Skip to main content

Gemma Wieberg


Where are you from?    
Derbyshire, England 

What year did you complete your degree? 2010 

What degree pathway did you study at Queen’s? 

BA (hons) and PhD Social Anthropology 

Why did you choose to study Anthropology at Queen’s? 

I chose to study at Queens at an undergraduate level because of the University’s outstanding academic reputation for Social Anthropology teaching. I have always had an interest in other culture as I have a father from America and a birth father from Saudi Arabia. In addition I had studied Psychology and Sociology for A-Level, and Social Anthropology was the perfect combination of the two subjects. Belfast, famously the city where the ‘troubles’ happened also intrigued me, partially due to its history and partially due to its incredibly vibrant live music and social scene. I just knew QUB was where I wanted to be!  

What did you particularly enjoy about studying this subject at Queen’s? 

I revelled in the chance to intellectually globe trot- from Japanese society to Indigenous Australia, from British Asians to Dinka warriors in South Sudan- it was exhilarating. I got the chance to do some real travelling with my degrees, and went to America to study Laotian Hmong women in the Diaspora, and then headed off to Australia for a year to study Hmong refugee resettlement. It was a lot of fun, but it also gave me vital skills or employment- including critical thinking and analytical skills, voluntary work opportunities during fieldwork, and a network of people who are interested in the same thing as me- what other degree allows you to say that you planned, undertook, and potentially published your own research! 

Tell us about any funding you received to help you take this course or any scholarships/prizes you have been awarded 

Queens has a great variety of funding options for students. Personally, I was granted several travel bursaries, which all students are eligible for, including the Sir Thomas Dixon Travelling Scholarship, Robert Hart Scholarship, and the Emily Sarah Montgomery Scholarship. When I began the PhD I was also lucky enough to be awarded 3 year DEL funding, covering tuition and living costs, as well as the Queen’s Graduate Association Award based on my undergraduate marks.   

What about studying at Queen’s in general? What was that like?

Things I enjoyed most at Queens- like all students- was the social life. Mangers’ comedy nights and gigs at the Student Union, trips to the new state of the art PEC to relax, and the general Belfast scene- which consisted of amazing live music in Limelight/Spring and Airbrake, small legendary pubs such as the Duke of York, and the odd performance from Belfast Circus. The Queen’s Festival in September is also well worth a look in. And…I hate to say it….but the new library is amazing!!     

What do you hope to do when you leave Queen’s? 

I am working for the City of Culture team in Derry~Londonderry currently- and we’ve just been successful in getting a number of major events to come to Northern Ireland in 2013, including the Brit Awards, UK Sports Personality of the Year, and the RBS Sterling Architectural Prize!! 2013 will be an amazing year- tons of things happening which I can’t yet tell you about- what a great time to study at Queens!! I am moving to London next month and will be applying for jobs at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the UN, and a few major consultancy companies- including McKinsey, Accenture, and PWC. I am very interested in policy, change management, and helping to foster entrepreneurial environments in which new ideas can flourish and take centre stage.

Would you recommend studying Anthropology to other students? What advice would you give them? 

Anthropology will truly expand your horizons, give you an insight into the world in which we live, and will provide you with lifelong skills…Enjoy the true Queen’s experience and become immersed! As far as I am concerned no other University will give you the quality of teaching, the intimate environment of the School of Anthropology where students and teachers mix at all levels, or the amount of laughter I have had over the course of my time at Queen’s.