Undergraduate Access Scholarship Recipient takes on New York City through the award winning Global Graduates programme

Manchester’s Global Graduates programme recently received a ‘Platinum Finalist’ award at the CASE annual conference. This accolade marks Global Graduates out as a world-leading alumni relations programme, and an example of the very best practice in the sector. Its beneficiaries are achieving impressive success in an increasingly competitive jobs market after graduation, in fields including design, engineering, finance, law, marketing, and education. This programme is connecting Manchester alumni in Dubai, Hong Kong, London, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Singapore, and Toronto with current students and with current developments at Manchester.

Alia Khan, 3rd Year Law student and Undergraduate Access Scholar, talks about how her trip to New York City has changed her career vision and challenged her to think global for her future.

Last summer I was chosen to be one of six students selected from four hundred applicants to visit Manchester alumni in New York through the Global Graduates Programme. I initially applied for the programme as an opportunity to travel, as my family’s income restricted me from being able to afford to study abroad during my law degree. I can really say, looking back, that it has been one of the best decisions I ever made.

I learned an abundance of new skills during the NY trip, which I believe will help me in my future career. One in particular that stands out is the ability to learn and understand about new cultures. Getting used to the social norms in the US was challenging. We stayed right in the centre of Manhattan, close to all of the local and national transport links, which meant we had a unique opportunity to experience the real hustle and bustle of New York City life – I realise now why this city is known as the city that never sleeps!

My meetings with various alumni allowed me to develop my understanding of global awareness on current affairs in the United States. Many alumni expressed their opinions on the current political and economic status of the country, which I found particularly relevant and really interesting. This in turn, gave me the chance to explore and engage in a different and new dialogue, and also helped me look more closely about my own personal views and those of my peers.

Being constantly surrounded by a mixtures of languages, cuisines and ethnicities makes you appreciate how diversity can lead to a better quality of living in such a global city – with this same thought, it is also easy to see why this city attracts so many people from around the world.

I feel I am now more aware of how a simple change in my normal environment can affect my behaviour towards others – being open minded and ready to try new experiences has allowed me to be more confident, more willing and enthusiastic of the prospect of meeting people from different walks of life. I have learned to be more proactive, as the more I travel, the more I realise that one of the only constants in life is change.

This experience has showed me how to adapt to unfamiliar situations, sometimes where my own ideals are tested, which I think will give me confidence later in life. I have had the amazing opportunity to make new friends, and that change often inspires new ideas, uncovers a different way of doing things and allows inspiration to take root.

My experience of being in New York gave me access to businesses and industries ranging from the media (e.g. visiting NBC Universal Studios) to learning more about the significance of patent law in the development for International AIDS Vaccine Initiative.

By attending these meetings, I left with first-hand knowledge of the working culture of NYC and have experienced a unique cultural experience. As a result, I believe that I am better placed to understand the 21st century business world.

After this trip, I am now inclined to pursue a career abroad as I enjoy a challenge and want to continue to learn about and experience different cultures. With reference to my approach to career planning, both in terms of developing my employability and job search – I am now more keen to explore different internship opportunities that the University offers for my final year. Thank you to everyone who supports this fantastic programme and to those who have given me this wonderful opportunity that I will never forget!