Tell me a little bit about yourself (where you’re from, what course you studied at ULIP, did you get involved in any societies/SU roles/Officer roles etc at ULIP, what you have been up to career wise since you left)
My name is Alice, I’m from Bristol, UK, I did BA French Studies and graduated in 2018. While at ULIP I was involved in ArtSoc, had a brief stint as Social Space Officer, and was a BA3 Rep. I also spent some time doing creative workshops with refugees and other ULIP students, led by Anna-Louise Milne. Since graduating, I’ve started working in an art production company in Paris.
Where are you currently working, why did you apply for the job, and how are you finding it?
I’m an assistant at an art production company. My job title in French is “assistante secretariat/ communication/documentaliste”, so it’s pretty varied! The company is very small and I do various admin work with the other employees, as well as being the Directors’ assistant (writing emails, taking calls, booking travel etc) and running errands.
I applied because I wanted to gain some experience of arts administration, as it’s something I’m interested in, and the role is really varied. It’s tough - I’m still on the learning curve - but I definitely feel like my skill set has grown, and I’m already taking a lot more in my stride than when I started last October. I’ve also finally made French friends! (Look at me go, Geoffroy!) I applied because I thought it’d give me a chance to learn a lot of new skills, and because I didn’t want to go back to England straight away - I didn’t feel like I was done with Paris just yet.
During your time at ULIP did you have a clear idea of what field of work you wanted to go into or is this something you are developing now/in the near future?
I had a vague idea but wasn’t sure at all. While at ULIP I did a few different volunteering things, which I haven’t got back into since starting full-time work, but that’s something I’m considering for future career moves. Doing the refugee workshops led me to learn about Good Chance Theatre and Les Grands Voisins, which are two organisations I really admire. Honestly, I’m still not sure what kind of job I want, but I think I’m getting a clearer idea of the fact that I want to be part of an organization with a cause that’s important to me.
Is there anything you could suggest to improve the Careers Advice and/or Educational needs of the students at ULIP?
More information about how internships work in France - I didn’t start looking at them until the end of BA3 and didn’t know anything about stages conventionnés! I’ll admit, that is my fault though, as I went back to England in the summers after BA1 and BA2.
What are you looking forward to in the foreseeable regarding career prospects?
Being able to take stock of where I am, geographically and professionally, and whether I want to stay there or not. After I graduated I was so scared of not ‘making use of’ my degree in my job if I went home or worked for an anglophone company, but I don’t have that worry any more.
What memories do you look back on when you think of your time at ULIP?
Lots of hours in the library, dissertation support group (just talking to each other really fast about whatever we were reading about or how far behind we thought we were), sometimes feeling like I was out of my depth but grateful to have a support network of people who were in the same boat.
Also, now that I work with French people, I really appreciate any time I can spend with people who appreciate British culture - pubs, pub food, trashy TV.
What piece of advice would you give to your slightly younger self/current students during at ULIP?
Do some extra-curricular stuff if you have the time and energy! It can really help you to broaden your horizons, meet new people, and maybe even discover a cause you really care about. Trust me, I know it’s tiring but it’s worth it. Oh and if you’re more introverted or inclined to stay in rather than go out-out, challenge yourself once in a while! Your social life is important as well as your studies, and stepping away from uni work can help you think it over while you let off steam.