UA student shares international experienceBy Lane Stafford | 11/30/2015 8:07am
Ann Elizabeth Sovereign poses on the Millennium Bridge over the Thames. Photo courtesy of Ann Elizabeth Sovereign
Ann Elizabeth Sovereign graduated from The University of Alabama in the spring with a degree in philosophy and political science. During her last undergraduate semester, she decided she wanted to study abroad while getting some kind of internship or work experience.
After some research, she found the Hansard Society Scholar Program. Their mission is to “bring undergraduates, postgraduates and professionals from around the world to study and experience British politics from the inside.”
Sovereign explained she learned a tremendous amount about the political issues and policies of England while also getting valuable experience working with international people.
“Anyone studying something that has a global focus, I think this program can really help you,” Sovereign said.
Before embarking on her journey to England, Sovereign gained valuable experience that helped her to get into the program, including taking classes on western European politics and working on her sororities’ executive board for two years. She explained that the ability to communicate well and her knowledge on foreign politics aided her in the application to the prestigious Hansard Society.
While in England, Sovereign got the opportunity to go on campaign tours and travel all around the UK, including the Scottish highlands.
One of Sovereign’s favorite memories was meeting the leader of the Liberal Democrat party, Nick Clegg.
“One of my last days, they told me I would probably want to stay for the town hall meeting,” Sovereign said. “I had been to a million of these and I really wasn’t feeling it. But my boss was super persistent that I go.”
Once she was in the town hall meeting, someone announced that there would be a special guest.
“They said, ‘Nick’s here,’ and I lost it,” Sovereign said. “I was in shock.”
She was expecting him to leave right after the meeting, but he proceeded to call out Sovereign and thank her for all the work she did for the party.
“That was one of my favorite parts for sure,” Sovereign said.
While in England, she developed a love and passion for the British law system. Instead of going to law school at Alabama, which was her original plan, she is currently taking a year off and applying to law schools in the UK and Washington, D.C.
Sovereign hopes to eventually work in international human rights law. If it weren’t for this program, she would have never found her passion for the British law and lifestyle.
Many students at the University find study and internship abroad experiences extremely valuable.
Brikk Bralley is a sophomore with an undecided major in pre-law and plans to study abroad next year. She feels that an experience abroad will help to further her passions like Sovereign.
Bralley explained the importance of an overseas experience.
“When you go to other countries and experience other cultures, you are able to learn about perspectives you’ve never been previously exposed to,” she said.