Introducing… Raoul Ullens (2016 UCL Summer School student)
By utnvher, on 6 February 2017
For the latest edition of our blog we caught up with Raoul Ullens, a Belgian student who completed the ‘Global London: Contemporary Urbanism, Culture & Space’ module on our 2016 Summer School.
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
My name is Raoul, I was born and raised in Brussels, Belgium. At the moment I am doing an internship at a tech startup called Citymapper. Citymapper is the ultimate transport app which helps people find the quickest route to wherever they need to go. It is a young company but already their technology can be used in almost 40 cities around the world!
What were you doing before your internship at CityMapper?
Before my internship, I completed a BSc in Economics and Business Economics at Maastricht University, The Netherlands. As part of my Bachelor studies, I had the opportunity to do an exchange semester in Shanghai. My experience in Shanghai really enabled me to reflect about what I wanted to do next, more specifically, what area I would like to specialise in. Hence, I started looking around for summer programmes that would give me the opportunity to become more familiar with different subjects as to help me decide what area to specialise in. When I discovered UCL’s new summer programme and the different modules that were offered, I got really excited! I was particularly interested in the Global London module, because it would give me the chance to learn more about concepts related to urbanism, urban planning and sociology. Eventually, my experience at UCL helped me learn many things that proved to be very useful during my subsequent internship at Citymapper.
Tell us about your summer at UCL. What were the highlights?
I had an unforgettable experience at UCL! The staff were very welcoming and always ready to help, from the moment I arrived at the university until the very end of the course. About the classes, I really enjoyed being taught in small groups of 5 to 10 people. It gave us the opportunity to connect with our teacher. Moreover, the field trips brought us invaluable knowledge and helped us see the study materials from another perspective. Besides, being in London in the Summer is so thrilling! There are lots of events and places to visit. On a more human level, the staff were very dynamic and organised different activities to help students get to know each other. My personal highlight was the last night’s boat party. Watching the sun set behind London’s skyline while enjoying a pint with your friends on the Thames is quite an enjoyable experience!
Six months later, I can say that my experience at UCL has enabled me to learn about topics I hadn’t had the chance to study at university. Additionally, this experience has cemented my decision to specialise in urban planning. Without this course, I would probably have been too afraid to make such a move, and I would probably have stuck to my initial specialisation, that is to say finance.
And finally, the best thing about my experience at UCL are the great people I’ve met there and the friendships I’ve built during those intense three weeks!
A final point I would like to raise concerns the staff. I could not have hoped to have a more devoted and friendly staff. They were always on the lookout for improvements and were always ready to help. It is such a pleasure to see that the staff genuinely care about their students.
For more information on the UCL Summer School please click here
For more information on the ‘Global London Contemporary Urbanism, Culture & Space’ module please click here