Full Name: Bianca S. Mandapat
Study Away Site: London
Home Campus: NYU Abu Dhabi
Class Year: 2025
Major: Social Research and Public Policy
What made you want to study away at this specific location: London
When choosing a study away location, I wanted to go somewhere that would help me grow. So, I mainly looked at places that seemed drastically different from my home campus in Abu Dhabi. At the same time, I wanted to choose a site that would support my academic goals of exploring areas outside my comfort zone and gaining practical skills for work beyond university. London seemed to tick all the boxes— rainy weather, historical buildings, a bustling city, a variety of internship opportunities, and classes that aligned with my major and interests. Like Abu Dhabi, London is also a multicultural city, which was something I sought to continue immersing myself in, even in my search for something different.
Perhaps, it was simply that after months of living in the desert, I liked the idea of window shopping in quaint bookstores and drinking a warm chai latte on a rainy day. Either way, there were no regrets in choosing London.
In what ways did your London internship shape your future goals?
My internship with the Young Citizens Partnerships Team has provided me with valuable insight into the fields I hope to eventually work in after college, such as education and non-profit work. My role involves supporting the team with classroom resource development, school and volunteer coordination, and program delivery. All these helped me realize the tasks I do not enjoy doing but also those that I would happily do even without pay. For instance, assisting in the delivery of an Experts in Schools session helped me realize that I enjoy working with children. It further strengthened my desire to work on the ground with a small, close-knit team like the Young Citizen community. Realizing these things through my internship placement will help me narrow down the professional opportunities I will pursue in the future.
Through personal observations and conversations with co-workers, I was able to identify prevalent barriers in schools of underserved communities. Though the UK educational context has significant differences from the one back home, there is still much to learn from their systems and programs, including those that have failed. With this knowledge, I hope to eventually align my career with the specific needs of communities in the Philippines.
What is your favorite aspect about studying at NYU London?
The best part about studying in NYU London is London itself. As someone who is interested in history, it was exciting to be in a city that held well-preserved stories of the past in every corner. Through NYU-organized trips and tour guides led by the site’s Senior Programme Manager for Student Life, Tony Skitt, we had the invaluable opportunity to learn about London beyond what is seen or widely known.
There is always something going on, and being able to just walk to an event or take the tube to places I’ve seen on TV shows and my Instagram feed was a great benefit of living in the city center. Though London has a high cost of living, there are many free and affordable things to do as a student on a budget, whether it’s reading a book in Regent’s Park on a sunny afternoon, eating Thai food with friends after church, or walking around the city’s free museums and galleries.