Student Life


Students of the Master in International Relations recently spent their Immersion Week in Brussels, gaining hands-on experience in the field, learning more about their future prospects and meeting top-level players in global affairs.

5 min read

The call for sustainable development is rising around the world. Sustainability is much more than a buzzword for students today; it’s an unavoidable part of life, necessary to ensure a healthy, green future for them and the next generations. In fact, a recent survey showed that 92% of them say they want to understand the basics of sustainable development, with a further 90% only willing to work for organizations with a good social and environmental record.

These shifting priorities present a new challenge to both companies and academic institutions alike: today’s learners want change—and they want it now. Luckily for future-forward students, IE University is built around sustainability as one of its core pillars. This principle cuts across all our programs, but is especially focused in the Master in International Relations: a program designed for dynamic leaders ready to change the face of global affairs. Whether they go on to work in the public or private sector, these change-makers gain the knowledge and skills to create a sustainable impact on a global scale. 

A practical education

The program aims to tackle climate change by molding future leaders who are next in line to drive sustainable policies within government and multilateral agencies, multinational corporations and civil society. Its biggest draw, however, is the fact that the program is designed alongside the OECD, placing students directly in the global socioeconomic policy and sustainable development ecosystems.

However, learning in this program goes beyond the classroom—its experiential approach helps students develop a broad set of essential practical skills.

The Master in International Relations Immersion Week: a journey into opportunity

This unique hands-on methodology incorporates various specialization tracks, collaborative capstone projects, international exchanges and exciting extracurricular activities that enrich our students’ master’s degree experience. 

One of these is the Master in International Relations Immersion Week. Students travel all the way to destinations in Brussels and Paris for one of the most high-level field trips around, connecting with the top companies and international organizations actively shaping regional and global landscapes today. As Master in International Relations student Manuela Mesa explains, “The Master in International Relations Immersion Week was an incredible opportunity to enhance our knowledge and gain practical insights.” The one-week excursion typically occurs between the first and second terms of the program.

Cracking the code in Brussels and Paris

Immersion Week offers students a chance to gain valuable insights into the world of international relations. Through a tour of leading partner institutions in Brussels and Paris, they get a feel for what it’s actually like to work in the field while building hands-on experience that boosts their professional profile. This year, those organizations included notable names such as the European Parliament, NATO, the OECD, UNDP and UNESCO.

The Master in International Relations Immersion Week: a journey into opportunity

They also visited top companies including Politico, Political Intelligence and AB InBev to round out their perspective. 

“Immersion Week was a remarkable opportunity to engage with professionals working within these organizations,” says Manuela. She and her peers not only learned how world-changing missions are translated to tangible action in the real world, but they also developed “a deeper understanding of the career profiles within the sector and the diverse paths that lead professionals to these positions.”

Tristan Ageda also participated in Immersion Week for a behind-the-scenes look at the realities of working in international relations. The Dual Degree Master in Management + Master in International Relations student reveals, “These experiences gave me a better idea of the day-to-day life in some of these institutions, as well as allowing me to fine-tune my research for a professional opportunity post-IE University.”

Transforming futures

Indeed, Brussels and Paris positioned these students perfectly to network and build connections that could transform their career prospects after the program. “The opportunity to engage and ask questions directly to professionals in the field provides a distinct advantage,” Manuela chimes in.

As she sees it, this direct exposure to professionals currently working in the field allowed her to gain a more “nuanced understanding” of the skill set she needs to succeed professionally. 

The Master in International Relations Immersion Week: a journey into opportunity

For others like Charles Soutar, this was his chance to start thinking more deeply about life after graduation. As the Master in International Relations student says, “I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to see the inner workings of NATO and the European Parliament in particular. However, he went one step further and began making active plans for his future—plans that have drastically changed since his experience in this Immersion Week: “I was apprehensive about working in the Third Sector as I didn’t feel that it would provide the opportunity to affect real change,” he says, adding, “However, having met with the representative of the UNDP, I am now much more interested.”  

The other side of immersion

Apart from the academic and professional benefits of Immersion Week, many participating students also relished the chance to build stronger relationships with like-minded peers and experience vibrant new cultures. “Exploring iconic cities like Paris and Brussels served as a refreshing backdrop for personal growth and cultural enrichment,” says Manuela. On the other hand, it was also an ideal moment to meet former students living and working in these cities. “I love that IE University is always in contact with their alumni,” Master in International Relations student Alexandra Bernal exclaims.

The Master in International Relations Immersion Week: a journey into opportunity

This added yet another beneficial layer to the networking opportunities our students were able to take advantage of during Immersion Week.

All in all, this Immersion Week proved to be a hotbed of insights, ideas and global connections. Apart from knowledge and practical skills, it also provided students with a roadmap to their ideal future in international relations and sustainable development. They came back excited, energized and motivated to continue building a career that would positively impact people and communities around the world. As Manuela neatly sums up, “The exposure gained during the immersion week will help students shape their career aspirations by offering a clear perspective on the steps required to excel in this field.”