Claire on her visit to Croatia during the 2014 Fall Break.
Each term, the College of Arts & Sciences highlights one of its Global MA students from the International Relations or International Nongovernmental Organizations programs.
Claire Mosby is part of the first Global MA in IR cohort to study in Havana, Cuba as part of their year abroad. We snagged a few moments to talk to Claire as she prepares to swap the Gulf of Thailand for the Gulf of Mexico.
What is your current city, and what’s your next stop?
Currently in Bangkok, Thailand. Next stop is Havana, Cuba.
Why did you choose Webster’s Global MA program?
I chose this program because I loved my study abroad experiences in undergrad and being able to complete my MA while studying in different regions of the world seemed like a valuable track for a program in International Relations.
Claire with some of her students in Thailand
Describe a memorable cultural experience that you’ve had after almost three terms in the program.
There have been so many memorable cultural experiences. In London we went to a QPR football game; it was such a contrast to sporting events in the States. Everybody was so focused on the match, not eating or drinking or talking. Those fans were impressive. Another great experience for me has been traveling to the Northern Province [in Thailand] where I previously lived and taught primary school. I was able to spend a few days with my former Thai students and friends and pal around my beloved village. I’ll get to go up there again before I leave Thailand. It’s one of my favorite places in the whole world with some of my favorite people and I love that I’m doing a graduate program that allows me to visit them!
What are some challenges that you have faced when trying to adapt to new cultures?
There’s always an element of “culture shock” when travelling and living abroad but I think some of the toughest challenges are the small things, not the screamingly obvious differences (like fried cricket snacks in food carts). Last term we were in Vienna. Most of the city was closed on Sundays — campus, shops, grocery stores, etc. At home, being able to access everything at all hours and days of the week makes even such a small thing difficult to get used to. It slows you down a little, which isn’t always a bad thing!
From left: Global students Sarah Laycock, Leon Forrest, Will Tobin, and Claire Mosby at Stonehenge
Academically speaking, what is the most enlightening part of the program?
The diversity of students in our classes is unique because we get broad spectrum of perspectives and ideas. As we move to each new campus we’re in class with students from different parts of the world [which] makes learning about International Relations more, well, international. We’ve for the most part had classes with around ten people in them that makes discussions more dynamic and our interactions with each other and the professors more meaningful and enlightening.
What are your plans for the future after you complete the GMAIR program?
I am interested in human rights, particularly human trafficking. I’ve been doing research and writing about this topic along the way in the program and I hope to work with the efforts of anti-trafficking in persons. I’m not sure where that will take me. Through professional seminars I’ve been able to see some organizations that work on that issue; a couple weeks ago here in Bangkok we visited the International Labor Organization’s regional office. So my plans are up in the air, but I have plenty of ideas and have gotten some useful exposure throughout the program.
Claire (left) with fellow Global student Sarah Laycock on a side-trip to Prague
What aspect of Cuba do you think will be the most exciting?
Everything about studying in Cuba seems like it will be exciting as we’re preparing to go there. People I know who have traveled there have wonderful things to say and I’m looking forward to getting there myself! It’s such a special opportunity to study in Cuba. I personally hope to explore the island and see as much as possible. We’ll have courses about US/Cuban Relations and Latin American Studies, so we’re in a great environment to learn those subjects. What I’m most looking forward to though is having the chance to form a better understanding of real Cuban life, aside from pure politics.
The Global MA program is still accepting applications to join our 2015-16 cohorts. For more information, visit webster.edu/global, or contact Sarah Nandor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interview by Gracie Gralike.