UCL Department of Geography


Yvonne Tran, BA Geography International

Meet Yvonne, a current undergraduate student in the BA Geography International course at the UCL Department of Geography.

23 November 2023

Yvonne Tran

Why were you interested in studying a BA Geography International degree generally?

I always loved the interdisciplinarity of geography, with its overlaps with cultural studies, anthropology, sociology and earth sciences, I found geography had a great level of freedom to explore both the environment and people throughout the entire course. I also wanted to study abroad, so the international programme was a great option for me to do this for a whole year.

What was it that encouraged you to choose UCL to study it?

I knew I wanted to study in London and UCL was the first on my list, giving me the opportunity to study both human and physical geographies. Studying in the heart of London is such a unique experience, with a big arts and cultural scene I wanted to get involved with. UCL Geography also offers yearly field trips which I found exciting.

What have been the most interesting or engaging things you learned on the course so far?

Learning how to code, manipulate data and create maps has been such a great skill I thought I could never do before studying here. It’s one of the most fulfilling feelings to problem-solve an error in your code by yourself! I also found reading about colonial geographies that I was never taught at A-Level very interesting and it has entirely changed my perspectives on the discipline. 

Why did you choose the year abroad route and where did you choose to go (and why)?

I chose the year abroad to give me some time to really figure out what I want to do with my future and have the freedom to take for example sociology modules to supplement my geography studies. I’m currently enrolled at the University of Sydney to undertake dissertation research on the inequities of heat stress and climate change in urban areas. Sydney also offers. The proximity of South-East Asia to Australia was very tempting too, and I wanted to take the opportunity to visit my parent’s country, Vietnam.

What experiences have you had so far?

While in Sydney, I’ve been on hiking trips in the Blue Mountains, something I never thought I would have experienced in my lifetime. Also, going to swim at the beach in the morning before lectures have also been a highlight, something I could never do in London!

Can you tell us about any particularly memorable experiences from your time as a student with us?

Whether it be gardening on the UCL urban farm or forming an action group, Geographers Against Classism, with friends in the Department, I’ve made so many memories by meeting like-minded people and fully engaging in student life. Some of the most memorable moments I’ve had were hanging out with my friends on the beach Mallorca field trip! One of the most important experiences I’ve had was working for UCL as a Widening Participation Student Ambassador on the Geography Sutton Trust Summer School. This really opened my eyes to what I could do in the future. 

What do you hope to do in the future?

I hope to do a master's in education, at the Institute of Education and perhaps become a teacher in the future. Otherwise, I would like to continue doing my work in Access and Widening Participation or Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at schools or universities.

Would you recommend studying the BA Geography International degree in the Department and why?

I would 100% recommend the BA Geography International course as I think it’s given me so many opportunities to develop emotionally by making friends in the Department, as well as academically. The UCL Geography Department has been such a supportive environment for me personally. I’ve found the tutors have a vested interest in supporting me academically and professionally, they genuinely want me to succeed. 

Interested in following in Yvonne's footsteps? Visit our Study pages to find out more.