My name is Jordan Plotnek and I am a returned student from the International Security: European Perspective program in Brno, Czech Republic in 2013. I have recently completed my Bachelor of Engineering (Telecommunications & Network Engineering) at Swinburne University of Technology and now I am working in Adelaide for the Australian Government.
The highlights of my experience are definitely the field trips and tours, especially those involving international travel. I loved getting to visit places such as OPEC, NATO, UN, and others scattered across Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, and Czech Republic. These trips were made even better by getting to go with all the other awesome students enrolled in the program. So many unforgettable memories were made with both the students and teachers throughout the entire course.
As an engineer, most of the content on the course was completely new to me. The course served as a very hands-on introduction to both International Relations and International Security. The experience really ignited my passion for the topic of International Security and gave me an unquenchable thirst for adventure, culture, and for involvement in anything that might take me back abroad.
I was nervous when I first applied as it was a very spontaneous enrolment via a Facebook advertisement that caught my attention. I am so glad I made that decision though. It led me to an extraordinary adventure where I learnt heaps, made lifelong friends, and really got a chance to experience life (something which is not so easy to do in an engineering degree)!
Nothing was really that surprising as I had been to Prague previously. My number one tip would be to come prepared to drink a LOT of beer. It is the cheapest (and most refreshing) drink around. Also, don’t expect too many vegetables in your meal or smiling waiters/waitresses.
In terms of the course, don’t stress out too much about over-studying whilst you are there. At the end of the day the content is definitely interesting and you have to understand the basics of it, but you should make the most of living in Central Europe while you are there and have some fun! Attend the cultural tours, go out for beers with your tutors and lecturers, and have a few drinks over shisha with your new mates!
Although I had a good idea of what general direction I wanted to head in career-wise, this experience has definitely had a significant impact on the finer details. The course and the overall program allowed me to discover my passions and experience what International Security involves and how that might relate to my career. My ultimate career goal is now to live and work overseas, hopefully in something IR or IS related.