Marisa Du-Long

USA, MSc Management in Health and Social Care

I absolutely love Oxford. I find that there is so much to do from catching a film, to dining at any of the international restaurants that the city has to offer or my personal favourite, walking through secret alley ways that bring you to incredible parks or grounds.

Marisa Du-Long - USA, MSc Management in Health and Social Care
Why did you choose to come to Oxford?  
I did a study abroad programme at San Diego State, my undergraduate university, and I was able to come to Oxford and study at the University of Oxford, and completely fell in love with the city and all it has to offer, so I knew I had to get back somehow. It’s just surreal, I just remember just two years ago just running through the streets not ever thinking that I would be able get the chance to come back and I did, so … I’m just very thankful for that.  

How long did the application process take? 
I think for the visa you can only apply 3 months before you get here.  So I had to apply the minute it opened, we had to get all of our forms together.  Thankfully we had such an amazing advisor at Across The Pond, she would respond to our emails almost within 24 hours.  

Did you arrive in September?  
Yeah.  I came a day early. I don’t really remember why, I was just too eager to get here. And the accommodation let me move right in.  I had four bags with me, two huge suitcases, a huge duffle bag and a big travel backpack and I got a lot of looks.  My grandfather was so proud of me for being able to carry all that to here.

How did you get to know other students? 
I met other students coming to Brookes via Facebook. I feel like we just knew each other when we got here.  It was like we’d been talking for months in the summer, and I was like ‘Yeah I know somebody even though we’re half way across the world right now’ – so that was really reassuring. We all migrated towards each other. 

What parts of your course do you most enjoy?  
My course houses a lot of part-time students who are currently working full-time jobs, collaborating with them and learning from their experiences has helped me decide which pathway in the healthcare industry I'd like to take.
 The amount of interaction that I get between my tutors is really one on one and I’m really enjoying it because if I need an appointment or a meeting with them it’s pretty much next day. They can accommodate me really well that way, so I enjoy that.  They really care about your education and making sure you get what you need.  
I was invited to attend a programme through University of Oxford at Green Templeton College and it’s called Management in Medicine, and it’s really really awesome, I get to make connections with some of the doctors and some of the managers in the NHS through that, so that’s really good for me.  

Do you use any other support services in the University?  
Yeah ISAT , the International Student Advice Team send us emails a lot, which give us updates on things we might want to know.  Let us know when we have to check in with our visa, because we have to check in, I think once a semester.  So they’re helpful, always sending emails to let us know what to do.  
Unfortunately during our trip to Eastern Europe when we were in Prague, my wallet got stolen which had my BRP, my visa card in it. But thankfully the ISAT team was super helpful in getting my application together, it was a 27 page application so do not lose your visa cash card.  They were really helpful and they sent it off for me and everything actually, they told me exactly what to do and they literally mailed it off for me, so that was so helpful.  

What do you think of your accommodation?
Clive postgrad is down at the hill, the local is lovely. Marston Road campus is right down the street which I do have some classes at (the Faculty of Health & Life Sciences is there).  And it’s nice sometimes I’ll just pop over to there. They have a canteen and a little computer room that I can do work in there sometimes if I need to.  

Do you think your courses have prepared you for your career?  
I think that I’m still at a point where I think that this course has helped me realise that it’s okay to try out a few things before I start my career per se, not that I don’t have career in mind, I just have many in mind.  So I think after I’m done I’ll have a really good idea, especially with the knowledge that I’ve been getting from living abroad.  You know when we get the chance to travel I think it’ll help us grow more as a people and we’re able to do things that people who never leave their state do, I think it’s definitely setting me up for a lot of success in the future.    

Have you travelled in the UK?
The international student advice team, ISAT, they do a really good job at putting on those day trips.  You just kind of get on a bus, the tour guide is great, he knows a lot.
We went to the Cotswolds and we saw Minster Lovell, we saw Burford and Stratford upon Avon which is not in the Cotswolds but … and then we go to London frequently and we just catch the £10 tube, get there in an hour and a half and the main tourist things are there.  

What is the best thing about being an international student in Oxford?  
I absolutely love Oxford, I find that there is so much to do from getting a pint from a 13th century pub in town, to catching a film, to dining at any of the international restaurants that the city has to offer or my personal favourites walking through secret alley ways that bring you to incredible parks or grounds. I have found my group of fellow American friends through various parties and get-togethers at our flat in Clive Booth Postgrad but we've also made a ton of other great friends from all over Europe. We have visited some of their home countries already and have had personal tours of some major cities (Paris, Berlin) something that many Americans dream of! Looking forward to doing much more traveling with them this summer.
I think that’s the most exciting part is having all your friends from home text you saying that they’re excited to come and visit you, because you have an excuse to walk people round the city and you’re their tour guide now, which is awesome.  

Would you recommend Oxford Brookes to other international students?  
I really do think it’s perfect for Americans in particular because when you’re in the UK you don’t have a language barrier.  You just get to listen to cute accents all day. 
Also get a really easy opportunity to travel all throughout the year, which we have.  I think one of the main reasons why, along with the one year masters programme. Even if somebody wanted to come here for undergraduate I think it would be an amazing experience, and to really truly live here for 3 to 4 years.