By UCL Faculty of Arts & Humanities, on 6 November 2023
UCL student Gabija Barkute shares 5 tops tips to find and secure an internship.
A record number of young people are now attending university, which can make it more difficult for students to stand out in the job market. Securing an internship can be a great way to get around this, as it will not only provide you with some relevant experience but also give you industry insight and hone in on the skills required. That said, securing an internship can be tricky, so here are my top tips to help!
1. Nowadays, many job vacancies are filled before they are even advertised, which means that it is all the more important to connect and stay in the know with those in the industry. One of the best ways to do this is via LinkedIn, where you can find people working in the organisations you are interested in, reach out to them, and connect. In my experience, many people are more than happy to respond and may give you some very helpful advice! You can also network via events held by the platform. You should exercise some caution about what you sign up for as LinkedIn is an external platform. Nevertheless, there are many opportunities out there awaiting without you even needing to leave your home.
2. Utilise your university careers service. Similar to LinkedIn, UCL Careers hosts a variety of events which give you the chance to network, as well as providing access to job opportunities that you may not have seen elsewhere via the jobs board. Additionally, you can also book one-to-one appointments to have a practice interview or to get some feedback on your CV, which is invaluable when it comes to making an application.
3. Search for opportunities via industry-specific job boards. This may give you access to opportunities that you did not even know existed and may also be less competitive than those listed on the most popular platforms.
4. Try to get as much experience as you can beforehand so that you can demonstrate your enthusiasm for the field in your application. This doesn’t have to be paid work; it can include activities like volunteering or completing virtual internships/online courses.
5. Be proactive. It may well be that there are no opportunities listed online for organisations that you are interested in interning with, but this does not necessarily mean that there are no opportunities available. If you don’t ask, you don’t get, so don’t be afraid to reach out to companies first!
Getting an internship can be tricky, but the key is to keep at it and stay proactive. I hope these tips have been useful; we all wish you the best of luck!
By UCL Faculty of Arts & Humanities, on 2 October 2023
UCL student Maria Eleni Rentzou shares advice on how to make real friends in a university with more than 45.000 students.
No one said that studying in a university with more than 45,000 would be the easiest place to make friendships. Trust me, it might sound scary and unrealistic, but this is not necessarily the case. Many students are scared to study in London because of this reason, but this should not scare you. In my opinion, you should see this as an opportunity to meet many different people where in the case of living and studying in a smaller environment that would be impossible.
Personally, as an international student, from a much smaller city where English is not my first language, I never saw the big and chaotic UCL environment as a barrier. Other than that, every day, I tried -and I still do- to treat it as a chance to expand my circle and meet people from various cultural backgrounds. If you do not try, you will not know, and that was what I thought every time I attempted to build a friendship. My advice is to talk to people. In most cases, your classmates are going to be the people that will be with you throughout your years as a student. Make an effort, get out of your comfort zone, and after your seminar, ask the person that sat next to you to go out for a coffee. What if you do not really like them in the end? Worst case, you just lost an hour of your life.
In my experience, people that study the same thing as you have similar passions and ambitions in life, and hence finding things in common is easy. That is the way I actually met one of my greatest friends at UCL. After my French Grammar class, I asked a classmate out for coffee, and now a year later, she is one of my closest friends.
Another way where you can make friends is through societies. UCL has more than 300 societies with various different activities. If you are an international student that misses home, you can always try the society from your country to engage in cultural activities from your country.
However, personally, I will recommend during your time at UCL to make the most out of it and try to socialize with people from all around the world. Do not stick with only people from your country because, in this way, you will miss the invaluable opportunity of intercultural relationships. Do not be shy or scared to try; get out of your comfort zone, say hi to people, say yes to invitations, and try new activities. UCL is full of wonderful opportunities and people that will make you happy. Maybe your real friends will not come in the first week of university, it did not happen to me either, but I tried, and I am still trying because having friends is a great gift that will brighten your life.
By UCL Faculty of Arts & Humanities, on 25 September 2023
UCL student Sheryl Cheung shares how to readjust to the start of term after holidays.
The start of a new term can be motivational or stressful, depending on how you look at it. Apart from being the perfect chance to finally reset your sleep schedule, it is also an opportunity for you to prepare for the busy weeks to come.
- From holidays to studying
It can be hard to readjust to university life. Instead of jumping straight into essays and exams, why not take the time to figure out where your priorities should lie? Take the time to set up your notions, buy notebooks and pens, rewatch your lectures – whatever you need! Having a clear to-do list can help you relieve some stress. Feeling ready to work is half the battle.
Going for a walk around campus might also help. You could visit the Main Library if you’ve got unfinished readings. Being around other students on their laptops might help you focus. Alternatively, head towards the Print Room Café if you want the sweet aroma of coffee to remind you of your unfortunate 9am class, or if you want some freshly prepared hot food like waffles or burgers as a pick-me-up.
If you still have downtime, why not find a couple of new spots for lunch along Tottenham Court Road? It might come in handy someday during exam season!
- Socialising in the new term
With each new term comes new friends, especially if you take elective modules! Being the one to reach out can feel intimidating, but most people welcome the conversation. Apart from “What course do you do?” and “What year are you in?”, why not try:
- Have you gone to the Bartlett library yet?
- You like Taylor Swift too? What’s your favourite song on Midnights?
- I like your sweater, where did you get it?
- Are you friends with [name]? You look familiar.
If you are shy, why not try out club and society activities instead? You’re more likely to find people with shared interests there and conversations can feel less stilted over board games or coffee. The student union website has a handy, comprehensive list of available activities. Some of them are free, some of them are paid, but there’s something for everyone with different levels of commitment! If you’re interested in a sport, UCL clubs are still offering taster memberships. Why not shoot them a message on Instagram if you’re interested in trying out a session or two? (Who knows, maybe you’ll find your people there!)
By UCL Faculty of Arts & Humanities, on 18 September 2023
UCL student Sharayah Munyi shares tips on adjusting to shared accommodation.
It’s fair to say that moving into shared accommodation can be a bit of a reality check for some of us, from having to share bathrooms to having to live in close proximity with people you’ve never met before. However, once you’re settled it can be really fun and you may even make great friends out of it so here are my tips on adjusting to shared accommodation.
1) Understand that everyone lives differently
To avoid getting upset over situations you cannot control you first need to understand that everyone lives differently. While you may shower for X amount of minutes or cook with X spices, we are all different and do things differently. That’s not a bad thing and so long as you communicate with others everything should be fine.
2) Get to know your flat mates
If you happen to live in a flat or generally just with other students try to get to know them. It’s always important to be friendly and cordial with the people you live with and getting to know them is a great start. Organising events to do as a flat or simply knocking onto your neighbor’s door when you first move in are all great ways to get to know the people you live with. You don’t have to be best friends but just knowing the people who live around you can instantly make you feel more comfortable in your new living environment.
3) Be thoughtful
I feel like we all hear horror stories of nightmare flat mates who leave a stack of dirty dishes in the sink or are just inconsiderate. Don’t be that person and just be thoughtful. You don’t need to police people’s every move because, of course you’re at shared accommodation. However, you need to think about others and be mindful in certain situations, the same way you hope others would treat you. If you cook, clean your dishes or come to an agreement with your flat mates on a rota, keep the bathroom clean and above all just clean up after yourself.
4) Pay rent on time if you can
I cannot provide direct financial advice but I would say try your best to pay rent on time. I understand that everyone’s financial situation is unique but having rent money hanging over your head isn’t ideal so if you can pay on time that’s great!
5) Set boundaries
Setting boundaries is so important if you live in shared accommodation. If you don’t want people knocking on your door at 1am on a Wednesday night because you have a 9am the next day, then communicate that with them. If you expect people to not trash your room then speak to them. Communication is key when setting healthy boundaries and so long as you communicate in a friendly way you’re doing it right.
I hope these tips have helped and I’m sure shared accommodation will be a great experience for you!
By UCL Faculty of Arts & Humanities, on 11 September 2023
UCL student Dylan Ngan shares how you can find out what works for you when it comes to academic study.
One of the more common tendencies of university life is the feeling of being overwhelmed by what seems to be a significant amount of work, whether within the scope of academics or your personal affairs. In an increasingly hectic world, there are certainly many things to get in order. As a result, it is perfectly normal to feel a slight panic at certain points, when things feel like they are slipping out of hand. Given this, what was useful to me was ensuring I was especially organised.
This meant writing down a list, having a clear overview of everything, allowing for an easier time with planning, prioritising, scheduling and allocation of resources along with setting reminders. Clarity and organisation, being able to divide a seemingly large workload into achievable pieces, is a great step forward to regaining composure, focus and control. You’ll find that developing a system of getting your tasks done on time is good practice. Furthermore, this is an opportune moment to find what sort of organisation style best suits your habits; it’s not about doing the right things, it’s about finding what’s right for you. A schedule is only a guideline; don’t let it dictate your life, let your life dictate your schedule.
Being organised in my daily personal life was also invaluable. It’s important to manage our time in both aspects, as it is often the culmination of things we need to accomplish in one of these areas that end up affecting the other. A big part of immersing yourself in university life and managing your time is finding a sense of stability, establishing habits, getting comfortable and finding a rhythm. Doing chores, doing the shopping, cooking and cleaning are not just beneficial in the obvious practical way, but also grounds you in a state of clarity, giving you a part of your life that you can have a firm grasp on while things are constantly changing and moving about around you. Sometimes, it’s not just about maintenance of an environment, but it’s worth considering rearranging your desk, decorating, reorganising your wardrobe. Maybe you’ll find a more efficient way to do things, maybe it’s about building an atmosphere that expresses your identity.
It’s possible to get enough sleep, not have to go through all-nighters, not have to rush assignments, go to all your lectures, do all your readings and still have enough time to relax, have a social life and do well for your exams and papers. One of the key aspects of achieving this is time management. Rather than doing lots, it’s about efficiency and effectiveness. Most importantly, take care of yourself. If you support your mind and body, they will support you when it comes to your academics.
At the end of the day, we are all trying our best. We’ll be okay, good !
UCL 24/7 Student Support Line is a free, confidential wellbeing service available 24- hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. You can talk to an adviser by phone on +44 (0) 808 238 0077.
By UCL Faculty of Arts & Humanities, on 14 August 2023
UCL student Sharayah Munyi share 5 things to know before starting university.
Starting university can feel overwhelming in many ways. From finding accommodation to simply adjusting to the new lifestyle, it’s easy to feel bombarded even before the start of term.
However, it can also feel really exciting but it’s fair to say that there are some things I wish I’d known before starting university and I’d like to share them with you.
1) Take care of your mental health
While starting university can be one of the most exciting times of your life, the transition can be difficult. Often, we feel like we have to balance academics, social life, and student living which can leave us feeling pretty helpless at times. But amidst this chaos remember one thing: your mental health should always be a priority. Whether that means saying no to going out one night or emailing your lecturer or even reminding yourself to eat something other than indomie and pot noodles. Please do it for your sake. You’ll thank yourself later.
Most importantly, remember to do more of the things that make you feel good and don’t forget that those things are not defined by anyone but yourself. If going home on the weekends makes you feel good then go or if you feel like you need to speak to a professional then do that. Don’t conform to conventions at the expense of your mental health and do what works best for you.
2) Freshers’ flu is real
Don’t get me wrong, you could be really special and just happen to not catch Freshers’ flu but the chances are if you’re at accommodation or just interacting with other people during fresher’s week, you may get Freshers’ flu. It doesn’t feel great and I can swear mine lasted a month but taking proper care of yourself will definitely help . Don’t forget to register at your local GP!
3) Make use of the perks that come with being a student
There are many perks of being a student which we often overlook. If you don’t have UNIDAYS then download it to get student discounts on loads of shops. The plethora of UCL and University of London libraries like Senate House are also pretty impressive so if you ever need a change of scenery you know where to go 😉
4) Your Student loan isn’t free money
We all get a bit carried away when that student finance money alert gets sent out and the money drops into our accounts. However, do try to set yourself boundaries when it comes to your spending. Of course, don’t stop yourself from buying memberships to societies or events during freshers but just be mindful.
5) There is no universal university experience
Finally, don’t compare your university experience with anyone else’s. There is no preponderant guide on how university should be and the things you should do or number of friends you should make. That’s why I won’t say too much other than trust yourself, don’t do anything with the intention of pleasing people (you will never win) and most importantly have fun.
By UCL Faculty of Arts & Humanities, on 24 July 2023
UCL student Catrin Manning shares advice for a Year Abroad.
You’ve completed two years of university and now you’re off in search of a new challenge; A Year Abroad! You may have already planned out every detail, or maybe you’re wondering where to start. Fear not, here are my top tips for surviving and thriving on your year abroad.
Plan. Plan. Plan.
Give yourself the best possible start to your year abroad and do your planning and research thoroughly.
Firstly, you need to decide where you want to go. This decision might be influenced by a language you study, a link to a particular area, or perhaps you just want to move as far away as you can! I study Spanish and Russian, so for my first semester I decided to go to Granada, since I had heard good things about the Russian department there, and it was close to the Sierra Nevada ski resort. This was quite important for me since I’m a competitive snowboard racer. When deciding where you want to go, decide what your priorities are. Do you want to be in a big city, or a rural area? Is the university’s reputation important? Will you want to continue any hobbies or sports whilst abroad, can you find these in your chosen destination?
Once you’ve chosen your destination, make sure to also research the logistics. Will you need a visa, what is the process? How will you get there, can you fly or take a train? What are the average living costs, will you have enough to cover rent and expenses? How will you manage if you don’t speak the language, do they offer classes?
It’s no secret that moving to a new country can be different to life at home, and it probably won’t always be smooth sailing. Part of the experience is learning to adapt to a new culture and finding solutions to problems.
In my experience, the best way to adapt to Spanish culture was to go out and explore the city of Granada. I learnt a lot about the traditional habits, such as what times people eat or how they greet each other simply by being out and about. I also learnt about the Spanish university system and the way things are taught by attending my classes and engaging with the work. You may find that things are completely different somewhere else.
You may have a lot of different emotions whilst on your year abroad, and homesickness could be one of them. It can be hard to move to a completely new place, but it’s important to get stuck in and make the most of your time somewhere new. A lot of cities will have a student network, and organisation that put on trips for foreign students, which is a great way to explore and make friends. I took one of these trips to Morocco and made some great friends along the way. It was nice to be able to share experiences and advice with one another, since we were all foreign students studying in Granada.
It can also be useful to speak with friends and family back home, be it a phone call or Facetime perhaps. It can be reassuring to see a familiar face and catch up about what’s going on back home. I decided to take a weekend trip back to London to catch up with some friends and have some of that familiarity back for a few days.
You can’t plan for every single detail; things might go wrong and that’s ok. At times you’ll need to improvise and adapt, but in my experience, it’ll make you a stronger, more resilient person. There’s no one right way to do a year abroad, so just enjoy the experience!
By UCL Faculty of Arts & Humanities, on 10 July 2023
UCL student Dylan Ngan shares how they transitioned to living in London from overseas.
When I first strolled around the UCL campus, those steps were of many firsts. It was my first time in the UK, my first in London and marked the beginning of my university education. Without a doubt, it is going to be one of many firsts for you too. It might be the case that this is the first time you’ve been this far away from home. Hopefully, by sharing some experiences and some things that have worked for myself and others in similar circumstances, it’ll ease the nerves and uncertainties of starting your journey here.
One of the more common concerns before starting the term is the feeling of being overwhelmed by what seems to be a significant amount of admin. There are certainly many documents and tasks to get in order, living arrangements, visas, getting used to a new place and routine. Apart from organising and time management, one of the first things to address is that it will be quite hectic finding your bearings in a new environment. It would be worth spending some time locating several places that will become part of your weekly routine. For instance, simply knowing where your local supermarkets are, shops for stationary , cooking and food utensils, or simply getting to know where your favourite coffee and pastries will be. For us international students especially, we searched for places where we could get a taste of home. It occurred to us quite early on, that although experiencing new cuisines and cultures are an essential part of being somewhere new, from time to time, we indulge in a little nostalgic gustatory trip down our memories again.
Apart from the fundamentals, there comes the greatest challenge of all. Being far away from home is perhaps one of the more difficult things to get used to. A part of what we miss is the inherent atmosphere of being in a shared space of activity, an unspoken bond of a similar culture, language and identity. Uncertainty of what is new may come from having to learn and adapt with certain social rules. That uncertainty, that invisible gap of things not feeling quite right, constitutes what many would call being homesick. For most of us, we have found a combination of two things that helped. One, was to remain in touch with friends and family from home. Consequently, being in a new place has helped some of us find a deeper appreciation for those we love and care about. The second is do and see more. You will make new friends, some will be in a similar situation as yourself, some will have grown up here. These friends can empathise and share your journey as well as guiding you towards assimilating and comprehending a new cultural environment. Embracing new experiences, new people may be uncomfortable at first, but they will help you grow. Have faith in yourself and others, there are helpers all around us, you got this!
By UCL Faculty of Arts & Humanities, on 29 May 2023
UCL student Catrin Manning shares 6 things you need to know before moving to London coming from the UK countryside.
So you did it! You moved to the big smoke. You might find it different to your old life in the countryside, so here are some must-knows before embarking on your new big adventure!
- Set a budget (and stick to it!)
One of the most important tasks you should do when moving to London as a student is set your budget. London can be an expensive city, especially when you’re used to living in the countryside. Calculate how much you can spend each week, and stick to it!
- Student discounts
Ahh student life. That means one thing; student discounts galore! Be sure to sign up to Unidays or Student Beans to get some serious savings on your spending. There are so many discounts to be had, everything from discounts on your favourite brands to 2 for 1 drinks. You can even get a student discount on the Tube! (Just be sure to link your railcard to your oyster card).
- How to Save on Food Shopping
Shopping in discount supermarkets such as Aldi or Lidl can be a lot cheaper than the big brands, and can save you some serious cash. Shopping around the end of the day can also save you some money since supermarkets tend to reduce their prices around this time. Some supermarkets, such as Morrisons also offer a 10% discount for students.
- Join a Club or Society
Student life doesn’t last forever, so make the most of it! Joining a club or society is a great way to try out a new activity and make new friends at the same time. It’s a win win! Be sure to attend the welcome fair at the start of term. It’ll give you the opportunity to talk with students from different clubs and societies, as well as find out about the various services UCL has to offer, such as UCL Careers or Mental Health services.
- Making Friends within your studies
Going to your first class can be daunting, but don’t be afraid to talk to people, especially in Arts and Humanities where most class sizes are small. Everyone there will be in the same boat, and will be glad if someone else makes the first contact. Your classes will seem much less scary if there are friendly faces waiting for you! Take some time to explore the many study spots around campus together, or create a study group. This might help you fill any gaps in your knowledge, to help you improve your grades.
- Get Out There and Explore the city
This one may seem obvious, but so many students don’t realise just how much there is right on their doorstep. Coming from a rural area, you might not be used to the idea of having so much to do, so close to home. Get out of the house and see what’s around. Take a trip up to Hampstead Heath, or challenge your new friends to a round of mini golf at Junkyard in Shoreditch. If your Instagram is all about food pics, then take advantage of all the weird and wonderful food places all across the city. Try Dans le Noir for a dining experience in the dark, or Beigel Bake for the best salt beef bagels in town. Temple of Seitan is a great place for all you vegans!
By UCL Faculty of Arts & Humanities, on 25 April 2023
UCL student Joseph Hurley shares their advice making your undergraduate firm and insurance on UCAS.
Hey, welcome to the world of university applications! I’m Joe, and if you’re like me, then you’re probably in that awkward stage of choosing between uni offers.
You may have already started to think about what factors to consider when making choices for your firm and insurance university. As someone who has applied to universities via UCAS in the 2021-2022 cycle, I can say that choosing both your firm and insurance on UCAS is a difficult decision- so this blog will hopefully give you advice about the things I considered to choose my first and second-choice universities.
Unlike myself, since the pandemic has (more or less) blown over, visiting universities during open days has become possible for prospective students, and is easily one of the best ways to choose between offers. This can give you a sense of the vibe at a university or the city it’s located in, as well as giving you the opportunity to meet current students/staff. Whether you’re interested in learning more about your course content or concerned about accommodation, an open day will be able to iron out any doubts a prospective student may have. Even when I “went” to virtual open days for my chosen unis last year, I found it really helpful to learn about things like the style of teaching and the specific pros of going to one university over another.
The other most important factor to consider is the difference between the grade requirements of your firm and insurance university. I think this varies a lot depending on how confident you feel about the predicted grades you submitted in your application in comparison to the strictness of the offer you receive. As a general rule of thumb, I’d make sure that whichever university you choose as your insurance, you choose one that has requirements that are just one or two grades lower than your firm university’s requirements- unless you prefer a university with lower requirements. This should give you enough room for error on results day (in the unlikely case that exams don’t go as planned) if you miss the requirements for your firm offer.
I applied to universities including UCL, Exeter, Bath and Surrey to study Philosophy and Spanish during my A-Levels. I firmed UCL after visiting it in person because the busy atmosphere on campus and the architecture appealed a lot to me, then I chose Exeter as my insurance because its requirements were slightly lower (I needed grades AAA for UCL and AAB for Exeter). This isn’t to say I didn’t like Exeter though, it also appealed to me a lot as a social and student-friendly city where plenty of students were out enjoying the nightlife.
I hope this helps reduce any stress about choosing between universities! If you’re still in doubt, you can always ask your friends/family/teachers as well as doing your own research.
Best of luck!