When I started applying for colleges I knew that I wanted small class sizes and an engaging campus community. UIS turned out to be a great fit for a lot of reasons. I was able to stay close to home, I was accepted into the Capital Scholars Honors Program, and I was able to receive an affordable education. I came to UIS undecided about my major but after being exposed to and learning about the Global Studies Program I declared it as my major. As soon as I took my first Global Studies courses I knew it was the right major for me. The courses have taught me to be more globally aware as I have learned about global issues, current events, other cultures, and more. I genuinely feel that I have been able to develop skills for a meaningful career in politics and I eventually added Political Science as my second major.
A stand-out experience that I have had while studying Global Studies at the university has been being a part of National Model United Nations, a simulation of the United Nations. The UIS team represented the country of Dominica. I had previously not known much about the small country nicknamed the “Nature Isle of the Caribbean”. Preparation for the conference included extensive research into the culture, politics, history, and foreign policy of Dominica to be able to act as a representative for the country at the NMUN conference. I was a delegate in what is known as General Assembly Three which dealt with the humanitarian issues of the Rights of Indigenous People, Empowering Conflict-Affected Children and Youth, and Implementing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. I had to examine all three of these issues in regards to Dominica and determine from my research how a representative from Dominica would present the country’s viewpoints on these issues. It was an experience different from anything else I have been involved with academically. I could not share my personal political views and I could not think like an American throughout this conference. I learned how to be diplomatic, how to compromise, and think critically all while trying to accurately portray myself as a representative of Dominica. The conference was an intense four days of negotiations and writing draft resolutions that targeted the issue of Empowering Conflict-Affected Children and Youth. We had to think of solutions to real-world issues and this conference let me put to use the skills I had previously learned in my classes.
Before the NMUN conference, students had to submit a Position Paper giving the position of the country on the topics covered. I really struggled with this paper because research on Dominica was very limited due to the size of the country and I found it hard to write in a way I thought seemed formal enough to pass as a policy statement from Dominica. After a lot of research and thorough feedback from my professor and the Global Studies graduate assistant, I was able to not only write the paper but also win an award for Best Position Paper Award for GA3. Attending the conference was already a great experience as I got to virtually work with students from other countries and states and winning this award was a surprising bonus. I had originally not been sure if taking the NMUN class would be worth it since the conference would be online instead of taking place in New York City, but I am glad I got this opportunity. I was able to learn more about international relations and improve on skills that every political science and global studies student needs. NMUN was a great experiential learning experience that I would recommend to any student at UIS, but especially those in political science or global studies.
When I entered UIS as an undecided major, I did not quite know what the political science department had to offer. I have been immensely happy with the professors who have always made themselves accessible to students and care about proving a notable learning experience. Although the professors have high expectations of their students they also provide all the support necessary to meet those expectations. UIS has been a great fit for me as a Global Studies and Political Science Major. I have enjoyed all the professors, the engaging classes, and the experiential learning opportunities I have had while being a student here. I did not know it when I applied, but UIS really is a good fit for students interested in political science.
Anjelica Linares is an undergraduate student in the Political Science Department and Global Studies Program.
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