What have you done in addition to your degree to enhance your employability and what do you feel you've gained from this?
In addition to my degree I have taken part in a number of activities. In June last year I took part in the Brussels Study Tour organised by the careers department. Through this experience my eyes were opened to the wide range of opportunities open to students like ourselves in Europe. Meeting Queen’s students working in Brussels provided me with the confidence to apply for opportunities within Europe in particular roles within the European Union which prior to the tour I believed would have been completely inaccessible.
Last summer I had the privilege of being one of two hundred participants selected from four and half thousand applicants to participate in the Study India Programme. This is a programme endorsed by the British government which gives students the opportunity to experience India, cultural, educationally as well as spending a week in an internship. I interned at Pathways International School, just outside Delhi, during the week I was able to observe every aspect of running a school, from meetings with the Human Resources and Finance departments as well as teaching some History and Economics classes at IGCSE level. This experience was invaluable, it introduced us to the real India, taking us from palaces and tombs to Dharavi; the largest slum in Asia.
In addition at Easter I completed the sister programme; the Study China programme; this three week programme involved studying Mandarin as well as completing an academic module. I studied Chinese Foreign Policy and Mandarin at East China Normal University in Shanghai, this programme enabled me to gain practical experience of living in China and communicating with locals, a valuable asset for entering into a career in government or business, as China has become perhaps the most important nation economically.
As well as my studies I also work in Boots and within Queen’s Widening Participation Unit, having experience in the working world has helped me to further develop skills for the workplace such as leadership, team- work and using initiative.
In addition I mentor year ten pupils and volunteer with Public Achievement, a charity that promotes young people engaging with democracy, volunteering has developed my confidence and interpersonal skills as well as being able to give something back to the community. My work volunteering was recognised when I was selected for the Inspiring Leaders programme, this series of workshops provided me an opportunity to develop my leadership skills and network with those in leadership roles.
Making use of Careers, Employability and Skills at Queen’s
I really struggled writing a CV however the careers department CV writing advice helped me write a more concise, relevant CV.
Any advice for other Queen's students?
My advice would be to get involved and apply for as many things as possible, I have not only gained a lot of skills and experienced different cultures, foods, I have also met so many people and learnt so many new things. I would also advise not to be too disheartened if you are rejected from programmes, gain more experience and apply again the next time the programme is open.