University, Interning and (Not So Much) Travel.

Photo in Kiev - Blog on University, interning and travelling.

On University

When I started uni last September I predicted my travels would take a nose dive and the time I had for blogging would take an even bigger nose dive. Both predictions have turned out to be true.

But has a life less travelled been any less interesting?

You’d think so, but no.

That’s only because I’ve been keeping myself busy and working towards goals I set myself last year. Without travelling somewhere different every month, my life on the surface definitely appears more boring right now. I’m okay with this because I’m on a different trajectory in life that’s less about those short-term adventurous highs and more in favour of long-term plans. I’m searching for what I find really fulfilling and trying to make it happen. I’m definitely not implying here that travelling isn’t fulfilling, of course not, nothing makes me happier! Instead I’m changing my priorities slightly by challenging myself academically. I’m quite lazy in that sense so I want to discipline myself.

To begin with, I passed the first year of my MA in Human Rights. I’m really happy but at the same time I know I could’ve worked harder. I’m the queen of procrastination, just without the crown to prove it. I’m not proud to admit that I probably spent more time searching Skyscanner for flights to exotic places than actually doing university work. Maybe that’s a slight exaggeration but you get the picture.


On Travel

With all this pent up desire for somewhere new, it’s no surprise I jumped on a plane to Riga the day after I handed in my final essay of term. It was a treat to myself and it certainly did the trick – I hadn’t been abroad for nearly six months which had already felt like a lifetime. This combination of being essay free and exploring a new city is one of the best feelings in the world. On my night of arrival I sprawled out like a starfish on the bed, grinning at the ceiling, feeling completely weightless. There’s just something about being in an unfamiliar place by myself that makes the whole experience of travel even more special.

After I got back from Riga I decided to apply for a few part-time internships. Without uni for a few months I had a bit more time to spare and also craved for the stimulation I’d been getting from time inside a classroom. Through the week I work remotely so this gives me a lot of flexibility to accommodate quick changes in my life.

The internships I was applying for were within the charity sector. Since I’ve never worked in this sector before I figured I’d dip in first with a less permanent position. During this time, I also booked a last minute trip to Kyiv (Kiev), a city that’s been on my mind for a long time so when I found affordable tickets with Wizz Air I didn’t hesitate for longer than a minute before booking.

Outside St Michael's Cathedral in Kiev.

I had about 10 days before heading to Kyiv and in that time I lined up a couple of interviews with charities on my return. There was one in particular that I was keen to get so I prioritised that interview first. I’m not going to talk about it too much here, but want to quickly say Kyiv is a fascinating city with lots of different dimensions to discover. If you’re incline to go, it won’t disappoint. I wish I could go back as there’s still so much I want to see there, and to top it off it’s extremely beautiful. I don’t know what it is exactly, perhaps a mysteriousness, but there’s something about these post-Soviet states that endlessly capture my imagination.


On Interning

As soon as I arrived at the building and had an interview with two people heading the communications team, my gut feeling was that it would be a great place to work. But I also came away thinking I hadn’t got the job. The interview itself went really well but I thought I fluffed up a 30-minute test I was asked to complete.

When they called me a few days later to offer me the position I pretty much accepted it straight away. They specialise in advocacy and research work to promote the Rights of street children and improve their lives. This fits in perfectly with my MA in Human Rights and enables me to get a better understanding of the legal and policy landscape for street children.

I’ve only been there a few weeks but a big event has already taken place which makes working there quite exciting. In 2014 the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child agreed to develop a General Comment on Children in Street Situations and a few days ago it was finally published! This document is the UN’s legal advice to governments around the world on how to ensure that street-connected children have access to the same rights as all children which so often isn’t the case. Now this aspect is completed the organisation is able to move to the next phase of their strategy – working to promote the implementation of the General Comment and make the words a reality for street-connected children around the world. If you’d like to know more this article offers further insight and provides a link to the General Comment too.


What’s next?

I’m going to keep on this path for a while. Aiming to study harder next term at uni, continue gaining skills and learning more about the Rights of street children around the world, and generally just pottering around London and doing whatever puts a smile on my face. As for travelling, I’m squeezing in a 2-week trip to Cuba at the end of August before uni starts up again. With that in mind, if you have any tips or recommendations I’d LOVE to hear them!

Now what about you? Has your life taken another trajectory recently? I’d love to know.

Shing x

A travel & culture blog specialising in Scandinavia and the Arctic, peppered with the rest of the world in between.

'University, Interning and (Not So Much) Travel.' have 5 comments

  1. July 10, 2017 @ 5:24 am Ray

    Hi Shing, Thanks for sharing your story. What you are doing is a very worthy thing to do. First of all, it is in service of humankind, and even more importantly, in service of some of those who need it most and who have the least with which to defend themselves from the rougher circumstances of life. Second, to be disciplined and diligent in the pursuit of the means to make yourself more effective in helping those others shows a commitment to your ideals. And finally, such pleasures as travel deferred in the pursuit of your own advancement of your capabilities to help those people you wish to help are all the nicer when you finally get to do them, whether as vacations, or as a consequential part of your work. My own work in astronomy (a love of mine already) and going to meetings and on observing runs related to that, and playing music (yet another love) in service of a group of teeneagers who put on a play every year have enabled me to also enjoy still more childhood loves of mine. Going observing at astronomical observatories on beautiful, remote mountain tops and to meetings on astronomy have enabled me to indulge my childhood interest in archaeology and roam through the ruins of Pompeii, Herculaneum, Paestum, Rome, and etc., and to go to ancient plays performed in the old Roman theaters in places like Merida, Spain, and to visit (and sometimes hear/see music performed in) places like the Mezquite in Cordoba, the Alhambra and Generalife Palace in Granada, the palaces in Sintra, Hohensalzburg Castle, Neuschwanstein, myriad scenes in Prague and the Czech Republic, Edinburgh Castle and sites all over the Scottish Highlands and Islands – especially the Isle of Skye, pre-Columbian and Native American sites in Chile and parts of the US and Canada, Hawai’ian heiaus, etc. And playing music for the teenagers and their play enabled me to go on a fantastic paleontology expedition in the badlands of the Big Horn Basin of Wyoming, hunting fossils and (though it was paleontology and not archaeology in that case) feeling like Indiana Jones through all the wild adventures and other interesting connections to various people and things in various places and areas of study that happened as a part of that. I have many, many stories to tell as a result, and life feels much richer in experience for all of that. And I’m only touching on a few of the places and experiences here. So, it is a virtuous and good thing that you are doing since it is both good for others and good for you, and your efforts to advance yourself in your goals of enhancing your ability to help others can also help lead you to more of the other things that you love. I really believe in the interrelation and interconnectedness of many things in this world as it has been proven to me in my own life many times over, and I believe you will find it to be true in your own life as well if you are open to seeing it. And, we all fall down from time to time on these journeys we undertake, sometimes falling short and not doing or being everything we should be, or working as hard as we feel we should have or could have worked at times, but putting your eyes on the longer horizon of the things you love and which inspire you will help carry you through those things. Working toward the worthy goals to which you aspire and espouse now can help you to attain other dreams you hold dear in the longer run. Godspeed to you! – Ray


    • July 10, 2017 @ 5:37 am Ray

      p.s. And some of those same things helped me to venture to climes of a sort dear to your heart, to the Arctic Ocean 3 times in 3 different places, and to go above the Arctic Circle 4 times in 4 places, and to see many places in those sub-Arctic and Arctic regions, from the area of Nome and Kotzebue and the Bering Straits to Barrow and Deadhorse/Prudhoe Bay and Tuktoyaktuk, as well as Whitehorse, Dawson, and Inuvik, and to many other places and experiences like flying up close around the top of Denali Peak and other high peaks in the Alaska Range and traveling over the Brooks Range and the Arctic North Slope.


  2. July 10, 2017 @ 6:28 pm Bianca

    Wow, sounds like you are doing amazing things. As much as we all love to travel I totally understand the need to concentrate on that paths. I wish you all the best with uni and the internship. I may be going back to study in about a year’s time. Just havent figured out how that is going to work with a full-time job and blogging :O …All the best. Can’t wait to see the blog posts on Riga and Kiev when you get to them. Both have been on my list for a while now.


  3. July 26, 2017 @ 4:19 pm Vidyut Rautela

    Ha, ha quite a lot of fun girl! The bear is really huge or are you small 🙂 Besties for your future ahead.


  4. August 13, 2017 @ 3:44 am Memographer

    Haven’t been here for a while! Just writing to say Hi 🙂 Glad to see you’re doing great, Shing! And you look awesome too! 😉 Such a lovely title photo in this post 🙂
    Good luck with all your goals!


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