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Alejandra Palma  

Alejandra Palma (Guatemala)

(MSc Democracy and Comparative Politics)

I fell in love in England after participating in a student exchange program. I knew I had to come back and chose UCL to pursue a post-graduate degree. I selected this university because I was looking for academic excellence and a prime location. UCL is a prestigious institution and ranks fourth best university in the world. Second, it is located in London, a leading global metropolis and cultural capital. I feel very privileged to have the best of both worlds!

In terms of funding I was awarded the joint Guatefuturo/UCL Scholarship, which supports future leaders and funds postgraduate studies so that Guatemalans can compete internationally, boost the country’s development, and make society a more prosperous, united and egalitarian one.

I am currently enrolled in the Democracy and Comparative Politics programme. I have met and befriended outstanding students from all over the world, which is an invaluable asset both personally and professionally. Living in London has allowed me to attend numerous events presided by highly ranked national and international politicians, heads of prominent corporations, think tanks, non-profits, and international organizations. London is an endless source of networking opportunities in the areas of politics, government, development and foreign affairs.

I was elected by my peers as a Student Academic Representative (StAR). I sit in the Library Committee and I represent the concerns of my fellow students. I aim to improve the vital library and research services. My role is to communicate issues or positive feedback to our department and library provision, and conversely, to relay the information and actions taken by the Committee back to my peers. This is a leadership role that was vested in me, and allows me to be actively engaged with my classmates and with the School of Public Policy, the UCL Library, and the UCL Student Union.

UCL also provides a wide array of extra-curricular activities. I am a member of three different societies, including the Hiking Club. With this group I am able to get outside London. I had the chance to visit the White Cliffs of Dover, one of Britain’s wonders, and enjoy the 20 Km walk with students from other programs across UCL.

I also live in university accommodation, and I am proud to have been selected for the very competitive role of Vice-Warden. I live in Anne Stephenson House with my fellow wardens, and I am in charge of providing emergency cover for Ifor Evans Hall, Max Rayne House, Denys Holland Lodge, Neil Sharp House and Anne Stephenson House on a call out basis. My duties include maintaining good order, promoting a good social atmosphere and advising students with pastoral problems. I am also now a Red Cross certified first responder. I am pleased to be able to get involved in student life and help improve the living conditions in halls.

As an international student I have felt very welcomed by UCL and the UK as a whole. This has been so far nothing but a fantastic experience.

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