Alannah Williams

Name: Alannah Williams
Course: Earth and Planetary Sciences
Year of Study: 4
Graduation Year: 2023

What work experience did you do?

I worked for the European Space Agency in Madrid.

What was it that inspired you to look for work experience?

I wanted to boost my CV for when I graduate which would hopefully support me when I looked for a graduate role in my field.

Why did you choose to do work experience in this area?

I wanted work experience that aligned with my studies and personal interests – working for an international space agency has always been a goal of mine.

Give a brief snapshot of your role:

  • Completing research for ESA
  • Attending seminars and launch events
  • Attending weekly meetings to give progress and updates on the work I had been doing

How did the Bursary award support you in gaining experience?

Without the bursary I wouldn’t have been able to afford to move and work abroad. The bursary helped pay for my expenses and rent whilst living in Madrid.

What were the most enjoyable aspects of your role?

Meeting new people and being able to work in such a renowned field.

What were the challenges?

The language barriers of moving abroad to a country of a language I didn’t speak was the biggest challenge!

Did you have any worries or concerns before your work experience and if so how were they dealt with and overcome?

I had concerns about not meeting any friends over there and being alone in a foreign country but there were a lot of other trainees there too who were really friendly and helped me settle into the role!

What specific or transferable skills did you develop through the work experience?

Giving presentations, working with new people, dealing with language barriers.

Did the work experience give you any insights and have these influenced your career pathway?

It concreted that I definitely would like a career in the space science sector.

Do you have any words of wisdom for future students looking to gain work experience?

Don’t settle for the first thing you find – be ambitious!