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Looking Beyond The Horizon

Kenddrick (centre) pictured with staff from Higher Education 1.
Kenddrick (centre) pictured with staff from Higher Education 1.

Shortly before entering university, Kenddrick Chan’s world turned upside down when his mother suffered a severe stroke and was left disabled. What followed was a challenging period for the current SIM-University of London BSc (Hons) in International Relations student.

“I had to juggle part-time work, studies and visiting my mother at the hospital. There was a lot of stress and pressure to keep up with my studies as well,” shares Kenddrick.

During this trying time, both Kenddrick and his sister made adjustments to their schedules in order to care for their mother, who had raised them single-handedly and was the sole breadwinner of the family.

Determined to make the best of his circumstances, Kenddrick put his best foot forward in his studies. Although he studied for a diploma in IT, Kenddrick took a keen interest in international relations.

“I was in the midst of my diploma studies in 2011 when the Arab Spring broke out. The possibility of the Middle East democratising somehow fascinated me. It captured my imagination and made me realise that my true passion was outside of IT. Hence, I decided to apply for the BSc International Relations programme,” he adds.

Driven by the passion and desire to understand the dynamics of an interconnected and rapidly changing world around him, Kenddrick excelled in his studies and gained an admission to the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) to pursue his masters in international relations.

“I would say that my offer of admission to LSE has largely been a result of my approach to my studies. I have always aimed for the best grades and nothing else, I made sure that I continued to go through relevant academic literature even after completing them and read as much as I can,” he says.

“My reason for doing so was that although I had received my exam results, my interest in the subject did not end simply because the semester had. Learning is indeed a lifelong process and the knowledge gained today might be useful in the future.”

Kenddrick adds that his success would not have been possible without the help of his lecturers “I benefitted most from lecturers like Dr Selina Lim and Dr Felix Tan who had been excellent at their jobs and undoubtedly played a key role in my learning,” he notes.

As he pursues his final year of studies before graduating, Kenddrick believes his time in SIM GE has been one to cherish.

“My degree programme gives me the ability to apply theoretical academic knowledge to real-world empirical contexts, and enables me to be engaged when it comes to relevant topics on international affairs. This will definitely serve me well not just in a career in international relations, but it will also help in a wide-range of industries such as business or the civil service.”

Gaining A Global Advantage

Apart from his studies, Kenddrick also took time to sharpen his global competence by going on a summer abroad programme at LSE Summer School after being awarded an SIM scholarship.

He also volunteered to guide and coach fellow students of many nationalities during Peer-Assisted Learning (PAL) programmes at SIM.

“While on campus at the LSE, I opted to study a module titled ‘IR160 The Middle East in Global Politics’ as I wanted to gain more knowledge about the Middle East, given how parts of the region were embroiled in civil war. I was able to gain a better understanding of different cultures not only because of the topic I chose but also through my interactions with my classmates.

“My time at the LSE Summer School allowed me to engage with students from all over the world such as Australia, Brazil, Belgium, China, Ireland, Morocco, Lebanon, Spain, USA and the UK. Likewise, my time as a PAL Leader was valuable as I got to meet students of different nationalities and ethnicities.”

Things have turned around for the better at home as his mother’s health condition has stabilised while his sister has graduated and is currently working as a teacher.

“Looking back, I’m glad that things have improved since then. I guess what enabled me to overcome such unforeseen challenges was my determination to do well, plus the support structure I had,” says Kenddrick.

Kenddrick hopes to gain a scholarship that will lighten his financial burden as he pursues his masters studies. He also aspires to land a career in academia after he graduates.

“Having sat through exam revision lectures conducted by esteemed lecturers such as Professor Chris Alden from LSE at SIM GE has enabled me to have a first-hand experto see what it is like to be at the top of the field… I would very much like to go on to have a positive influence on students in the same manner,” he says.

Click here for more information on the UOL BSc (Hons) in International Relations programme.

Posted online, 07 May 2018, updated 17 May 2018