Elowyn S. has always been interested in history and thanks to her excellent history teachers Mr Parker and Mr Loesche she took that interest to the next level by aspiring to become a castle tour guide. That’s a lofty goal for someone still in their third year at The Riverside School! Elowyn shared with us how much she used to enjoy walking from the Bahnhof to campus, the fresh Swiss air, and the amazing views of Rigi. It must have been in those moments that she had time to sort her thoughts and set her goals.
After graduating from ISZL in 2009, Elowyn took a gap year to travel around India and to work in a Kindergarten and nursery school. She then studied archaeology at Cambridge University and shares that “it was great fun because while my friends were studying economics and sweating it out in air-tight offices during their summer internships, I was travelling and excavating in hot climates. However, they all walked into well-paid jobs after graduating. An archaeology degree was not very useful to get a job.”
With her degree and no job, Elowyn set out for London and spent the next six months volunteering at various museums. “Working for free for so long was tough and only possible because I had savings from my jobs in Switzerland.” Finally, she got her big break working as a guide at Kew Palace that would ultimately lead her to her current job at the Tower of London. In the meantime, she also began leading history lessons to visiting school groups at Fulham Palace and assisting with learning activities for families at Hampton Court.
When we asked Elowyn how she likes working at the Tower of London, she said, “It was always a goal of mine to work here. I have always loved the history, the legends, the Crown Jewels, the Beefeaters, the pageantry and traditions. Heritage is notoriously badly paid with antisocial hours (early starts and working on weekends) but you get to work in incredibly beautiful, old (and usually haunted) places, meet people everyday who are interested in the same things as you are, and even get to know where the secret passageways are. I would like to stay in the heritage industry and work towards developing education sessions for visiting schools and families. I love teaching kids about the past. It was my enthusiastic teachers at ISZL and uni who got me excited about history and I love being able to pass that on.”
If you’re thinking to work in the museum/cultural/gallery/heritage sector, Elowyn recommends to “start getting experience as soon as you can by volunteering at your local museum, helping out with object handling sessions at university open days, asking your lecturers if they have any contacts in the industry who might be able to give you some work experience. Once you graduate, you will already have experience (and maybe even some connections) and it will make finding a job easier.”
Even if you’re not planning to work in the heritage sector, Elowyn knows from experience that you should never give up on your interests as you never know where they will led to. Her interests led her to her dream job! So just “keep pursuing weird and wonderful hobbies, reading about what fascinates you, visiting places that make you feel alive. If you don't feel happy with your life, change it. If you feel too out of place in Switzerland, come to London. London loves eccentrics. And don't be afraid of volunteering, because it will allow you to develop the necessary skills for a job and you never know who you might meet.”