1) Where and what did you study and when did you graduate?
I studied BA Geography at Exeter and graduated in 2012.
2) Where do you live now?
I’m currently in beautiful Cape Town, South Africa, finishing my Masters in Climate Change and Development. Choosing to study my Masters in South Africa made sense to me as I’ve known for a while that I want to end up working in Africa, so why study the equivalent degree on the other side of the world... for ten times the price?! I’ve been able to build up a network of contacts across Southern Africa and the University of Cape Town is highly regarded worldwide, ranking first on the African continent (it’s streaks ahead of Exeter too, might I add!) Plus, over half of my classmates are from overseas, so it’s been amazing to hear each others’ perspectives and experiences during class discussions, and have people to explore the city with on weekends!
3) Tell us about your job...
I work in the communications and knowledge management hub of a climate change NGO. So that involves writing and collating blogs and news stories from the organisation’s projects across East and Southern Africa, keeping the various websites and social media platforms up to date, helping organise and publicise events, proofreading and disseminating reports... the list goes on! I love comms because you’re always on your toes, and you get to be the pied piper of the organisation’s news and information, which to me is especially important for the climate change community.
4) What did you want to be when you were younger?
A teacher, I think! But basically anything that involves helping people.
I volunteered abroad for three months in Sierra Leone with the International Citizen Service programme. It was probably the hardest but by far the best thing I’ve done in my entire life. Initially I was apprehensive about the whole ’voluntourism’ stereotype but if you choose a reputable organisation it can be an incredibly enriching experience for both the volunteer and the host community... and our three months definitely wasn’t a holiday!
6) How did you feel about your future when you graduated?
Optimistic but nervous, especially about the crazy student debt we all were leaving with!
7) If you could go back, what would you say to yourself on graduation day?
This is just the beginning...
8) Would you have done anything different?
9) What inspires you?
People who have next to nothing but still find a way to help others who have even less than they do... it’s so incredibly humbling.
10) What would you like to say to our graduates looking for inspiration?
(1) Don’t apply for any job just because you feel you should; and (2) don’t be scared to dream big, you are more capable than you think!
11) Your three favourite words
Aw di bodi? – It means how are you in Krio, the most common language spoken in Sierra Leone J
(...and if you’re wondering, the response is ‘di bodi fine’!)
Thank you so much Emma for replying to our questions...you've made us want to study for a masters in South Africa as well! Good luck with all your projects and we hope that the end of your masters degree goes well.
If you are, or know, an inspirational graduate living their dreams, please fill in the form on the right hand side of this page. We'd love to hear from you!