UCL Department of Geography


Paul Kim, BA Geography

Paul Kim is a recent graduate from the Department of Geography, where he studies BA Geography.

BA Geography student at the UCL Department of Geography, Paul Kim

26 September 2022

“I chose UCL because it offered the chance to get a critical geographical education in a world-class city.

The reputation of the Department, combined with the unique student culture of London, made UCL an easy choice.

The BA is the most flexible option out of all the undergraduate Geography courses.

It meant I was able to explore the social sciences in the widest possible way while staying grounded in diverse theoretical approaches.

That being said, it also gave me the room to learn about practical methodologies, meaning I’ve come away with skills like GIS that have made me more employable.

When I started at UCL I was mostly interested in working in American electoral politics.

It’s another reason I chose the course as it gave me the opportunity to pursue this passion through my modules – from mapping election results to learning about recent geopolitical perspectives.

But the great thing about higher education is your interests and passions evolve the more you learn.

I spend most of my time thinking about concepts I wasn’t even aware of when I started my Programme.

The highlight of my course was definitely completing my dissertation. I looked at the fraught relationship between contemporary politics in Montana and colonial discourses of gender, sexuality and nature.

The dissertation is the centrepiece of the BA course. It gave me the opportunity to think and craft an original piece of scholarship while getting guidance and advice from the faculty.

Some of my best friends at UCL were the people I met through my course. Geography is a unique Department, something that’s reflected in the diverse intellectual pursuits of my peers.

The further I narrowed my interests in human geography, the more I appreciated being in the same cohort as people who had taken often very divergent paths – from climate modellers to cartographers to data scientists.

After I graduated, I moved to Missoula in Montana, where I recently accepted a job offer at the civil rights organisation ACLU of Montana.

My work will be focused on the tracking and lobbying of bills being put through the Montana legislature.

I’ll be using a lot of what I’ve learned in my degree for my new role.

It’s important for me to have an understanding of local political dynamics so I can advocate for the policy outcomes that will have the greatest benefit for the most marginalised in the state.

I owe much of that awareness to my education at UCL which gave me a deeper understanding of the politics of gender and land usage.

Whatever else I decide to do with my future, the UCL Department of Geography has given me the ability to go after diverse roles, from environmental policy to cartography to law.

That flexibility is a fantastic reflection of the versatility of geography education."