The moment I arrived at my Tufts dorm room on a toasting late-August afternoon, I began putting up a map of the world on the wall next to my bed. It has been a mini-tradition of mine no matter where I live, since, let’s say, as early as I can remember. I can’t explain why it is so engaging to just stare at a world map and memorize all the countries, flags, capitals, and population sizes, even though this has been my hobby for at least a decade.
Unlike many of my peers who came to Tufts Undecided, I knew with certainty that I would major in International Relations (IR) long before I applied to colleges. I declared my major in IR in the second month of my freshman year, after having an hour-long conversation on 20th century East Asian politics with my Intro to IR professor at the end of his lecture. Never for a moment have I thought of changing my major; in fact, living in 2020 where the world is now all too capable of destroying itself, I only believe with greater certainty that I chose the right academic path.
I chose Tufts very much because of the students, as well as the IR program. IR has been one of the most popular majors at Tufts for years, courtesy to its unrivaled academic rigorousness, flexibility, and opportunities. Accompanying these attributes, IR at Tufts is also an interdisciplinary department that mirrors the complexity of the world. If you are as passionate about learning how the world works as I am and want to join the Tufts IR herd, just looking at our seven “thematic concentrations” would make you scratch your head. This might only get more confusing when you look at our five cores, six “categories” under each concentration, five regions under the “Comparative Analysis” concentration, eight semesters of language study, and countless study abroad options. But don’t worry! I’ve been there and I’ve survived, and that’s why in a following series of blog posts tentatively titled “A Tufts IR Survival Guide,” I’m going to break down the various requirements you will fulfill, how I fulfilled them and, most importantly, why these requirements make IR at Tufts special.