“The entire experience at the G20 can only be described as surreal. It was a couple of hectic days that were probably more eventful than an entire regular year. It has been the highlight of my time at the University of Sheffield and it certainly has been an insightful experience that I will never forget. Getting the VIP treatment, freebies, security checks and media buzz at the international Media Centre made the overall experience unlike any other .
But beyond that, my favourite part was engaging with policy in the making and being able to witness from backstage, the events you normally just read about in the news. At the Media Centre we were in the middle of all the action at the G20, having access to live reports , leaked communiqués and press conferences with important public figures and relevant actors. It gave us an insight into how these type of forums work and it enabled us to put into practice the theoretical knowledge and skills we have gained in our degrees.
We had more access to the ongoing G20 events than I could have dreamed of; I even attended press conferences by leaders whose political careers I have followed for a very long time. As a politics student, being able to attend to conferences by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and US President Barack Obama, was an experience that was not only priceless but unforgettable. The environment in the conference room, with cameras flashing and unexpected questions being answered on the spot by world leaders, gave us an insight into both the political dynamics and the role of the media. Most of this is just lost in the brief video clips showed in news broadcast, but with the backstage access we had , we were able to grasp a more comprehensive understanding on what actually occurs in these events .
Attending the G20 gave us hands on experience and knowledge on the questionable validity of such summits. I have gained a better understanding of the logistics involved, the security needed ,the effect on local population, the role of outreach groups , the superficiality of media coverage, and the actual outcomes of the G20.
This GLI scheme gave me the chance to step outside of a seminar room and into the heart of political action. Allowing me to see the practical uses of my degree , giving me actual experience on policy analysis and insight into a future career path .
Covering the G20 , certainly has been a life changing experience that has reinforced my passion for International Relations and allowed me to develop numerous professional skills.”
Laura is an Undergraduate studying BA International Relations and Politics in the Department of Politics, University of Sheffield.