UCL Department of Geography


Ajoa Adu, BA Geography

Meet Ajoa, a final year undergraduate student on the BA Geography course and Co-Lead for the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Students Network at the UCL Department of Geography.

Ajoa Adu

7 December 2023

How did you get interested in geography?

My interest in Geography was piqued in Sixth Form when I learned about new geographical concepts such as geopolitics, development geography and climate injustice. I knew then that I wanted to study Geography at university to explore the breadth of the discipline and become a well-rounded student with a strong understanding of the historical and contemporary issues that shape our world.

I chose to study at UCL because it offered both human and physical geography modules. During Sixth Form, I was uncertain about my specific interests within the field so choosing UCL allowed me to delve into both and benefit from the expertise of renowned geographers whose research spans a range of subtopics.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned so far?

Undoubtedly, it was learning about development theories and critiques during my second-year Development Geography module. Being of Ghanaian heritage, discussions about development are frequent in my family and this module deepened my understanding of development processes, enabling me to participate in more informed and critical discussions.

What inspired you to join the Department’s BAME Network

As a Black-British student with a passion for fostering diversity, my inspiration to engage in the Department's BAME Network stems from a desire to create a safe space for BAME Geography students. Additionally, given the underrepresentation of Black students in Geography, being active in the network allows me to contribute to discussions about departmental experiences and address issues of diversity and inclusion.

I am the Co-Lead for the Network, working alongside Professor Caroline Bressey. I hope to cultivate a welcoming space for BAME Geography students to come together as well as organise and promote Geography events that resonate with BAME geographers.

I am committed to encouraging more Black students to engage with and explore Geography because Black students make up a tiny proportion of Geography students nationally. Black students are often unaware of the diverse opportunities Geography can provide them, both in terms of skill set and post-university careers.

What kinds of things does the BAME Network do? 

We recently attended a thought-provoking exhibition, ‘A World in Common’ at the Tate Modern which is centred around contemporary African art. Visiting the exhibition sparked interesting conversations on perspectives and interpretations of African artwork and I thoroughly enjoyed hearing the Network’s differing opinions about the significance of African artwork in galleries like the Tate.

Why should students get involved in the BAME Network?

Students should engage with the BAME Network to contribute and benefit from a group that understands and addresses the unique challenges faced by geographers from BAME backgrounds. The Network provides students with an opportunity to connect with peers who share diverse perspectives and build a community that promotes inclusion and representation within our Department.

What do you want to do when you graduate?

Thanks to my Geography degree, I’ve been equipped with a broad set of quantitative and qualitative skills as well as an appreciation for the interconnectedness of global politics and economies. My skills and interests have inspired me to pursue a career in wealth management where I can harness my understanding of geopolitics and its impact on financial markets.

I highly recommend studying Geography at UCL! You’ll be exposed to countless topics you may never have expected to like. Importantly, you can count on the UCL Geography Department to provide ample support and encouragement throughout your academic journey.

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