Michaelmas Term saw 45 student-led projects supported by the Annual Fund, with £194,000 allocated in total. One major project being supported is the LSESU Travel Fund, a means-tested fund that enables students at LSE to travel to locations around the world for the purposes of research, work experience or other activities, such as academic conferences or extracurricular teaching programmes.
This is a continuation of previous support for the project, which last year saw £11,000 awarded between 34 students who otherwise would not have been able to afford the cost of travel. The funds allows participants to attend trips that benefit their academic studies, aid their personal development, open up future careers opportunities and make the most of their university experience. In turn, the School benefits from enhanced representation at a wide variety of global events and forums.
“Annual Fund support has been invaluable for the Travel Fund,” said Alastair Duncan, Activities and Development Officer at the Students’ Union. “It allows LSE students to seize once-in-a-lifetime chances and work on projects around the world in a way that simply wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.”
All trips funded are detailed on the LSESU website’s travel map, offering an interactive and visual representation of the projects’ reach. Four continents were travelled to by LSE students, with destinations varying from Estonia, Malawi, Hong Kong and New York.
Donara Barojan, an undergraduate in International Relations, was able to travel to New York for a ‘life-changing’ experience, serving an internship with the Lithuanian Mission to the United Nations. She said: “I had a chance to participate in the drafting of the Sustainable Development Goals, which will replace Millennium Development Goals in 2015. It was a great honour to take part in such a historical process, which will affect lives of many people in both developed and developing countries.” Donara also had the chance to attend various Security Council meetings, related to conflicts in Ukraine, the Central African Republic and the Middle East. “This internship helped me realise that after graduation I want to work for a UN agency. Inspiration from the greatest diplomats in the world fuels my daily dedication to fight for a better tomorrow.”
The Travel Fund enabled Fernando Sciré (MSc Sociology 2014) to attend the Summer University in Srebenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina, a programme that integrated field research with research projects on topics related to genocide, post-conflict studies, and human rights. “Taking part in this programme provided me with the opportunity for significant personal development, complemented my academic course and enhanced the depth of my knowledge in my field of study,” he said. “Having first-hand experience on the ground provided me with an in-depth knowledge that cannot be gained through books, and also stirred me into action and motivated me further to pursue my career in human rights.”
Katharina Greve (MSc Management 2014) travelled to Hong Kong to take part in the Asia Exposure 2014, a careers-orientated trip organised by the LSESU Asia Careers Society, in which participants are taken on a 5-day tour of leading investment banks and financial firms, including Citibank, Bloomberg, J.P. Morgan and UBS. “Asia Exposure gave me a much-needed understanding on how companies operate in Hong Kong and what it takes to start a career in the Asia-Pacific,” she said. “And aside from the extremely valuable career-related aspects of the trip, I also got a feeling for the city, people and culture.”