The current job market is extremely competitive and challenging. Only having a degree is not sufficient anymore and therefore engagement in extracurricular activities is very much appreciated. It not only enables the growth of additional employability skills but also provides students with real-life examples that can be used during any job interview. Luckily, University of Westminster is one of not many that actually offers its students a variety of additional activities that allow them to implement the theoretical knowledge from their course into practice, grow their additional passions and interests and work on developing new skills.
My name is Karolina and I am a Business Management (Finance) student. This January I was 1 of 15 students chosen to be a part of Westminster Working Cultures in Mumbai. It is a programme offered by the University of Westminster aiming to increase the employability of students and help them in developing a variety of new skills. I decided to apply as I not only wanted to gain a professional, international experience but also, in a way, find out about the possible career paths of Westminster students in India. The application process was very straightforward, however, I took my time when answering all mandatory questions. I thought about what I wanted to achieve from the trip, what it would give me and why they should choose me as a candidate. I would recommend anyone who is applying to focus on self-development, rather than tourism. I was thrilled when I first learned that I was selected for the trip, considering that it was my dream since coming to Westminster!
When I first arrived in Mumbai I immediately noticed the change in the air quality to the extent that it was hard to breathe. Exactly the same feeling as when you travel in the mountains. The air also smelled different and felt hot and humid. It took me one day to adapt but eventually, I got used to the air, the people and the environment around me.
One of the biggest highlights of the trip were the alumni meetings. I really enjoyed the speeches from a variety of past students who now work in finance, marketing, journalism, film and sustainability. It gave me a great overview of India from many angles such as political, financial and environmental. I certainly improved my communication skills and I do feel more confident when speaking publicly. I also made very good connections and will definitely keep in touch with both the alumni and the students.
There was also some free time assigned when we became proper tourists, visiting the city and trying Indian food. At times I was struck by the scale of poverty in the city and the lack of a middle class. I observed modern multistory towers located next to crumbling homes in central Mumbai, which made me question the norms there.
I WOULD DEFINITELY RECOMMEND…
Overall, it was certainly an incredible experience and I would recommend anyone to apply, especially if you have not travelled outside of the EU. India is such a different world compared to the UK or Europe, however, it is definitely good to experience it, even if it would only raise your awareness of the world around you. Personally, I felt that the trip did increase my employability credentials and made me stand out from the crowd. It was such a privilege to be a part of the programme as it was a unique opportunity and certainly not something that every student experiences. As a third-year student, I am now more confident going into the job market, as I do believe that I already do have much to offer and each of my experiences additionally enhances what was already created throughout my studies.
Westminster Working Cultures provides students with the opportunity to travel abroad and experience the professional environment and culture in cities across the globe. The programme is kindly funded by Quintin Hogg Trust and alumni network and the trips are organised to Honk Kong, Mumbai, Shanghai and Washington. To find out more about the programme and apply for future trips please follow the link.
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