Doing a placement at the British Museum
British Museum, Leah Stricker
I worked in a volunteer position at the British Museum, assisting with the processing of environmental material from an ongoing excavation. My supervisor at the British Museum, a former UCL PhD student, has maintained close contact with UCL environmental archaeology staff. The work I was doing there for her project was not only beneficial to me, but I was able to meet people within the British Museum in a variety of positions.
I would suggest to students to take advantage of all the amazing resources UCL has to offer, whether it is people, collections or library resources. Being in London itself was beneficial to me personally - living in such a multicultural community and working with people from all over the world has been a wonderful experience.
Interning at an international NGO
Transparency International UK , Jameela Raymond
I started a placement as Transparency International UK’s Research and Projects Intern in April of the first year of my Master’s. That internship allowed me to develop further in the world's largest anti-corruption coalition, and I am now Senior Policy Officer for the same team! The offices of Transparency International UK are in London, which is the same for most third sector organisations, so my availability to work in the city during my degree has definitely been an advantage.
UCL Careers helped me with my initial CV and interview preparation. The Institute of the Americas supported me by offering references. I would recommend that people consider studying part-time; if you work alongside studying you'll be able to get a head start on your professional career, and it will help you pay for being in the city!
Attending seminars at the Institute of Classical Studies
Institute of Classical Studies, Christine Plastow
Having the Institute of Classical Studies nearby has been invaluable for my research and professional development. The Institute library provides the widest range of research materials for Classics in the country and offers an excellent range of resources and a workspace used by academics and students alike.
Moreover, the Institute holds regular seminars on a variety of topics, providing the opportunity to hear papers from prestigious visiting scholars from international universities on a wide range of topics, as well as to network with other classicists.
I was lucky to be asked to serve as a Student Advisor on the Institute’s Advisory Council, allowing me to be directly involved in the planning and administration of the Institute’s activities. I would recommend that students make the most of the culture in London. There are so many things to see and do. Sign up to newsletters so you don't miss out and don't be scared to try something new or attend an event by yourself.
Enjoying varied and impressive study spaces
Institute of Historical Research, Fraser Mashiter
As an aspirant teacher, being in London provided the best possible density of opportunities for building up my classroom experience. The range of both libraries and alternative study spaces a short walk from UCL is phenomenal and one of the reasons I chose to study here. For my programme, this included The British Library, the Wellcome Collection and the Institute of Historical Research. There were even some I'd never heard of when applying! If, like me, you like a variety of study spaces and to work somewhere different every day, this is a great benefit of studying in London.
Studying in a city with such a thriving cultural and social scene means that whenever I need a break from the books to clear my head, there's always something interesting or exciting to do!
Applying new skills to a practical project
Castlehaven Community Association, Rafaella Schivartche
Our lecturer, Haidy Geismar, organised a practical project with Castlehaven Association in Camden. The practical project had the goal of helping the local Camden community learn about the activities that are offered at the association, both free and paid. We were asked to come in and introduce them to digital tools that would help craft a social media strategy to leverage offers and communicate them through a campaign.
It was interesting for me, as a foreigner, to learn about underprivileged communities in London. We also had a lecture with Simon Roberts, who is part of the board at EPIC, and this was a great opportunity to meet people from the industry working with ethnography. I'm now working as an innovation project leader at INSITUM, an innovation consultancy in São Paulo, Brazil. I think my degree helped me achieve this position.
Networking to get a job at Bloomberg
Bloomberg, Katarina Jesterle
The networking on our Master's programme and in the department in general was great, alumni included. This is how I was encouraged to apply for an internship at Bloomberg, where I was offered a full-time position in their Technical Support department after a few rounds of internship interviews. This wouldn't have been possible without the great support from UCL Careers, and Grad Club especially, who guided me through all the stages of my 5 interviews.
Without having come to London, I would never have been able to access all the resources for studying and the amazing job market in the UK. I have been working with Bloomberg for over a year now, where I am using my German and Russian skills, but most importantly my analytical and problem solving skills, acquired through my MA programme. I keep in touch with Russian clients on a daily basis, which allows me to stay in my field of expertise, but also widen my horizons and step into the world of business. I can only encourage all the humanities graduates to try their luck in the business world, your skills will benefit you in many areas!
Attending exhibitions to enrich the study experience
Wellcome Collection, Kate Smith
Firstly, UCL is in an excellent location, close to the British Museum and Wellcome Collection - both useful for my MA in Mediterranean Archeology. The campus itself also houses interesting museums such as the Petrie Museum, which houses one of the largest archaeological collections in the world for Egypt and Sudan. An outstanding part of my degree, that will no doubt help in the future, is the fact that I was in constant contact with experts in the field. Public seminars at UCL also facilitated careers networking and will definitely help me with securing a PhD.
London's a vibrant city. I was never bored! It is also quite easy to get a part-time job here.
Be proactive. Talk to your tutors. Join clubs if you have the time. Attend talks and seminars in yours and related subjects, and explore and enjoy the city too - make the most of being in a cultural hub with free galleries!
Doing a placement at the Science Museum
Science Museum, Raffaella Cecilia
I undertook placements at the British Museum and the Science Museum. My voluntary placement at the British Museum has enhanced my qualitative research skills, as well as my communication and organisation skills. Working as a volunteer for the Science Museum, as part of my programme of study, has developed my team-working skills.
I would advise all students to make the most of the opportunity of being UCL students and get volunteer positions to build up professional networks and enhance their CV. It is as valuable as a first in your degree.
Interning with a local charity in Camden
Camden Carers Service, Bixuan Zhong
I have benefited from a number of internships and volunteering placements, as well as the links UCL has with other organisations. I did an internship with the Camden Carers Service (CCS), where I learnt a lot of skills but most importantly it was a great way to get to know more about British culture, which helps me understand British literary works better as I am studying comparative literature.
I would strongly suggest to new students to get involved in voluntary work, take up internships and volunteer to help in conferences. It is a great way to get to know the culture here, gain some skills and make more friends. Being a Chinese student, I have found that volunteering is the most efficient way for me to learn more about life in London.
Studying in the reading rooms of the British Library
British Library, Jessica Bookman
Studying at UCL gave me access to original literary works at the British Library - for an English student, there is nothing more inspiring than being privy to those incredible works of literature. My exposure to the international landscape in London allowed me to re-evaluate my career trajectory, think about the opportunities that lie ahead, and feel more positive and optimistic about the choices for my future.
My advice would be to get to know as many people as you can - learn about where they come from, what their life experiences are, keep in touch, and make sure to travel to see them in the future. For me, London was a key that opened up the rest of the world to me. Today, I'm a lawyer in Toronto, Canada.