A Quick Trip to London and Brussels
Did anything surprise you? What?
On a more personal note, the SSP summer grant provided me my first opportunity to use my passport beyond the North American continent. There was certainly a sense that I hadn’t travelled too far from home (there was a 24-hour McDonald’s across from my hotel), but for a guy from Baltimore there was plenty that I still found surprising. Right off the plane, I was surprised at how relaxed everything and everyone seemed. I’m used to the DC security apparatus and the fast paced walk of people who think they are running the world. London may have been a victim of the 7/7 Bombings, but I could hardly tell given the lack of police presence. CCTV cameras were barely noticeable and hardly as intrusive and some complaints had led me to believe. London is a city where one can walk along the river and find himself no more than 10 steps from the SIS Building in Vauxhall!
Tell us about something unique you are working on and the impact it will have.
One of the reasons I applied for a summer grant was to meet people who might allow me to interview them for the Georgetown Security Studies Review. I met a NATO employee who has written extensively about nuclear weapons developments in Europe and China and a former UK parliamentary official who have agreed. In September, thanks in part to connections I made overseas, I hope to meet a former UK Ministry of Defence official who will allow me a chance interview him. My hope in publishing these articles is not just to give me an excuse to do more research on interesting issues but to share the knowledge of experts with all SSP students.
How will this experience help you in your job search and career?
Preparing for this trip reminded me of the importance of building relationships right here at home. When I reached out to former professors, friends, and colleagues for help with arranging meetings I was overwhelmed by how many had connections to people I hoped to meet. As someone who is vehemently opposed to networking events, this experience reminded me of the importance of building actual relationships with people – relationships that can absolutely span continents. Overall, my hope is that this experience helps me to meet more people to learn from. Proliferation issues are not going away but spillover effects of conflict may be mitigated by better arms control policies and methods. By continuing to engage with people actively working in the field I hope to be able to advance my career by gleaning valuable insights.