Alex Durham

Alex Durham is a rising senior studying International Relations and Classics. He is currently writing an honors thesis exploring euroscepticism, Brexit and the European Union and spoke with us about his experience with IR at Stanford.


Why did you choose IR @ Stanford and what sparked your interest in the subject? 

I chose to study IR primarily because I love the flexibility that it offers. Instead of being stuck taking the same flavor of class, the IR program has given me the opportunity to experience both a range of classes in subjects from Economics to Classics and classes on more typically IR topics like human rights and American foreign policy, which is a big reason I chose to study IR. Because of this flexibility I plan on declaring a second major in Classics in the Fall, something I’m not sure I would have done had I not chosen IR in the first place. 

My interest in IR certainly stemmed from a broad interest in politics, foreign policy, and the law. IR was the subject that best encompassed these interests, and as soon as I started taking some introductory courses in it I realized that it would give me the best opportunity to pursue these topics while also exploring new and exciting areas of study. There was enough flexibility to try out classes in several different concentrations as I honed my particular interest, and I eventually realized I wanted to focus on European politics and international security.

What are you up to this summer? 

This summer I’m taking time to recalibrate and plan out my next year (maybe two) on campus while doing research for my honors thesis in IR and volunteering around my city (Atlanta). Given how everything was thrown for a loop over the past year I realized I needed the time to rethink my future plans, and given how much reading I have to do for my thesis it worked out quite well. 

What’s one thing you’re looking forward to when campus reopens in the fall? 

As cliche as it sounds I absolutely cannot wait to get back to living in California weather. I forgot how spoiled I was after coming back to Georgia and living through 100% humidity, 90 degree heat day after day. I also am very much looking forward to living with all my friends so close by, a luxury I took for granted until we all had to leave campus last March.