Volunteering whilst at university steered David away from his intended career path in international relations to his dream job as ‘battlemaster’ with the National Trust.
|Name||David Christopher Weinczok|
|Degree Course||MSc International Relations|
|Year of Graduation||2012|
Your time at the University
I chose Edinburgh because it seemed like the kind of city that has everything going for it - natural and architectural beauty, a diverse and engaged populace, boundless history and the right combination of cosmopolitanism and that ‘village’ feel.
My degree, which was in International Relations, did not reflect the ultimate course of my career path, which is in history and writing, but it nonetheless served to develop essential skills and to facilitate my involvement with individuals and groups which would have a tremendous impact on my life.
My involvement with FreshSight, a student consultancy firm, frankly began as a means to enhance what I perceive to be my fairly uneventful CV. By sheer coincidence, one of their clients that term was the National Trust for Scotland, who I was voluntering for at their historic property of Gladstone’s Land on the Royal Mile. I knew this was the kind of organisation I wanted to work with, so without hesitation (or experience) I put myself forward to be their project leader. One thing led to another, and now I work with them in what is pretty much my dream job, as a ‘battlemaster’ at the Bannockburn Heritage Centre in Stirling.
Tell us about your Experiences since leaving the University
In addition to working in what must be one of the most exciting jobs in Scotland, I am also developing a career as a freelance writer of historical non-fiction. My works have been featured in national and international publications such as The Scottish Review and The Scots Magazine.
As part of my role at the Bannockburn Heritage Centre, I have appeared in newspapers around the world and in the National Trust for Scotland’s members magazine, read by hundred of thousands worldwide.
My main project, which is keeping me very occupied, but which is a constant source of adventure and delight, is an independent book on Scottish castles.
My main project, which is keeping me very occupied, but which is a constant source of adventure and delight, is an independent book on Scottish castles. For my research, a skill which my time at the University helped me develop, I have visited over 80 castles from Dumfries and Galloway to Orkney and the Western Isles.
I also work with the National Trust for Scotland as a Project Manager, and helped to establish the new ‘Scottish Heritage’ student volunteering group at the University of Edinburgh. My proposal for this project, which was based off of the consultancy work that I did with FreshSight while at university, earned a ‘Buccleuch Innovation Award’ to the tune of £10,000 from the Trust.
I am currently working to establish student groups representing the Trust and advocating for Scottish Heritage at universities such as Aberdeen, Dundee and Glasgow. It’s safe to say that Scotland is home now!
The right combination of curiosity, diligence and serendipity can lead you down paths you might never have imagined yourself taking, but which you’ll be glad you did.
A surefire way to get a degree is to study and work hard, but don’t settle for that. To have a university experience, get involved - as a volunteer with a local charity or organisation, with an on-campus club or society, or simply as an explorer in your own city.
It’s such things that make memories and lead to unexpected but fulfilling possibilities.