My name is Will Harvey. I am a fairly recent graduate of the University of Otago. After completing my LLB and BA(Hons) in Classics, I went on to graduate in 2014 with an MA in the area of Ancient Greek religion. My thesis examined the origins and character of the goddess Hekate. My years at Otago, and in particular in the Classics department, were some of the very best of my life. The department nurtured my passion for the ancient world which had begun in high school and has led me to my current job.
I am now based in London. I’m working at a cultural travel company by the name of Martin Randall Travel. We organise small group tours led by lecturers. For example, I managed a tour of the British Museum’s Ancient Greek collection, and the lecture was given by a former student of John Barsby (Emeritus Professor, Department of Classics, University of Otago)! I’ve just taken over the operations for our Maltese and Greek tours so heading off to manage the Classical Greece tour next year will be fabulous. It’s a brilliant combination of business and academia, and something I was led to inexorably by my Classics education at Otago.
What skills do I use from my Classics degrees? First and foremost, communication. Beyond the written and verbal skills a Classics degree endows you with, it makes you open-minded and able to interact freely, courteously and civilly with all types of different people. My job can involve high pressure, and the time management skills I gained from my degrees have helped enormously with that. I may not be trawling through primary and secondary texts on a daily basis anymore, but years of doing so has given me the ability to think quickly, process information and solve problems. Don’t let anyone tell you that Classics isn’t vocational!
I have always found those who study Classics to be passionate and interesting people. My advice for anyone reading this: if you really enjoy Classics, stick to it, and be uncompromising. You’ll be surprised by how many jobs are available, and how highly regarded Otago graduates are.