Hi I’m Veronica and I recently completed my studies here in Coventry, but there was much more to it than simply studying…
After my college graduation in Canterbury, I was enrolled in another British university before I decided to apply here. I would come often to Coventry to visit my best friend, who was studying Electrical and Electronic Engineering BSc.
Eventually, it was the multiculturalism and ‘No Hidden Extras’ programme – now known as ‘Flying Starts’ – that reeled me in and that is the story of how I ended up as a soon-to-be BA Honours Politics graduate from Coventry University.
What I didn’t know back then was how much more the university has to offer. Because of the Centre of Global Engagement (CGE), I became so much more than an international undergraduate. I am also an intern editor, a marketing assistant, a webpage moderator, a translator, a summer school assistant and a TEFL-qualified tutor.
From a student aspiring to succeed, in such a meritocratic world no less, to another like-minded individual such as yourself, I must say finding employment is ironically work in itself. One must be all-rounded in one’s becoming of an employee, and that seems to entail a relevant degree, work experience, volunteering experience and, often, to have had at least a try in one foreign language…
Through my time working here, I realised something really different about this University. Yes, other universities also share the commonality in its language programmes and student employability support, but in my personal experience as an intern, I saw how much effort goes in to these programmes and the backstage dynamics that cannot be seen from a student’s perspective.
I also saw how the CGE staff go an extra mile to see things from a graduate’s point of view, and to tailor all their student support according to employability needs. It is because of the understanding, and the direct interaction between staff and students, that makes all this student support so accessible to the students here.
I found myself immersed in opportunities I would not have otherwise gotten involved in. CGE is split into a few departments – all of which focus on different aspects of employability requirements as mentioned earlier.
Just to name a couple, ‘Linguae Mundi’ offers both language classes at a discounted rate for students and work experience as a language tutor. ‘The Global Leaders Programme’, on the other hand, offers students the chance to attend workshops and training that benefits their prospects. We also have ‘Culturae Mundi’, which is where I work alongside 4 other student interns to host free diversity-celebrating events and workshops to promote intercultural unity, all the while offering students volunteering roles and paid freelance work.
As an intern editor, my responsibilities include producing the monthly newsletter, editing, ensuring top quality marketing materials including photos and videos, and translation work. I also have secondary responsibilities, such as managing the Chinese social media accounts and doing marketing and sales. I was given the opportunity to do keynote presentations, to handle HR management and to plan extravagant events such as our Culturae Mundi 5th Anniversary gala ball.
As I write this, I am now working with another department within the CGE to conclude my internship experience. My time as a CGE staff member is definitely a gateway to my future endeavours as a traveller and an employee. I gained insights which no academics, lectures or tutorials could ever give.
In hindsight, it is as if I was Alice looking through the keyhole into adulthood, which mainly consists of deadlines and being organized. Believe me, while it may sound intimidating I didn’t find it so. In fact, I found myself in need of a metamorphosis: the drive to reset myself from a somewhat clueless being to a work-ready potential. I picked myself up and worked on the skills I never thought I had, or would need. In all honesty, I could not have asked for a better experience to accompany my academic life.
Coventry University is in the top ten UK universities for employment rates* and I believe it’s stories such as mine about students getting the chance to boost our employability skills that support this.