As a second year student at Grinnell College, I was given the opportunity to apply to study abroad in the Grinnell-In-London program. In addition to taking classes with Grinnell’s own faculty, both from the college and those based in London, I had the chance to take a course at Queen Mary as an associate student. Since I had always had a great interest in African American history, I decided to take a course called Race in the U.S. with Dr. Joanna Cohen. My semester abroad was undoubtedly the best semester of my time as an undergraduate. I fell in love with both London, and Queen Mary straight from the beginning. In fact, I fondly remember a phone call with my father in the first weeks of the semester when I told him “I definitely want to go to graduate school here in London”.
When I entered into my senior year at Grinnell and started to think of what graduate programs that I was most excited about, of course, Queen Mary’s History Masters program was at the top of my list. The combination of expert faculty, the wealth of resources the University of London system has to offer, and the vast number of archives and libraries in London, made QMUL the perfect place for me to continue my historical studies. Though my primary areas of interest lie in African American history, studying in London is allowing me to gain unique perspective of the history of the global African diaspora.
I absolutely love living in London and studying at Queen Mary. Not only do we have access to tremendous faculty, but being a student at QMUL gives you access to countless libraries, archives, and academic resources. From the reading rooms at Senate House and the British library, to the seminars and talks at the Institute of Historical Research and other University of London schools, I never run out of new and exciting learning opportunities. The combination of a bustling academic scene, as well as endless social opportunities makes London one of the best places in the world to live as a student. Whether it’s a trip to Oxford Street after a few hours at Senate House, a stop at the local Wetherspoons with classmates after a lecture, or a weekend trip to a street market, a new adventure is always (and many times quite literally) just around the corner.
I am truly honoured and grateful to be Queen Mary’s first ever Fulbright post graduate award holder. Without the sponsorship of the Fulbright organization, I would not have been able to make my wildest dreams of returning to London for a postgraduate degree a reality. My time at Queen Mary will undoubtedly be a positive contribution to my growth as a historian, as I prepare to enter University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill’s PhD program in History in the fall of 2017. I am sure it won’t be easy to leave London once my year comes to an end, but I will forever cherish the amazing opportunity to study at Queen Mary as a Fulbright scholar. My biggest hope is that future award holders fall just as in love with this city as I have, and take full advantage of all London has to offer.
Alexandra is studying MA in General History at QMUL and received a Fulbright Postgraduate Scholarship