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World Urban Forum 2020 – UCL Climate Action Society

By skye.aitken, on 25 February 2020

Written by The UCL Climate Action Society

This past weekend UCL students Aliza Ayaz (BSc Global Health, 3rd year) and Tehnia Amir (BSc Information Management, 2nd year) became the first students from the United Kingdom to speak at the United Nations. They were the youngest speakers at the 10th session of the prestigious World Urban Forum in Abu Dhabi and represented UCL’s Climate Action Society.

Aliza spoke on Youth, Peace and Security, and Tehnia debated the challenges of implementing climate action strategies in urban spaces.

“We are so grateful for the opportunity to have discussed the final declaration alongside Mayor’s, Minsters, and members of the Royal Family of Kuwait and UAE that will be passed as an official Resolution by the UN Habitat. We hope that our participation at such events inspires the youth to push for initiative, to be bold in their demands and to realise that no action is small. We started off as a student club, but thanks to our diverse, dedicated and passionate team, and UCL Careers which made us aware of opportunities at the UN, we have been able to assimilate the educational and awareness aspects of our approach into actual groundwork. This collective support has enabled us to put pressure on various national and international organisation to adapt to climate resilience strategies.”

Tehnia Amir: “Being the youngest speaker on a panel discussion on how to combat Climate Change in Cities, demonstrates how the efforts of young people championing for climate action and sustainable urbanisation are being recognised. Forums like these help to rekindle our hopes in the government, private sector and other change-makers in supporting the most avid contesters for a sustainable future – the youth.”

The UCL Climate Action Society (CAS)

UCL’s Climate Action Society is a pioneering non-profit organisation at the front line of student action for environmental causes. Our approach is multidimensional. We promote sustainable practice in the individual and consumer through varied informative events and media, as well as empowering them to demand climate action. We also invite businesses, politicians and organisations to join our discussions; challenging them to make changes to their practices that are beneficial to both them and the planet.

We host events that aim to converge perspectives, efforts, and solutions on the issues that concern climate change. For example, our flagship event “Sustainability Symposium” is regarded as an impactful conference with attendees from a range of backgrounds who came together at UCL to intrigue and engage British society on climate change. This year, the symposium included a speed mentoring session, many engaging speakers, and a networking dinner with over 320 attendees!

From CAS to the UN

Aliza is the Founder & Chair at CAS and Tehnia Amir is the Events Executive, helping organise various workshops, conferences and activities.

After recognising the lack of coordinated student effort and interest for climate change in UCL, Aliza proactively founded the CAS. With support from UCL, the society organised campaigns to motivate positive changes in climate-related behaviours. CAS facilitated diversity and inclusion in the fight against climate change through organising BME-focused networking dinners and conferences; such efforts were commended and praised by Baroness Young of Hornsey. The CAS committee also organised the first UK-wide “Sustainability Symposium” which won the Student’s Union “Event of the Year” award. Its theme is to link the role of various disciplines, such as economists, statisticians, doctors and scientists, to participate in mitigating and adapting to the consequences of climate change. CAS currently counsels the UCL Policy Commission on the Communication of Climate Science and start-up Rhizome as to methods of creating awareness regarding clime-related health conditions and increasing youth participation in climate action. Subsequently, CAS become the only society globally to be involved with parliamentary lobbying. These efforts were recognised by the United Nations Environment Program.

The experience

WUF10 started in Abu Dhabi on 8 February, with over 17,000 participants. The theme of the Forum was “Cities of Opportunities: Connecting Culture and Innovation.”

We took part in the Six Dialogues Sessions at the WUF10 which took stock of emerging innovative approaches and practices in harnessing culture and innovation as drivers for sustainable urbanisation. This provided greater insights into the linkages between urbanisation, culture and innovation as a basis for achieving inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities and human settlements. The participants at the World Urban Forum reflects the mix of people that makes our towns and cities a place to stay. Aliza worked with the Mayor of Kabul, Ahmed Zaki Sarfarez, and Prime Minister Bainimarama of Fiji on inclusive, participatory planning. We also attended a session on Youth, Peace and Security which highlighted good-practice youth-led initiatives that contribute to conflict resolution – through community service, civic engagement or the direct participation in formal institutions. It encouraged political decision-makers to build inclusive structures that allow youth ownership and leadership to benefit of young people’s power to build peace.

If you’re interested in finding out more about our trip, or the society itself, please be sure to contact us on Facebook or Instagram.

For UCL Careers’ Sustainability Fortnight events, check out the website.

UCL Careers Global Interns Photo Competition Winners 2019

By skye.aitken, on 11 October 2019

Congratulations to the winners of our inaugural #UCLGlobalInterns photo competition! We had some excellent entries and it was great to see what students have been up to during their overseas summer internship.

In third place was Yagmur Arica who undertook an internship at a women’s university in Tokyo. With the caption “I feel love” we felt her photo captured the beauty of Japan, particularly with the use of vibrant colour to showcase a traditional Japanese outfit.

A female student from behind dressed in colourful traditional Japanese clothing striking a pose in front of traditional on a wet day

In second place, we liked the simplicity of Dorothy Tong’s photo from Shanghai. Dorothy says, “I experienced a different culture both socially and professionally and gained valuable analytical and communication skills. I chose to work in Shanghai as there are so many job opportunities and it is the global hub for many businesses around the world.”

A student standing in a garden in the centre of a round sculpture

In joint first place, we enjoyed the photos and captions from Anna Sarasiti and Florence Fowkes. Anna highlighted how one of the things she took away from her internship in Berlin was in fact something more associated with London! She said, “In one of the most international cities in the world, Brit, Greek and Maltese comrades have a butcher’s at the Soviet War Memorial. Of all the things I have learnt in Berlin, I was not expecting to return to London having improved my cockney rhyming slang.” We also enjoyed the adventurous side of Florence’s photo from Delhi and she encourages others to undertake an international internship: “From culture, language, work ethic to the fantastic food, I learnt an incredible amount. Could not recommend an overseas internship more. Be proactive and send out those emails!”

Students standing on the steps of a monument with the monument and sky behind themA student standing on top of a mountain with the mountain region behind her and many colourful flags to her leftWould you like to undertake a summer internship outside of the UK? Take a look at the Global Internships Programme webpages and keen an eye out for upcoming communications throughout the autumn term.


UK Job Hunting For International Students | CareersLab

By skye.aitken, on 1 October 2019

It’s time for the second episode of CareersLab!

Are you an international student looking to pursue a career in the UK after graduating?
We’ve made this video just for you!
Watching this video will help you:
  • Understand how international students can get to be employed in the UK after graduating
  • Get real data on which firms sponsored UCL graduates between 2014 and 2018
  • Understand the UK recruitment culture

We’re be posting a CareersLab video every week on the UCL Careers YouTube channel and right here on the UCL Careers blog.

If you’re a UCL student or recent graduate and you have a question you’d like Raj to answer in a future CareersLab video then please email as at careers.marketing@ucl.ac.uk.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel and the UCL Careers Newsletter so you never miss an episode.

Erasmus+ funding available for EU internships

By UCL Careers, on 15 January 2019

Thinking of undertaking an internship in the EU this summer? Perhaps you’re looking for an opportunity or you’ve already secured one. Either way, you may be eligible to receive the Erasmus+ Traineeship Grant to help you with the costs associated with interning outside of the UK.

Last year Tanja Hann returned home to Germany to undertake an internship in a research institute. She told us more about the experience…

“The Erasmus+ Traineeship Grant allowed me to undertake an internship where I found out what real work in a research laboratory looks like. I have always wanted to become a research scientist, but never really had any actual experience with this. Of course, I also had occasional doubts – what if the job is not right for me? What if it is totally different from what I imagined? The internship definitely helped me to get a better impression of what type of career I want to pursue and erased any doubts I had about whether this path would be right for me.”

How did you find your internship?
The internship was not compulsory to my degree programme – it was fully up to me to decide where to apply. Sourcing the internship was more straightforward than I initially expected. I knew roughly what I wanted to do and what expectations I had and so I just started searching online. I quickly found a couple of research institutes that raised my interest and then proceeded to search for individual research groups. When I found the website of the laboratory I eventually worked with, I knew their work would be right for me – so I just contacted them and was lucky enough to receive a positive reply!

What did you do during your internship?
My internship took place in a research laboratory which is focussed on gene therapy. I was able to get involved in several ongoing projects, which was a really valuable aspect of my experience. One of the projects hadn’t yet reached the experimental stage and I was able to contribute to planning it from the very beginning. This involved reading many research papers on the topic and coming up with an overall project objective. This experience not only taught me how to be a scientist “behind the scenes”, but also gave me the opportunity to learn experimental procedures within another, larger project. The tasks I completed were typical for a cell and molecular genetics laboratory and involved cloning, Western analysis, qPCR, transfection of mammalian cells and even iPSC development.

Why did you choose to undertake an international internship?
The country in which my internship took place was not new to me – however, given the international background of the research institute I worked with, I came into contact with many different cultures at once. My co-workers and I often found ourselves discussing differences between languages, cuisines and even day-to-day habits. This not only taught me to look at things from a different perspective but was also a lot of fun!

What skills did you develop during the internship?
Naturally, working in a research laboratory for two months taught me a lot of experimental techniques relevant to my field of study, as well as the process of planning an advanced research project. However, I learnt so much more than that. During the internship, I wrote a scientific report on all of my accomplishments during the time – this was a really valuable experience and improved my scientific writing skills. On top of that, I believe that working with a variety of people in the laboratory really boosted my communication and teamwork skills, as well as critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Has the experience influenced your plans for the future?
The whole internship experience strengthened my desire to pursue a career path in this industry by giving me a much better impression on what this type of work actually involves. I feel like I am more prepared for life after university now and it all seems much less scary!

What tips do you have for other students thinking of doing an internship overseas?
My main tip for students considering going overseas would be: be open to everything. Your experience will (most) likely not be precisely what you imagined and it would be pretty boring if it were, right? You will learn so many things and gather valuable experience – for your studies, your career and your personal development. Another tip I would give to virtually anyone with high career aspirations is: do not be afraid to dream big! You will only have a chance to succeed if you are unafraid to try so do not let anyone, including yourself, tells you what you cannot do!

You don’t need to be doing an internship in a research institute to receive the Erasmus+ Traineeship Grant – all sectors are eligible! If you’d like to apply for the grant, have a look at the Funding page on the Global Internships Programme website to find out more.

Photo from Tanja Hann 


Develop your global mind-set with an international internship

By UCL Careers, on 5 December 2018

Global Intern in Slovakia

Jan Hradicky in Slovakia

Global Intern in Kenya

Jingyi Zhang in Kenya

Global Intern in USA holding a flag

Nora Venin in USA

UCL’s Global Internships Programme is fairly new, with the first participants undertaking internships in summer 2018. Students went all over the world, from Belgium to Japan to USA, with internships in SMEs, large companies, charities and government offices.

100% of participants said they would recommend undertaking an international internship to their fellow students, with the most common piece of advice being “just do it!” So if you’d like to intern overseas next summer, read on…

How can you be part of the Global Internships Programme?

Secure an internship which is sourced and managed by UCL Careers – these are called ‘exclusive internships’ and UCL Careers are busy trying to source opportunities just for UCL students. They will be advertised from 6th February and will be available to browse via your myUCLCareers account.

Apply for funding to help cover the costs of going overseas – depending on the location and duration of your internship, you may be eligible to apply for the Global Internships Bursary or the Erasmus+ Traineeship Grant. The latter is for internships in the EU and UCL has lots of funding available so perhaps think about heading to Europe next summer! Details will be provided in the spring term.

What can you do over the Christmas break to get started on your global internship journey?

  1. Start exploring possible internships! Have a look at GoinGlobal, TargetJobs and Prospects for information about working in various different countries. Look for opportunities on myUCLCareers under the ‘Vacancies’ tab.
  2. Make some applications! You can book an appointment with an Applications Advisor to talk through your applications, whether they are for particular opportunities or speculative approaches.
  3. Think about funding! Hopefully you will be eligible to apply for the bursary or grant, however if not (or if you are unsuccessful) then you will need to have a plan in place for how to finance your internship. Start thinking about all of the costs of going overseas and how you will cover these – you can use Numbeo to help you.
  4. Prepare to go! You don’t need to do this part just yet, but there is no harm in thinking about it. There will be lots to do, from getting a visa, securing accommodation and preparing to work in your target country, particularly if it is new to you. You can use Hofstede’s Country Comparison tool to see how your culture is similar or different to the country you plan to go to!

The Global Internships Programme webpages are currently being updated and will be available very soon. If you are interested in any of the above, sign up to our mailing list and we’ll ping you an email when we open for applications.

Steering your career towards South East Asia

By UCL Careers, on 1 March 2018

At the recent Global Careers Series event at UCL, we were joined by a panel of speakers who discussed their experience and tips for students and recent graduates looking to find work experience, or a more permanent job, in South East Asia.

We were lucky enough to hear from:

  • Shamini Darshni Kalimuthu, Executive Director of Amnesty International Malaysia (and currently on sabbatical at SOAS);
  • Peter Gibbinson, Regional Head of Standard Chartered;
  • Yong Chaulet, UCL Alum (Previously Thai Embassy, ExxonMobil Thailand, Bangkok Public Relations);
  • Amy Wong, UCL Student with previous internship experience at the Singapore Government; and
  • Ally Hawley, Ex-Student Recruitment in Malaysia.

Here’s what one of our panellists said about their top tip for finding work in South East Asia:

“My top tip for students looking to work in South East Asia would be use your network – I found my job in Kuala Lumpur through an ex colleague I stayed in touch with. As a student here in London you’re likely to have classmates from South East Asia who you’re studying with right now. Use their knowledge and experience of the region when applying for roles. Also remember to continue to develop your network throughout your time at university and after you graduate, make use of your university’s alumni platform and LinkedIn, both can be used as an excellent resource when seeking work in a particular region!” 

Expanding Your Network at UCL
As our panellist said, if you’re interested in finding out more about working in South-East Asia, make sure you utilise UCL’s strength as a university with tens of thousands of alumni based all over the world.

Have you started to take advantage of UCL’s alumni mentoring network? If not, consider signing up and looking for mentors in countries and industries that appeal to you. There is a whole range of knowledge and advice to be gained from using this system. You can find out more and sign up here.

Want to learn more about this region?
Luckily, there is a range of useful websites out there to help you. For example, Goinglobal (which UCL subscribes to) contains guides to finding work and making applications in Singapore and Vietnam. Another useful resource, Prospects, contains guides to Malaysia and Singapore.

Additionally, Gradlink have a dedicated section for South East Asia, including advice for working in different sectors in Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, and Singapore.

Jobs Boards

  • JobsDB job listings in Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, and Hong Kong
  • Indeed Malaysia internships in Kuala Lumpar
  • JobStreet for jobs in Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Philippines, and Indonesia

Other considerations
Working abroad can be an enriching and exciting experience, but there are a few things you might like to think about before embarking on a trip of a lifetime. Will you be comfortable with being away from familiar surroundings and your established support network? Will you be able to adapt to a different culture? You might find it useful to look at a website such as Just Landed to gain an insight into the expat experience in your chosen destination.

You’ll need to be careful that your entry visa covers any work you may do while in another country, guides such as Internations  can be a useful starting point, but make sure you also check official sources such as the embassy website of your intended destination.