Bart, a final year History and International Relations student, discusses his journey at Aston University
Bartlomiej “Bart” Stawera is a final year BSc (Hons) History and International Relations student and was one of the first students to study a history course at Aston University. He discussed how his years at Aston helped him with his placement year at City Year UK, and how both his experiences and degree benefitted him regarding his outlook and aims for the future.
Bart and his family moved to Britain from Poland when he was eight years old. Growing up, only his aunt had attended university, so that became one of his goals. After achieving AAC in his A Levels, he was then able to find a university that was best suited for him. Looking back, Bart stated that studying at Aston University helped him to realise his future goals and aspirations of working in the Civil Service.
Bart enjoyed history from a young age so when it came to choosing his degree, he preferred how the course wasn’t ‘one dimensional’ and was ‘adaptive’. Choosing the combination of history and international relations meant that he was able to centralise his interests and provided an exciting way to develop himself. History is everywhere and Bart was interested in looking at history in aspects such as foreign policy and foreign relations, and the course has helped him to gain a clearer understanding as well as helping him to make better judgements.
Placement at City Year UK
In choosing Aston University, the placements in third year were beneficial to Bart as it was a way to have a break from academia and to gain experience in a different setting. When deciding where to spend his year, he focused on choosing to work in a place that meant he was able to make a positive difference in other people’s lives, as well as to develop his abilities to make him stand out to future employers.
He decided on spending his third year with City Year UK, a youth and education charity that aims to empower young adults in bridging the gap for disadvantaged students by volunteering in various schools in the UK. The charity works to benefit both the students and its own volunteers, providing skills to mentor the students and help them integrate into their academic environment.
Defining his years at Aston University
While he was applying for graduate schemes, Bart recognised that he gained many skills and competencies from his university experience which made him a well-rounded individual. These vary from the organisational skills that he’s honed through the years, his teamwork skills and developing his independence and responsibility.
Bart credits the Careers and Placements team for their assistance regarding advice with his CV and support they provided to guide him in the right direction. The team made him feel more comfortable by helping with his various queries and reaching out to them was integrated with his course as talks were held within lectures and seminars.
Advice for current and future students
Bart provided some advice for new and current students:
Your experience at university is what you make of it.
Throwing yourself in the deep end isn't always that bad… Challenging yourself and putting yourself out there helps you develop not only as a student, not only as a person, but also as a professional.”