Students in the School of Social Science are very active in seeking out opportunities for internships, graduate schemes and other employment options post-degree. 

Click on the names to read more about some of their experiences during and after their degrees at the University of Aberdeen.

Sophia Burnaasefi

Sophia Burnaasefi

I carried out a 4 months internship with the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in London at the Ambassadors office of the Embassy. My duties involved monitoring and conducting research on Afghan-UK relations, organising state visits and social events, assisting correspondences of the diplomats, editing and drafting talking points for the ambassadors speeches. I particularly enjoyed working in such a multicultural team, the exposure to the diplomatic field, and  being part of important projects and conferences. These allowed me to put my knowledge into practise which was very rewarding. I am lucky enough to be continuing my internship at the embassy this summer as well, and I am excited to learn and experience more! 

Daniel Eden

Daniel EdenDaniel Eden, a double graduate of the University of Aberdeen, has accepted a Retail and Business Banking graduate position with Santander.  

Daniel spent 5 years at the University of Aberdeen, obtaining an MA(Hons) in Politics and International Relations and an MSc in Strategic Studies and Management in the process. He was the student representative for the School of Social Science for 2 years and, in this role, he interacted with students from all three departments. Daniel actively sought out opportunities to develop his skills and to improve his employability since his first year at the University. He completed the STAR Award programme five years in a row and cooperated with the University’s Careers Service on a number of occasions.

Over the course of two years the Santander Graduate Scheme will take Daniel through all key parts of the business and allow him to choose his placements along the way.

Luisa Freutel

Luisa Freutel

Last summer I did a three-month unpaid internship at the Mexican Council on Foreign Relations (COMEXI) in Mexico City. COMEXI is an NGO that focusses on the analysis, study, and debate of major global trends and their impact on Mexico. I was working in the Media and Communication department, which gave me a perfect insight into social media work and political communication. My main task was to promote COMEXI on all their social media channels. Therefore, I created infographics, videos, and posts. Furthermore, I helped to organize events, to analyze most recent news, to do political research, and to implement different (media) strategies. My favourite part of my internship has been the events. Once we were invited to have a debate with the Turkish ambassador in his residence. Another time we organized an event in cooperation with McKinsey and Co. about Cybersecurity. My time in Mexico has been very beneficial to me. Not just because I’ve met amazing people, also because I figured out, that I’m a creative person and that later I would like to work in something political communication-related.

Arthur Vincent

Arthur Vincent is an MA in Anthropology & International Relations graduate from 2010. He currently resides in Aubervilliers, France and founded a non-profit which teaches languages through sport to athletes from underserved areas. Read an interview transcript with Arthur Vincent here. View Arthur's alumni relations promotional poster here.

Oscar Voss

Oscar Voss had the unique opportunity to intern with the communications team at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) in Berlin. In addition to being part of the team responsible for ECFR’s social media presence, Oscar wrote the article "Chernobyl on ice: Russia’s new floating nuclear plant", accessible here.  

Oscar is grateful for the academic opportunities at the University of Aberdeen and its dedicated staff. He highly recommends students interested in European politics to take Dr Tabur's third-year politics course "The EU: Contemporary Challenges". Whereas he had previously held a general interest in politics, the course's academic rigour cultivated his specific interest in European politics.

"Coming to university I had a broad and general interest in politics. Your course changed my outlook on things and I now know that that my career after studying will be dealing with European related issues." - Oscar Voss


James Withers


James Withers says his time at the University was phenomenal and four of the best years of his life. “The one word that sums up my time at Aberdeen is social. I played rugby for the University and for Aberdeenshire and I was very aware that my course allowed me to enjoy all aspects of University life to the full.”

Despite having unconditional offers from Edinburgh and St Andrews, James’ visit to Aberdeen on a glorious sunny day, when Kings College looked so inviting, and the students were all enjoying themselves lounging on the grass, sealed his choice of Aberdeen as the University for him. James has definitely been the right person in the right place at the right time as far as his career is concerned. He graduated in 1999, (MA Politics), just as the Scottish Parliament was established, and joined the National Farmers’ Union for Scotland (NFUS) graduate trainee scheme as their Parliamentary Adviser. “It didn’t matter to NFUS that up until that point I’d never been on a farm, as they of course have a large number of farmers to talk to. What they didn’t have was any idea how to engage with the new Parliament, and of course, neither did anyone else! I was able to bring a very fresh (aged 22) pair of eyes to the way NFUS engaged with a range of audiences and will always be grateful for the fantastic opportunity and support they gave me.” Undertaking a number of roles for the NFUS, James was appointed Deputy Chief Executive in November 2005 and Chief Executive in 2008. During his time at NFUS, James represented the organisation at round table discussions about establishing an overarching body, supported by the Scottish Government, that would take the lead on the economic development of the food and drink industry. This body, subsequently known as Scotland Food and Drink, was born in 2007. When the post of Chief Executive became vacant in 2011, James was again in the ideal place to take it on. “I was ready for a change, having been at NFUS for 11 years, and I wanted to get beyond the farm gate. I also knew all the key players in the development of Scotland Food and Drink.”

“The most amazing thing about Scotland Food and Drink is that it exists at all! To get such a range of organisations round the table and working in partnership with Government to grow the sector had never been achieved before. Now, with a small backroom staff of 20, we have 330 member companies, partnerships with all the right organisations, and are well on our way to achieving that ambitious target of growing the industry to a value of £12.5 billion by 2017. The opportunities for Scottish food and drink in markets such as India, China and the Far East is enormous. We want to follow the whisky industry model – we are offering a high quality product, sustainably produced.

“The big challenge for our food producers is going to be how to produce more, with less inputs. Scotland is never going to be a low cost producer. For the home market we need to change the view of some people that ‘best value’ equals ‘cheapest’ and help them to think that ‘best value’ can also mean ‘produced to highest standards of welfare and lowest environmental footprint.”

When Scotland Food and Drink was established it was clear that there just wasn’t enough research and development taking place to support the innovation that would drive the economic development of the sector. “Among the big trends in the industry are sustainability, innovation in healthier foods, and good quality convenient food. The University’s Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Research, which has a 100 year track record in nutrition research, is doing a great job in contributing to these areas and it is clear to me that the need for the type of research carried out by the Rowett is probably greater now than at any other time.” If you want to find out more about the food and drink industry in Scotland, and about James in particular, then follow him on Twitter. An enthusiastic and entertaining tweeter, James manages to blend some more personal tweets with his role at SFD, in a way that perhaps few without his background and experience would be able to do. “I find that Twitter is simply the most time efficient social media platform. I was originally really sceptical of it, but now I can’t remember the last time I picked-up on a major news story anywhere other than on Twitter. Of course, it can attract the loony fringe, and I know that there are some topics which if I tweet about will immediately produce a spat of replies, but by and large Twitter excels at the getting, and communicating of news.”

Finally, James has a message for academics wanting to engage with the policy and political audiences: “You really need to think about the clarity of your message – keep it short and sharp. Politicians everywhere are simply drowning in information. Academics are very good at churning out loads of information such that their message gets lost, and they aren’t always clear what they want from their MSP either.”

View the full alumni relations poster here.