UCL Anthropology


10 (free) experiences at UCL that will boost your CV

Riani Kenyon, final year Anthropology BSc student, writes about some of the opportunities she took advantage of during her degree.

Microscope over an object in the UCL Ethnography Collection

4 October 2021

So, you’re coming to UCL and you want to make the most of your time here? It’s not all about writing essays and PowerPoint presentations - there are so many different opportunities that will help you build skills, meet new people and look amazing on a CV. Here are some of the opportunities I took advantage of at UCL:

1. Global Citizenship Programme

The Global Citizenship Programme focused on global issues and offered collaborative training on possible approaches to solving these issues. It was advertised through the anthropology mailing list and since it was unique to UCL (and free) I decided to try it out! I signed up for the ‘Power to the Planet’ strand. It was interesting listening to experts discuss climate change and possible practical solutions. I also got a chance to speak to students at UCL outside of the Anthropology department and helped me break out of my academic echo chamber.

Skills: interpersonal skills, collaboration, negotiation, presentation, debate, campaigning, problem-solving.

2. Fellowship with the United Nations

This Fellowship is a leadership development programme offered by the United Nations Academic Impact and Millennium Campus Network. For this Fellowship, I had to come up with a project based on social impact and the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). To complete the Fellowship you have to work on your proposed project while attending fortnightly leadership training sessions, as well as webinars hosted by experts on specific SDGs. Luckily, this Fellowship took place during the Summer Break, so the workload was manageable.

Skill: leadership skills, social impact techniques, budgeting, strategic goal setting, interdisciplinary approaches.

3. Committee Member of the Model WHO

UKWHO is a WHO simulation that hosts events and provides training on proper WHO modes of conduct, diplomacy, and debate. I knew about this role thanks to the department mailing list where endless opportunities are posted. As the Head of Design I try to make social media posts look as pretty as possible by using Canva and also improve the UKWHO website. I also have to maintain communication with all the relevant committee members - so a balance between independence and collaboration is key!

Skills: web design, graphic design, diplomacy, debate, communication, advocacy, networking.

4. Sustainability Programme with TISS

The Tata Institute of Social Science (TISS) collaborated with UCL to provide this week-long course on the Sustainable Development Goals in Mumbai. It allowed me to discuss sustainability with PhD students in Mumbai and students from different disciplines within UCL. This opportunity was also advertised through the anthropology newsletter (they really do post the best things on there!) and was aimed at students interested in SDGs. It was conducted during Reading Week and the lectures were from 8 am to 2 pm (yeah, I know, long right?) and from 2 pm to 3 pm I met up with my assigned group to work on a presentation condensing everything we learned throughout the week.

Skills: presentation, interdisciplinary approaches, fieldwork and research, communication, collaboration, sustainability literacy.

5. Academic Representative

This was an experience I actively sought out. I had heard about the departmental academic representative role during induction week and I wanted it so bad. So I reached out to the administrators and it turns out I was the only one in the first year who was interested in being a representative so I got the job! This role involved collecting feedback from students on basically every aspect of the UCL Anthropology department. I would then present the feedback to the departmental staff during meetings that happened once a term. This meant that I had the opportunity to get to know the staff even more and was able to make a real difference in my department.

Skills: communication, diplomacy, data collection, leadership skills, problem-solving.

6. Member of the Student Sustainability Council

This one I heard about through the grapevine, but it was advertised on the UCL Student Union website and social media platforms (so keep an eye on those). As of 2020, it’s a fairly new concept, but essentially a group of students gathers once a term to discuss possible sustainable solutions that can be implemented on campus. Similar to the student representative role, this allows real changes to happen on campus and it’s driven by students.

Skills: problem-solving, communication, sustainability literacy, interdisciplinary collaboration, leadership, debate.

7. LinkedIn Learning Certificates

If you’re a UCL student you get access to LinkedIn Learning for free. This means that whenever you watch a video on LinkedIn Learning the skills that video teaches shows up on your LinkedIn profile (which people can endorse) and you receive a digital certificate. This is great because when your future employers look for you on LinkedIn (and trust me, they do) they can see the specific interests and skills that you have, making it more likely that they’ll hire you!

Skills: endless.

8. Ethnography Collection

The Ethnography Collection in the Anthropology department and has over 2000 objects and 3000 photographs. All these objects are being added to a catalogue so that researchers, artists, and generally anyone interested can view the objects online. All of these thousands of objects were catalogued by students in an Excel sheet. Volunteering at the ethnography collection includes meeting up weekly with other students to analyze the objects or photos and add the information to the spreadsheet. It’s also a chance to meet people in the Anthropology department that you would usually never get the opportunity to meet.

Skills: Excel, group work, collaboration, communication, object analysis, concise writing skills.

9. Student Mentor

Not only is this a free opportunity to build skills, but you actually get paid! However, this is only available to students who have completed their first year. This is because this role needs you to give guidance to first-year students and help them integrate into university life. Every first-year student is assigned a mentor and I was given a group of students who I need to advise according to different themes each week. The sessions had to be both fun and informative, so using different resources was fundamental.

Skills: presentation, creativity, leadership, personal organisation, interpersonal skills, communication.

10. Student Ambassador

Similar to the Student Mentor role, this role is paid (with the added benefit that it looks great on your CV). As a student ambassador I represent the UCL Anthropology department by writing articles (such as this one), record book and film video reviews that relate to anthropology, and interview lecturers.

Skills: video creation, interviewing, journalism, writing, communication, time management.

To conclude, all these experiences combine to create an impressive CV - all free of charge! I have listed all the skills that these experiences will teach you. I hope you will get the chance to experience at least one of these opportunities. I hope this shows you creating an impressive CV doesn’t have to cost you anything, so get out there and amaze your future employers - you’ve got this!

This article was written in March 2021, access to these opportunities is subject to change. Please check relevant UCL website pages for up to date information.