Student profile: Aleksandra Olszewska
Aleksandra is a second-year Biomedical Sciences student. She shares her experience of taking part in the first Future Global Leaders Forum last year, and offers advice to students interested in taking part this year.
What is FGLF?
It's a programme to provide students with the necessary skills to become future global leaders. This is through project work, either with staff members from across the University to improve our campus, or with organisations around Tower Hamlets. At the end there’s a presentation day where you get to showcase the work you’ve done.
Tell us more about taking part in FGLF
I took part in a project involving the local community. As an EU student, this allowed me to get to know the local area which was really useful, especially since I was a first-year student at the time. My project involved work with Leaders In Community and Poplar Harca to research their local community gardens, to see what different things people would need, from tools to support. We focused on Limborough Gardens, which was run by residents who would grow their own vegetables as well as plants and flowers. I didn’t know much about community gardens before, so it was really interesting to learn about them.
What was your favourite part of FGLF?
It was definitely interesting to find out about something that I wouldn’t necessarily have researched before taking part in FGLF. I enjoyed getting to know people across Queen Mary, from staff to other students on different courses. It also helped me to develop lots of practical skills.
What skills have you taken away from FGLF?
As well as teamworking and employability, it would be communication skills for sure, as I spoke to project managers at the University and from Leaders In Community. I also engaged with residents who used the local garden, some who had limited English.
What aspects of FGLF would you recommend to others?
I would recommend taking part in a project because it helps you to develop your skill set and gives you insights into things that you may not necessarily have tried before. The presentation day is also great; you get to present your ideas as mini pitches to a range of prominent figures and you can network with them afterwards. Last year, local MP Rushanara Ali came to give a talk which was really interesting. I’d definitely take part in FGLF again!
What advice would you have for students that are considering taking part in FGLF 19/20?
I think planning is key. Plan ahead for the whole project, set yourself weekly deadlines and make sure you stick to them. That way, it’s easy to measure your results and to evaluate your approach.