Seven Questions with Maelle Tappon
26 October 2018
Maelle is in her third year of studying a BA in Education Studies at the Institute of Education.
Her UCL experience so far has included volunteering abroad, enjoying the markets of London, discovering wall-climbing, and juggling three part-time jobs including brand manager for Frontline.
What are you studying, why are you interested in this subject, and what do you plan to do in the future?
I am an undergraduate in Education Studies at the IOE. I was very confused as to what to do before applying to university. Back in high school I took a religious/ humanitarian trip to Brazil, and it made me want to study the complex process that is education. I am more interested in the access to and quality of education in different countries around the world. Being in my third year, I am currently applying for a Masters in International Development and Education.
What is the most interesting thing you've done, seen or got involved with while at UCL? Off the top of my head, I would say the most interesting thing I've done at UCL is a volunteering trip with SKIP (Students for Kids International Projects) to Ghana. I lived there for a couple of years previously, so going back was really important to me. Apart from that, as part of a module for my programme, we had to present research on the quality and access of support services for international students at UCL. I thought it was just an academic presentation. Imagine my surprise when I saw that staff members actually attended our presentations and took our recommendations into account. I feel like my degree is not merely academic, our voices as students actually count.
Have you discovered any hidden gems during your time at UCL? UCL is so big, and being based at the IOE, I have to admit that I am always at the IOE library. In my first year however, I discovered this fresh juice truck between SOAS and Birbeck, right in front of Student Central. The juices are amazing and back in first year, it was probably my one and only healthy habit!
Give us your top three things to do/see/go to in London? If you're a foodie like me, go to Borough Market (London Bridge). Camden Market is nice as well, for walking around and experiencing the atmosphere. London has made me discover so much; this summer I went to a wall-climbing initiation. Since then, climbing has become a great activity to get away from uni stress, and I particularly love the Castle Climbing Centre. Finally, if you're a fan of carbonara, Gino D'Acampo's restaurant is a must!
If you were Provost for the day what one thing would you do? If I were Provost for a day, I'd give all students a piece of chalk and ask them to write or draw their dream job - or just any dream they want to accomplish - on the Main Quad.
Who inspires you and why? I think I admire people, like my sisters for example: they have been a great example for me my whole life. In terms of inspiration, I know what I want and I know what to do to get it.
What would it surprise people to know about you? I think it surprises people when I say I have three part-time jobs, but even more so, when I say I am a nanny for a family of five kids. As hard as it is, they are like my English family. I also teach French to kids, and work as a brand manager for Frontline (a charity that trains graduates and career changers to become frontline children's social workers). This is probably the most exiting out of the three. Working with Frontline is such a rewarding, eye-opening and skill-enhancing experience. I wish I had known about this kind of thing since my first year; I feel like I am doing everything this year because I don't want to miss more than I already have.