UCL Institute of the Americas


Astrid Knox-McConnell

BA History and Politics of the Americas (with a year abroad)

Astrid Knox-McConnell

I chose to study History and Politics of the Americas (with a year abroad) at the Institute because of the unique chance to take a deep dive into the US from a variety of different perspectives. The interdisciplinary nature of the department has allowed me to both explore multiple fields of study of which I am curious, as well as specialise in my final year. Studying abroad in the US enhanced this multifaceted approach to understanding the Americas, providing me the opportunity to take classes I had never before considered, such as food studies. This has not only informed my dissertation topic, but also inspired my decision to undertake a Master’s in the US.

Despite a difficult start to my university experience due to the pandemic, I am now finishing my time in the department surrounded by a close-knit group of friends; the intimate nature of the Institute has meant that, despite coming back from my year abroad into an unfamiliar year, I have quickly grown close with fellow students, and faculty. Similarly, the guidance of the ever-encouraging staff, especially the incomparable Nick Witham, has meant that I have always felt supported through my time at the department – I owe them a great deal, particularly in regard to assisting me in the daunting application process for further study.

I would encourage all incoming students to make the most of the community fostered at the Institute – chat with lecturers, meet your personal tutors, study with peers, attend events. This final year I have been able to truly get involved, which has made it my best year at UCL by far.