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SPS - Anna Wood

Anna Wood started Cambridge in 2005 having studied Economics, Government & Politics, English Literature and French. She is currently travelling and working in London.

'I chose to study SPS because of my interest in both people and current affairs. By the end of my three years of study, I really felt I had gained a much better sense of how the world works. One of the main strengths of SPS is undoubtedly its sheer diversity- the breadth of options available means that, providing one chooses wisely, a lot can be gained. The sociology/politics ‘stream’ I chose led to in-depth study of class and the politics of modern Britain, the causes of international conflict, the role of medicine and society, and capitalism in Europe. Although SPSers are often teased for taking the ‘soft option’, I found the course rigorous and rewarding; one gets out what one puts in.

Why study SPS at St John’s? As I soon realised on arriving at Cambridge , College life make a big difference, both socially and academically. John’s is endowed with some of the best academic and library resources in Cambridge, and my Director of Studies and supervisors had a real interest in my progress and went out of their way to help me get the best out of myself.

Although the Cambridge environment is not without its pressures, it also has many positive aspects; I never dreamt that I would live in such a beautiful place as St John’s , have so many wonderful opportunities on my doorstep, or meet so many engaging people. Over the course of my time at St John’s , I have been involved in various sports and dance, written for Varsity, and been part of other societies, such as the St John’s College May Ball and the St John’s SPS Society.

SPS at Cambridge challenges one’s intellect and understanding of the world.  I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading, forming and defending an argument.'

Update, March 2010: 'The possibilities that were open on graduation demonstrated the wide-ranging skillset that studying social and political sciences can provide. After a trip around South East Asia, I worked at the South Korean embassy in London supporting diplomats in the economic section. It was a particularly exciting time to be working in the international political arena with the backdrop of the G20 and its bilateral negotiations. I went on to work at a public affairs company before starting my career proper on the management scheme at Mars. The company has several different businesses, including drinks and pet food, but I feel lucky to be working in the chocolate business. For my first one-year placement of three, I am in the commercial, (procurement) division, in the cocoa buying team. I am respoonsible for buying finished chocolate products, like the white chocolate that goes into white chocolate maltesers and the chocolate chips on tracker cereal bars! I have also just started working with the dairy team and on EU trading regulations. The scheme is fast-paced and demanding, but the quality of the people, the opportunities to learn, and the responsibility I have beeen given from the very beginning make it a great place to learn a lot very quickly.'

  - Anna Wood, graduated 2008