generally, I just want to make sure I’m satisfied with my life. I’m not driven by money. I want to be able to be happy with what I do. You don’t really go into politics for money. I want to be a dad, and I want to be a good dad. That’s always a big one. In terms of career, I don’t know. I want to be able to work in an environment that will improve people’s lives. In politics, I want to be able to use what I’ve learned to make people’s lives better. I’d like to continue to travel the world and improve me as a human being every year.