Polychronis Kapalidis – MA International Relations graduate

Current employer: Hellenic Navy

Current job title: Navy Officer (Lieutenant)

Current location: Athens

“Plymouth is a great place to study, both at an undergraduate and postgraduate level… Not only are the facilities modern, but the staff, both academic and administrative, are always there to assist you and to provide guidance and support. Plymouth offers everything an ambitious person could ask of his or her studies.”


Tell us about your career path since graduation.

After completing my postgraduate studies I rejoined the navy and was appointed as Operations Officer on board a Greek warship (frigate). Since then I have had the chance to travel the Mediterranean and Red Sea, and participate in multinational operations. In addition, since August 2014, I have also been appointed as a part-time lecturer in the Hellenic Airforce Academy, and as of June 2015 I will also be teaching at the NATO Maritime Interdiction Operations Training Centre (NMIOTC) in Crete.

Has your career path changed since graduation?

Indeed it has. Due to the experience and knowledge gained during my postgraduate studies at Plymouth University I was appointed to teach international relations and strategic studies in various military schools. Also, I am eager to continue my studies and commence a PhD on a relevant discipline. Hence, Plymouth University has opened a new career path for me.

What is the most difficult thing which you have faced in your career? 

As a Navy Officer the most difficult thing is when you are away from home; away from your family and friends. There have been times in the past when I had to be away for four months. Communication with them is always difficult, and not being there to see your child grow up or when someone passes away are some of the challenges you face as a Navy Officer. You need to build very strong family bonds in order for them to be able to cope with your absence.

What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career? 

Before my studies, the most exciting thing was travelling abroad and visiting new places. I had the chance of visiting four out of five continents: America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. I have crossed the Equator two times; something which is very exciting and unique for every sailor. After my studies, the most exciting thing is certainly teaching. Being able to interact with younger officers and inform them about new developments is really fascinating.

How did studying at Plymouth help you? 

Studying at Plymouth helped me in several ways. Firstly, it provided knowledge regarding international relations and security studies which were really applicable to my job. Secondly, it helped me to get more involved in teaching, which is something I really enjoy. And finally, it motivated me to pursue a doctorate and to possibly commence an academic career.

What is your favourite memory of studying at Plymouth? 

I have to say the city. I am not saying that studying itself was not exciting, because it certainly was. But living in Britain’s ocean city was tremendous. My wife and I loved living in Plymouth for a year. We enjoyed our walks along the Barbican and the Hoe by the sea, our time out in the city centre, and our weekend excursions in Dartmoor and the English Riviera.

Would you recommend undertaking a course with Plymouth University, and why? 

Certainly. Plymouth is a great place to study, both at an undergraduate and postgraduate level. Apart from the city, which is great, the University itself is a piece of art. Not only are the facilities modern, but the staff, both academic and administrative, are always there to assist you and to provide guidance and support. Plymouth offers everything an ambitious person could ask of his or her studies.

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