Portrait photograph of: Panagiotis Charos

Panagiotis Charos

Country Of Origin: Greece

Degree: BSc Economics (Study Abroad), 2018

FSO Assurance, EY

What was the best thing about your course?

BSc in Economics is one of the most popular degrees at Lancaster University, especially since it can be combined with several other degrees, such as politics, mathematics etc. However, the department pays attention to each student individually, helping them achieve their goals.

I enjoyed the vast range of different modules, giving you a broad but in-depth understanding of many different areas within economics. In addition, the contemporary nature of most of the topics required critical thinking since existing literature was limited, and encouraged healthy discussion with other students and tutors, both in group and individual projects.

Did you study abroad? What did this involve and what did you gain?

During my second year, I studied abroad for two semesters at Purdue University in Indiana, USA. As soon as I arrived, everyone went to great lengths making me feel comfortable and sharing their culture, while my Lancaster contact was regularly checking in, making sure that my academic performance was impeccable.

I was delighted to see that the curriculum between UK and USA was quite different, and therefore I had the opportunity to undertake during my year abroad subjects that were not available for economics students in Lancaster, such as a class focusing entirely on case studies regarding Antitrust & Regulation, since Law was always a passion of mine.

Although studying consumed a big part of my everyday routine, I had plenty of free time that I used to experience things that I could not find in Europe. Apart from joining a football club, and regularly participating in tournaments within the campus, I also pledged for a social fraternity, which was a unique experience. Overall, studying abroad was an amazing experience, which I would recommend to any student.

What are the best things about living in the Lancaster area?

Having lived my entire life in Athens, the biggest city of Greece, moving to Lancaster was a big change for me. As I realized straight away though, there were many perks for those who chose to live there. For example, restaurants and clubs are tailored to the main need of students: have fun without exceeding a tight budget. Although the choices on how to spend your free time are more limited than for students in big cities, it is guaranteed that whatever you decide to do, you will bump into several of your friends.

In addition, both the university campus and the city centre offer safety throughout the day and night, as well as an excellent public transportation system that will allow you to oversleep a couple of minutes and still make your morning lecture on time. Finally, the abundance of green spaces make sunny days, which are quite a few despite being in the north, ideal for barbeques, outdoor sports and other activities.

What are your best memories of your time at Lancaster?

Most of my days at Lancaster were filled with unique extracurricular activities such as day-trips to the Lake District, park runs really early in the morning etc. A big part of life in Lancaster is the many different societies, which guarantee that each student will find people who share the same interests, aspirations and skills. Coming from Greece, one of the societies where I was a member was the Hellenic society, and more specifically their football team, with which we participated in the tournament against other societies and college teams.

The combination of competition and mutual respect between the teams created a fantastic atmosphere, and provided an excellent way to exercise and briefly escape from the stress of upcoming deadlines. In addition, no matter what the outcome of the game was, each week we had a social along with most other societies, constantly meeting new people and trying new things.

Which parts of your Lancaster experience were the best preparation for your job?

Overall, Lancaster University goes at great lengths to prepare its students to successfully overcome the challenges that they face when they enter the market. Studying Economics, I was exposed to a highly interactive way of teaching with content that was constantly changing in order to best prepare us for what was currently demanded by potential employers. In addition, most of our assignments required research over contemporary issues, bound to be asked during the multiple interviews that job searching entails.

However, what really distinguishes Lancaster from other institutions when it comes to job preparation, are the extracurricular activities. First and foremost, the Lancaster Award. Having completed it, just before starting my own job search, the tasks that I had to complete for the Award (including an internship, volunteering, several workshops and a video interview) helped me decide what career best suited me and also how to be a strong applicant presenting my experiences in a way to impress the employer. In addition, several simulations of Assessment centres and mock interviews organized by the Careers services were also helpful.