Viktoria Löeffler is one of the ICMA Centre’s student ambassadors who was awarded one of ten ambassador scholarships for 2014/15. As part of their role they occasionally share their experience of studying finance in the UK in a series of blog posts.
When I started my course in Behavioural Finance at the ICMA Centre, I knew I wanted to join some extra-curricular activities as I knew how valued these are by employers.
I had actually wanted to get involved with the finance society. They were holding their introductory meeting in the Palmer Building. This was during the second week of the term, and I was still wondering around campus not exactly knowing where I was.
It turns out that by accident I walked into another society’s introductory meeting, and once I realized that I was in the wrong room, I was too embarrassed to walk out. However now looking back I am grateful that was the case.
I listened to a girl who was passionately talking about their project trying to engage with the local community and tackle some of the problems that Reading faces. Reading as many other cities in Britain is actively addressing problems common in lots of large towns and cities including homelessness.
The project, I am now involved with, consists of engaging with individuals staying at Willow House hostel, run by the Salvation Army. Sadly many of the people staying there are still dependent on drugs and alcohol and have just come off the street.
A group of us, consisting of four girls, go to the hostel once a week for a couple of hours. While there we try to engage with people, and hope to help them in gaining new skills so they can rebuild their lives. This includes things like planning their weekly budget and meals, sometimes creating a CV and even applying to some jobs. We also help to organise events such as football matches, and generate interest in the work at the hostel in general.
This project is only a tiny part of Enactus. Enactus is a worldwide student organisation that tries to use entrepreneurial actions to transform lives and shape a better more sustainable world. The project is engaging with the local community to try and identify possible needs, while the other parts of the team are trying to develop a business idea to help the community.
There are some very interesting ideas being developed (so if you are thinking of coming to Reading next year, you should definitely get involved!)
Apart from a really rewarding experience, you also gain many skills such as making presentations, communicating ideas, communicating with people from different backgrounds and building relationships. These are all excellent skills you will need when entering the job market and help set you apart from others.
There are also regional and national competitions for students participating in Enactus. It is also great chance to meet people from other degrees and to make new friends quickly!
This is only an example of things that you can get involved with while studying at the ICMA Centre. There are almost 200 student societies, and there is an opportunity to do almost anything you like! Even play Quidditch (Yes you read that correctly – in case you are a Harry Potter fan!)
To find out more about the many student societies at The University of Reading head over to the Reading University Student Union page which details how you can get involved.