Editor's note: London-based OneEurope author Rob Heslop continues his series of interviews with King's College London Societies talking with ESKA (European Studies Kings Association) committee members Mathilda Loussert and Guillaume Beaud. ESKA give interesting insight into their plans and explain their desire to create a close community of students with an active Alumni helping graduates traverse the world of employment.
Continuing the OneEurope interview series with King's College London Societies it was only right that I spoke to ESKA (European Studies King's Association). This society is only one year old but has already made big strides in achieving its aims of helping forge a strong community of students in the European and International Studies Department.
I had the good fortune of interviewing two of the new committee members of ESKA, Mathilda Loussert and Guillaume Beaud. During the interview it became clear that ESKA has two very well defined roles. The first of these is to develop a welcoming, positive and vibrant community within the department. The second role is to develop contacts with alumni, lecturers and employers to help graduated students find a career that will give them satisfaction.
With many students finding it hard to settle into university life and the job market getting ever more competitive, what ESKA hopes to achieve is very important.
This year's committee lead by Leopold Kucharczyk has been very successful in building a strong foundation that will only be strengthened next year. One aspect that was stressed to me was the buddy system, this is where a second year student would act as a shadow for a first year student so he/she would not get overwhelmed by the initial shock of moving to London and just as importantly the second year student can act as support in helping the first year overcome any challenges faced in academic life. If there are any committee members of other societies reading this article, I would highly recommend implementing this buddy system! It will make a huge difference for development of first year students.
Not only does ESKA have the buddy system, there are the 'Cafe Europe' events. This is where all students and staff are invited to discuss the course, current events and generally get to know each other better. I cannot think of a better way to encourage students to come together. I was told these events were a great success and it is easy to imagine why.
For me what makes ESKA special is the committee's long term vision of creating a network of European Studies/European Politics Alumni and staff. The contacts developed will encourage students to think about the many careers graduates with European Studies / Politics degrees can embark on. Whilst graduating with a degree encompassing so many fascinating areas is tremendously beneficial, a student can often be unsure what career direction he/she can go in. All too easily students opt for the Masters route without little thought of getting on the career ladder. Hopefully the ESKA committee will succeed in developing the Alumni network so that students can see where the many exciting places are that King’s College European Studies/Politics graduates now work.
A significant part of a European Studies/Politics degree is the year abroad. Whilst living abroad and studying in a new environment is rewarding and unforgettable, preparing for it can be a stressful experience. ESKA are acting as a support network for all students preparing to embark on their year abroad by giving much needed advice on where to live, how to navigate the often soul destroying bureaucracy and of course most importantly of all, where all the best places to go out are!
But in all seriousness, ESKA should be highly commended for this. In my own experience as a KCL student who survived and most importantly enjoyed my Erasmus Year in Berlin, I often felt forgotten by my beloved university. So I am hugely relieved to see the student body taking the responsibility of ensuring that European Studies/Politics students start their year abroad with as much knowledge about their destination as possible. This is imperative in ensuring that students go to their country with confidence.
Whilst ESKA has already achieved a lot in its yearlong existence, next year's committee have some very exciting plans. At the top of the list is the goal of organising a trip to Brussels. For a department which focuses so much on European affairs, this will be a great experience for students to finally see the places that they learn about in lectures. Given how successful ESKA has been this year, I have full confidence that next year's committee shall run a highly successful tour that will be inspirational to the students.
Students across the country are facing the same challenges; the struggle of being part of a community at university and entering into a highly competitive job market when they leave. ESKA is pro-actively addressing these problems with imaginative solutions that engage the student body. I would recommend any committee member of any society to get in touch with ESKA and share ideas and thoughts on how to solve these two major issues in student life.
Lastly, for any incoming European Studies/European Politics students arriving at KCL this September, you will be in good company and are guaranteed to have a fun time.
To get in contact with ESKA please check out their Facebook and twitter profiles:
ESKA Facebook Link - https://www.facebook.com/eska.kcl?fref=ts
ESKA Twitter Link - https://twitter.com/eska_kcl