Today’s blog is celebrating King’s Experience Awards – with a special case study from its current showrunner! When he was an international student at KCL, George was aiming to gain UK work experience and develop employable skills. Read on to see what takeaways George himself got from the King’s Experience Award, and what advice he has for current students.
A little bit about me
My name is George Marrash, I am a Syrian pharmacist and a peacebuilder. I worked a lot in community development and to create common grounds between Syrian communities. Yet my academic degree was in Pharmacy! So, I started searching for a master’s degree that merges my two passions: health and community development. Therefore, I came to King’s to do my master’s in Global Health and Social Justice.
The masters itself was amazing, however, I knew I need more to be able to find a job in the UK. I heard it everywhere I went, how ‘UK work experience’ is something needed to get any job in this country. However, to get UK work experience, I needed to demonstrate prior UK work experience – quite ironic ha! Nonetheless, being a student at King’s College London and being part of the supportive King’s Community made it way easier for me to find the support I needed.
My journey to King’s Experience
Hoping to learn more about my career options, I decided to head to the Careers & Employability department in Bush House and ask for help. What I learned was that the first step was to book an appointment with a career consultant.
You realize how amazing career guidance appointments are when you notice how competitive they can get – even though they offer lots of slots in the week, appointments got booked instantly! Therefore, I woke up so early, at around 7 am to book my slot. Despite the early rise, it was worth it. After an insightful discussion with a kind consultant, I was advised to undertake one of the King’s Experience Awards. It would help me gain the needed experience and to boost my CV with an awards credential to ease finding my next UK job.
Undertaking my King’s Experience Award
I applied for the Cultural Experience award and the Sanctuary award and undertook both.
In the Cultural Experience award, I visited many museums and cultural sits in London, I tried many fun activities such as creative writing and dancing with people with Parkinson disease. The reflective part was very helpful to shape my experience and learn how to talk about it, which paid back in jobs interviews.
In the Sanctuary award, I volunteered for an organization working with refugees, I taught them English using WhatsApp. It was a very nice experience and reflecting on what I learnt during the King’s Experience Award module was also very helpful as I could be confident in describing my learning and the positive value of my experiences.
The value I got from my King’s Experience
In my current role as Project Officer for King’s Experience Awards at King’s Careers, I work with multiple students from multiple cultures and backgrounds. The Cultural Award I achieved came in very handy as it prompted me to be more culturally sensitive to the student cohorts and the people we work with to run and manage the awards. At the same time, it really helped me appreciate the importance of cultural differences and how to share skills and valuable experiences in a multicultural environment. I am more aware of what strengths my own culture has empowered me with, such as respect of time, empathy, kindness and being direct. With this, I am also able to share those skills with my colleagues (as well as inform them that this feeds from my culture if they are from a different one themselves).
My advice: maximizing your King’s Experience journey
As the applications are now open for the next round of King’s Experience Awards, my first advice is to apply! For all the above reasons a King’s Experience Award is a really nice way to develop yourself and gain UK work experience from a new perspective.
For current students undertaking the award, my advice is to use the experience log in the course to document your experience and your lessons learnt. This will be incredibly useful for you as an independent learning tool, and helpful for later when you will draft your Reflective Essay and create your Outcome.
King’s Experience Awards have many kinds of options to develop your work experience and reflect on your employability, based on your personal interests and what kind of projects you’re looking to work on. Applications have opened again for the following awards: Global, London, Sanctuary and Careers 360 awards, and you have until 14 January 2021 to complete your application online!