UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


Sam Johnson

Sam Johnson is studying History, Politics and Economics BA at SSEES. He tells us how his studies are going so far and why he chose to study this particular programme.

Image of Sam Johnson, SSEES student

Why did you choose to study at UCL SSEES?

The region SSEES covers is an interesting framework to build studies around, and in the context of 2022 when I was applying, I had become acutely aware of this due to the outbreak of the Russo-Ukrainian war. It was also a region rarely discussed in any of my prior education, so felt like a natural pivot to make for university study.

What are you studying and what attracted you to this particular course?

I’m studying BA History, Politics and Economics. This course was attractive to me when I was applying since it covers a wide breadth of disciplines which was uncommon from my research yet also something I desired as I find studying a little of lots of subjects more interesting and rewarding than focusing on one discipline, which seemed to be the goal of other degree programmes.

How is your course going? Any favourite modules so far?

Currently, the course is going well with a manageable workload, and I am enjoying the majority of the teaching. My personal highlight of the compulsory modules so far is Frontiers of History as it has introduced me to a new way of thinking about history not emphasised in secondary education and deals with interesting subject matter that impacted the history of the people of the SSEES region.

How would you describe the academic staff at SSEES? What is the support like?

I have really enjoyed the lectures from academic staff at SSEES who have taught me thus far; they have surpassed my expectations. The support I have received has been good as SSEES staff are very approachable, and I have developed a good relationship with my personal tutor.

What are the facilities like at SSEES and the UCL campus generally?

The facilities are great at UCL, I particularly like how accessible drinking water is with refill points set up around the campus. The libraries are also great, with each having a unique atmosphere making them suitable for different types of study, the only challenge is finding seats due to how popular they are as study locations.

What about the social life?

There is a large quantity of societies/sports clubs/etc at UCL, which did make choosing a few to involve myself with a difficult decision, especially since all the ones I interacted with offered high quality and informative social activities. Currently, I am part of the World History Society which is very informative.

How would you describe your fellow students?

My fellow students at SSEES are hard workers and are also generally nice people, which creates a positive and supportive atmosphere in seminars. The student body is also quite diverse so there is a mixture of experiences and personalities that results from this.

Where do you hope your degree will take you after graduation?

Currently, my end goal is to go into political commentary so I am hoping that my degree will get me into a graduate job that is a suitable first step towards that final goal.

Any advice for those thinking about taking this course?

Personally, I would recommend looking at gaining some familiarity with the basics of the SSEES region for History, Politics, and Economics since the course is centred around the region so having a small amount of prior knowledge will help you keep up, and also look good on a personal statement.

Find out more about History, Politics and Economics BA at SSEES.