Alumnus Thomas King: 'Cycling home after a borrel feels like a thing of the past now'
Meet Thomas King, alumnus BA International Studies: ‘I’m currently living in London which is a really amazing experience! I’m a British citizen and I moved to the Netherlands to study BA International Studies back in 2017. I had the best three years ever living in The Hague and studying at Leiden.’
'I miss it a lot… especially all the friends I made who are now doing incredible things in different corners of the world (although some are in London which is really nice to see them around). I also spent six months at the University of Valencia as part of the Erasmus+ exchange programme where I lived with an Ecuadorean family and improved my Spanish.'
A strong desire to travel the world
'After graduating in 2020, I decided to move back home to the UK and save up for my masters whilst the pandemic was at its worst. However, I knew I couldn’t stay in the small village where I grew up for long, having experienced the international lifestyle of The Hague and met so many people from diverse backgrounds. I’ve always had a strong desire to travel the world and immerse myself in different cultures. The International Studies course and living in a politically-important city like The Hague inspired me to pursue a career in diplomacy. It, therefore, made sense that my next step would be London, the political centre of my home country.'
Traineeship at the European Parliament Liaison Office
'As soon as I had saved enough money for my master's programme in MA International Political Economy at King’s College London, I hopped on the train to London and have not looked back. I recently started a Traineeship at the European Parliament Liaison Office in London which has been a surreal experience. Working every day with top officials at the European Parliament and then learning about international organisations in my course feels like a dream to me.'
Confidence to chase an international career
'I’m really grateful for my time at Leiden and all the people I met along the way as they have given me the confidence to chase an international career and the university’s name carries so much weight in political circles. I hope to be in London for a while and get into the UK’s diplomatic service!'
My favorite spot in London
'My favourite spot in London is the rooftop of the EU embassy where I work. The views and vibes are immaculate up there, with Big Ben and the houses of parliament in sight. I have recently started to sit and have lunch up there now that we’re moving into Spring. Sometimes it’s a glass of champagne at the end of an embassy event. We share the building with the European External Action Service so I meet a lot of diplomats up there and have had some amazing conversations with people about their exciting international careers!'
Missing cycling home after a 'borrel'
'I have been most surprised by the size of the city. That probably sounds stupid, but I took for granted how easy it is to hop on a bike in the Netherlands and cycle anywhere within about 20 minutes. London is a huge sprawling city and it can take a very long time to get to some places. That’s also part of its attraction as there is just so much to do it’s almost hard to get your head around! I love how international London is as there are always opportunities to learn something new about someone’s culture or practice speaking different languages. But yes… cycling home after a borrel feels like a thing of the past now which I miss a lot.'