International relations is a popular field and a good way to learn about a range of global issues. As an ambitious young person who wants to pursue a career in IR, you will be able to meet people from all parts of the world, gain an insight into their countries and make new friends. There are various ways you can prepare for a career in this field.
Pick a career path
Even if you are still a high school student or have just finished school, you can gain early exposure and skills so that you will have an advantage once you apply to university. With a qualification in IR, you can pursue a number of careers including diplomacy, international law, journalism, relief work and international business.
Gain leadership skills
If you are a good student with leadership skills and drive, you will have the opportunity to apply to various programs such as the national youth leadership forum. A good program can provide you with an opportunity to meet like-minded people, gain confidence, knowledge and other important skills.
If you are a school leaver, you can volunteer for various non-profit organizations and engage in relief work, participate in overseas missions or assist as a teacher or aid worker in your own country. This may require you to learn one or two languages as well, which will be useful in the long run. If you are still in school, you can try volunteering part time. This type of work will help develop skills such as teamwork, coping mechanisms to deal with difficult situations and dedication to your work.
Activities with a focus on IR
You could also take part in extracurricular activities such as the model UN or the global young leaders conference, where you will be exposed to diverse issues affecting the world at large. You can also meet people from other countries in your age group. You will be able to represent your own country or a foreign country, discuss national and international matters with other delegates and broaden your knowledge. This way, you can improve your leadership skills and public speaking in the process.
Teaching and journalism
If you want a career in teaching or the media, you can apply to a foreign news agency or teach abroad. You will need to apply for a teaching certificate or sign up for an internship with a newspaper to get started.
IR is thus a versatile field where you will have unlimited opportunities to pursue your interests.