School of Geography

Student Voice: Why I chose to Study at Queen Mary School of Geography

Written by Maria Hadzhieva, third year Geography BA student

30 December 2019

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Hey, my name is Maria and I am a Geography Ambassador in my final year studying BA Geography! I often speak to current and prospective Geography students about studying Geography at Queen Mary University of London and a few points always come up when I share my thoughts. Recently, I gave a short talk at an Offer Holder Day where I summarised all of them and am delighted to share them with you now. 

After visiting several universities in and outside London, I liked Queen Mary the most. For me, it was important to be close to dynamic city life, but at the same time have the convenience and safe environment of a campus-based university; Queen Mary provided both.

To help me choose the right university, I also visited their Geography departments to get a feeling of what it would be like to study there. The passion and enthusiasm of staff at Queen Mary School of Geography made an impression on me and I remembered most of the conversations I had there. When I joined Queen Mary later, I didn’t feel completely ‘new’ exactly because I already knew my lecturers. 

These visits made me think that it is important to consider not just how universities rank for overall excellence and student satisfaction but also how their Geography Schools compare. At the end of the day, what will potentially have a greater impact on your daily university experience is how good your department is.

During my time at Queen Mary, many other factors have contributed to making my experience enjoyable, exciting and fulfilling. The university offers a range of career programmes, in and out of campus, often in collaboration with external partners that provide students with excellent professional experiences, and I've made the most of them. I have participated in more than three programmes which have allowed me to go on a fully-funded trip to Malaysia, take part in a consultancy project for a local charity and to visit companies like Microsoft and FDM.

On a more everyday basis, however, I felt a sense of belonging and community mainly because of the many extra-curricular events organised by the School that I attend. There are, for example, lunchtime seminars where Queen Mary Geography professors share their research, film screenings, public lectures and a lot more.

Very importantly for me, I soon came to understand that the people who teach me are widely popular academics and often leading experts in their field. The lecturers here are commonly cited in geography books - and write their own - which leads me to my favourite story that really did convince me that Queen Mary was the place for me. During a trip to Russia, I met a prominent professor and leadership coach from the USA and later got in touch to invite him to an event at Queen Mary. After carefully outlining the excellence of my university, presuming that he would have not heard of it, he replied saying that he was currently on his way to Brazil reading the book ‘Empire of Democracy’ by Simon Reid-Henry – a scholar from Queen Mary’s School of Geography!