Sasha-Coutinho-Zimbabwe

Sasha Coutinho

Zimbabwe, international foundation followed by BSc (Hons) Business Management and Sociology

The fact that Oxford Brookes itself is very welcoming to international students attracted me to the university.

Sasha Coutinho - Zimbabwe, international foundation followed by BSc (Hons) Business Management and Sociology
The foundation course helps students get a better idea of what subject they want to do for their undergraduate course. I knew I wanted to do a combined course of Business Management and a second subject but I could never decide what that would be. I have taken Foundations of Modern Theory and Belief as one of my optional modules and the topics we look at interest me deeply and have influenced my decision to take Sociology as my second subject. The Orientation to University Studies module has helped me with referencing and improved my English and the Perspectives on Business Studies module has reminded me of what I have learnt already.

Oxford is a university town which means there are a large number of international students and the city is set up to accommodate them. This, and the fact that Oxford Brookes itself is very welcoming to international students, attracted me to the university. The architecture of all the buildings is spectacular and the lecturers are very knowledgeable and open to students’ ideas which is very comforting.

When we arrived we were told that although we had to respect our lecturers as adults, we are also adults, so therefore they are our friends to a certain extent. That is completely different from high school where most teachers are unapproachable and are all about control rather than allowing us to think freely. The way they behave towards us gives us the impression that we need to be mature and reminds us that we are adults and have to be responsible for our own lives. Even though university is less strict than high school, we do carry our future in our own hands and it is up to us to mold it into the shape that best suits us.

The foundation course includes quite a few group tasks: this helps us learn to interact with different people, especially those from a different background. We learn new ideas from our peers especially since they are from different countries, and we develop tolerance. Oftentimes, we disagree on certain topics with our classmates but we learn to resolve these conflicts quickly and to see new points of view. Everything has two sides, or has many sides, and it is important to know as much as we can about anything rather than being one-track minded on subjects that have a spectrum of viewpoints.

I am not living in Oxford at present although I would like to in the future as it is a beautiful city with exquisite buildings. There are many places to go sightseeing and the museum is packed with interesting artefacts and information about them. The city is set up very well for students as there are coffee shops and restaurants that students can eat and socialize at, as well as clothing shops that range from inexpensive to pricey, so they fit into everybody’s budget. There are also quite a few night clubs, which, of course, is the best part of university in some students’ opinions!