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Careers: Your path to becoming an International Relations Specialist

An International Relations degree has been termed as the most important degree of the future. It focuses on the relationships between countries, international Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s), multilateral corporations and international organizations.

Young Kenyans like Mr. Trevor Kibet, have already cut their niche in the international relations sector and are maximising on the grand opportunities that their qualifications present.

To specialise in International Relations you should;

  1. Score a Mean Grade of C+ and above (in your KCSE) or its accredited and recognised equivalent; 
  1. Join a university that offers a degree course in International Relations.

Most universities share an overall interest in researching and studying about the social, political, and economic developments across the world. The methods of teaching the course can however, vary from one university to another. The course will expose you to subjects such as history, geography, terrorism, global finance, human rights, peace and security, globalisation, diplomacy and statecraft amongst others.

  • Note: If you scored less than a C+ in your KCSE you must first join a college offering a DIPLOMA in International Relations to give you the required qualifications to undertake your degree in International relations.
  1. Graduate with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in International Relations.

You can thereafter, choose to advance your degree by pursing a MASTERS AND DOCTORAL DEGREE (PHD) in International Relations. These will eventually give you a competitive edge in the job market.

 

Career Opportunities in International relations

Besides being the most knowledgeable on international issues amongst your friends, a degree in International Relations is a handy qualification that introduces you to other sectors including social research, economics, business, journalism, NGOs and advertising. Government agencies, embassies, international organisations, foundations and even industries with an international outlook can therefore employ you. You can therefore choose to be a;

  • Diplomat/ Ambassador
  • Political Analyst
  • Communications Specialist in a non-profit organisation/institution
  • Intelligence Specialist
  • Lobbyist
  • United Nations Worker
  • Politician
  • Research Analyst
  • News Anchor
  • Journalist
  • International Market Specialist
  • Immigration Specialist
  • Foreign Affairs Analyst
  • Economist
  • Archivist

The soft skills required to succeed in a career in international relations include;

Communication: You will be speaking or writing most of the time. You must consequently, have good written and oral communication skills to make sure that your message is conveyed correctly to the people you are interacting with.

Cross-cultural management: You will meet people from all over the world and as such you must be aware of and tolerant of the different cultures.

Teamwork: There are many people and countries involved in making decisions at the international level. You must be able to work with other people to come to the best decisions for your country or organization

Negotiation: You could be working on contracts and agreements that will have great social, economic and political impact when they are eventually implemented. It is important that you have good negotiation skills to ensure that you are getting the best out those agreements while maintaining good relationships between the countries and organizations involved.

Analysis: Critical thinking skills are important to distinguish what is possible and what is not. Be curious, ask questions, process information and make informed choices.

Independence: The international relations field sometimes demands for quick resolutions to prevent disasters. Those you work with must be able to trust you enough to make quick decisions with minimal supervision. You must therefore be self-motivated and independent in your thinking and actions.

Some colleges that offer a degree in International Relations

University of Nairobi

United States International University

Mount Kenya University

Maseno University

Jomo Kenyatta University

Kenya Methodist University

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