Philippe Roesle: Deputy Head Bilateral Relations, State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation


Studying English at the University of Basel challenged me to develop questions, while teaching me how to devise and evaluate answers. I was taught how to engage critically with words, texts and ideas. The freedom and independence I had with my individual timetable allowed me to pursue my own interests in a broad range of interdisciplinary topics, furthering my lateral thinking and encouraging me to approach and understand issues from various angles simultaneously. These skills were invaluable when I embarked on my PhD at King’s College London and I still draw upon them in my current position in the global context of Switzerland’s science diplomacy.

My love for English literature really took off when I joined a student-led production of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. Bringing this text to life, together with like-minded students and friends, was an experience I still cherish. At the same time, I was attending a seminar on Shakespeare’s comedies. It was this combination of practical and intellectual engagement with literary texts that triggered my profound interest in all things Early Modern.

So, I would advise every student at the English Department to be open-minded and to get involved! The combination of social activities as well as the intellectual environment at the Department of English is unrivalled. In Basel the world can be your oyster – there should be no limits to your curiosity and drive for knowledge. Make the most of the university’s diversity – develop wide interests and pursue them. The diversity and broad range of the Department is fascinating and I would advise anybody to make the most of that opportunity in order to truly become an intellectual all-rounder.