PhD student in Human Geography

"The international and transdisciplinary workplace that SUM offers has prepared me to work in groups from different backgrounds, nationalities and interests," says Guillem Rubio Ramon. He is now a PhD student in Human Geography at the University of Edinburgh.

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Guillem Rubio Ramon

- Describe the most important tasks you have in your job today

– Right now most of my tasks are related to my PhD in Human Geography at the Institute of Geography of the University of Edinburgh. My project consists in exploring the connection between nature and nationhood politics in stateless nations such as Catalonia and Scotland. This, however, implies lots of different tasks other than the traditional reading and writing, which –to be honest– takes most of my time. For instance, I audit different courses, discuss with lots of people working on issues that interest me and I communicate my research in different academic conferences and public events. Another important chunk of my time is spent tutoring students and helping as a course assistant in Political Ecology, a master’s level course. This involves facilitating student-led workshops or helping students with their readings, among others. I also attend different meetings throughout the week: I am part of the Cultural and Historical Geography Research Group and an active member of the Animal Studies Reading group. In these formal and informal gatherings, we discuss and engage with each other's work and organize activities both inside and outside Academia. 

- What do you like best about your job?

– One of the things I enjoy most about my job is working on those issues that I am passionate about in an atmosphere where I can freely speak my mind, discuss and debate. Experimenting and trying new things is not frowned upon and therefore I can research on topics that range from political activism and emancipatory nationalism to animal rights and non-elite environmentalism. Furthermore, I am privileged to conduct my research alongside excellent scholars from multiple disciplines and career stages. My role as a tutor is also very rewarding as I get to learn from younger generations who are actively engaged in both understanding and changing our world, both on the local and global level. 

How is the education from The Faculty of Humanities relevant in this job?

– My education at SUM has provided me with the multiple ways of knowing that are increasingly necessary to understand the complexity and radical unevenness of our environmental and socio-cultural realities. SUM’s excellent and kind research environment also sparked my interest on a variety of topics from multiple disciplines and offered me the support, confidence and tools to successfully develop my project for a whole academic year. Furthermore, the international and transdisciplinary workplace that SUM offers has prepared me to work in groups from different backgrounds, nationalities and interests. Lastly, the research internships I undertook while at SUM helped me to develop a set of personal and professional skills complementary to the rest of the courses which I put in practice every day.

- What’s your best tip for new students who are thinking about job opportunities after graduation?

– My first advice would be to get to know your colleagues at SUM, both the students you will become life-long friends with and also the other members of the staff who you can share projects and ideas with, such as your lecturers, other PhD students, post-doc researchers, etc. Don’t be afraid to read, write nor question promiscuously either: there are multiple debates and ongoing conversations that you will find surprisingly interesting and to which you can contribute both in academic and professional terms! More specifically, I believe SUM offers a comprehensive range of courses that can be complemented with an internship to gain relevant skills and experience from different sectors. Lastly, while conducting your research for your master thesis, remember that this is a process from which you will probably learn a lot in terms of gaining knowledge and professional skills but also personally, meeting interesting people and being led to unexpected places.

By Torunn Nyland, Career and Employability Coordinator HF
Published Feb. 5, 2020 12:51 PM - Last modified Feb. 5, 2020 12:51 PM