What our students say

  • Nurul Mohd Razali

    BA (Hons) Architecture

    Nurul Mohd Razali

    “I was back in Malaysia, and over there it is very different in terms of the culture, weather and the food, everything is so different. So I was very comfortable in Malaysia and the opportunity came and I was like, “Why not!” - I want to experience something different, so I came here and I'm glad that I made that choice because it's very nice and very cool that I can experience a new culture, new languages so I'm really happy that I made that decision.

    I wanted to study Architecture and when I was choosing a university, I came across Oxford Brookes University, and I never heard of it before, but then, I did a further research and found out that for the Architecture course is really good to study here and in terms of the ranking and how they carry out the modules, I was confident that this was my place so I decided to give a try and study here, and it turns out really well! I love it here, I love how they carry out the modules and it suits my preferences very well.

    The best thing that I would say is the friends that I have made from different cultures, from different countries, I am learning their languages and what they’re like and it's very interesting to know about others as well. I did not have this option when I was back in Malaysia, as I was among Malaysian people only, so when I came here, I had the chance to know different languages, I am learning to know how other cultures live, so it's very interesting to have that cultural exchange with them. I am really happy and it is very exciting to have met new friends here!

    When I first arrived here, I was alone, just me! So what I wondered first was - “how can I make friends?” I was a bit worried, because English is not my first language, so it could also become a barrier. However, I decided to do one thing, join an Oxford Brookes society which really helped, and also, during class I engaged with different activities. I also once joined the Disney Club, before I ended up in Malaysian Society, so that I could feel a bit closer to Malaysian culture. Now, I have a lot of international friends and Malaysian friends around me!

    It was funny because back in Malaysia, rice is my main food, so I always used to have, like breakfast, lunch and dinner with rice. And suddenly, I came to the UK and everything was like pastries, breads and sandwiches, and it was new for me, but I'm really glad that I got to try all these different foods. Then how can I taste Malaysian food here? It's so hard because I didn't know how to cook, so whenever I wanted to try and cook, I had to call my mum so she taught me how to cook best, so I can feel the taste of Malaysian food again, and I learned how to cook! So I have now been here for three years and I think I managed to cook a few Malaysian dishes that I never tried before!

    Oxford is very beautiful and one thing that I like the most is that it is very student friendly. When I am at any of the Oxford city cafes, I feel like it gives me motivation to study more and more, and then the buildings around are very nice and beautiful, I just love them! So I have a friend that whenever we go to the city centre, we always sit around and do some sketching so that we can keep that moment with us forever, so I am very happy to be here!

    When I was in my first year and because I didn't know anyone here, I decided to stay in student accommodation, called Crescent Hall. I had five flat mates with me and they were very different - one from Scotland, one from Germany, and I wanted to engage with them, so we celebrated Christmas together, we cooked together, this was the starting point of how I made great friends with them. Now I live in private accommodation, a shared house with a few Malaysian students that I met here. When we met, we decided to live together, so right now I’m living like five minutes away from University with three other Malaysian students!

    I was a bit shocked by the campus because it's quite different from the city because it’s very modern. However, since I am an Architecture student, and we, of course, study buildings; in our first year, we studied about our campus first and it was very interesting to see that every architectural aspect has a reason behind it, it is not only aesthetically beautiful, so I love that! In terms of the facilities, I love how it's very friendly to the students. I normally use one of them very often, the printing service, and I love how it's not only in the architecture building, but it’s everywhere! So I can just go anywhere on campus whenever I need to print something, so it's very easy to access the facilities, and that is really helpful.

    I would say the creative process! Because when I first decided to study Architecture, I loved how it really makes you think creatively, and also makes it functional too, so that is what I love the most! So yeah, I love the whole thing from the creative process through the design technology process.

    Because I have been here from before the COVID restrictions and after, the whole process has been quite different, but I would say that my mornings are just the same as any other students, get ready and go to the University, however, I used to spend more time in the studio before COVID restrictions. However, I really love how this study environment is one where everyone helps each other, so on a normal day, I spend most of my days in the studio. The studio might be like my first home and I only head back to my accommodation or my house for dinner or lunch. The study environment at the studio has helped me a lot because before I came here, I had no knowledge of architecture at all. I did Arts before this, so I had some knowledge, but the environment at the studio, having all people with different skills, it makes me very pumped, it makes me happy to end my studio day, going back at home and still going back to the studio the next day and repeat the same routine!

    It is a very different environment. I just told you that I spent most of my time in the studio and then once the COVID restrictions came up, I needed to spend most of my time at home, so everything was through the computer screen. However, the support that was given by the University and my tutors has been wonderful, they helped me a lot! Before this, we had more contact time between the tutors, but then after COVID, we started to have less contact, but the way that they managed to bring back the studio life to an online way, it still amazes me! Because right now, I still feel like I am connected to them, and I still feel like I can get enough help from them so it is great!

    Before this, I didn't know that a foreign country might have something like a Malaysian Society because Malaysia might be quite small. So I was very happy when I found out that there was a Malaysian society at Oxford Brookes University. Thanks to that, I have met a lot of new friends which makes me feel like home. We did a lot of events before the pandemic, we had some gatherings, potlucks and that was great and I was so excited about it, because there was lots of Malaysian food and we played Malaysian games. The best thing is that I can talk in Malay the whole day because when I am with someone else, we have to speak English the whole time. So yeah, I feel like I'm in a small Malaysian community so I'm really grateful to have that in Brookes!

    Before arriving in the UK, I thought that my English was not very good, so I'm glad that I came here because back in Malaysia, of course, I speak Malay as my first language. So I came here and I was a bit scared in case they could not understand me, however, I am glad that I just gave it a try! My family was very helpful as they supported my decision, and understood me. Then I was surprised with native speakers, as I was surprised because they didn't even judge me if my English was bad or like, I couldn't speak fluent English, good English at all. So the way that everyone is accepting and helping me to make perfect sentences, I feel so touched! I was so scared because they might judge me, but here, they don't even judge you if you don't speak perfect English as long as you can deliver your information, as long as you can share your thoughts, they will help you along the way!

    I would say, definitely do it! Just come here, just bring your luggage and come here, and study here! Because it will be a very different environment - that's where you learn new things. It might go wrong in certain things but that's where you learn things, that's where you try to handle it on your own. Back in Malaysia, I lived with my parents for 20 years and I never stayed away from my family. So now, when I moved to the UK, I started to learn how to be and feel very responsible, independent. I think I became more wise and mature because I make my own decisions because they cannot help me to make my own decisions!

    I would say, challenging. I have faced some challenges and I'm proud of myself because out of those challenges, I've managed to be here for three years. So I wanted to mean challenging but in a good way as I become a new person where I'm more independent and I'm more responsible. There might be challenges that teach me to make a good decision, to make a right decision! So yeah, I would say challenging but not in a bad way, in a good way because out of those challenges, I am who I am today.”

    Faris Bin Mohd Rafie

    Psychology

    “When I saw Oxford Brookes in the brochure the modern theme appealed to me. I decided to come to Oxford Brookes because I really like the modern theme. It looks advanced. It looks knowledgeable. It looks great.

    My favourite place is the entrance of Oxford Brookes University because the architecture shows a bit of character which is amazing and that is what motivates me to study here. I can use resources such as the amazing library. The facilities and resources play a big role for international students.

    I am involved with the Malaysian Society and Psychology Society. The societies make you feel welcomed. I found joining the Psychology Society useful because in my first month we had a picnic in South Park, which is a cool relaxing place. I made new friends at this gathering and I made more friends on the course. We talk about the course and it helps to get an understanding of students of all years including Masters and PhDs.

    As international students, do not think as if you are alone because other people out there may also be feeling the same, so share your thoughts.

    I would recommend Oxford Brookes to other international students; I think it is a great modern university.”

    Tan Jit Min

    LLB Law

    “I decided to come to the UK as I’m studying Law, and Malaysian law and UK law is the same. And to get some experience overseas, stay away from my comfort zone, and meet new people. The best thing about my course is you have to study all the cases and then you get to write your own opinion, which is a very good thing for me. To write your own thinking, your views and then compare with other people and get a better solution after that.

    How different did you find the university’s teaching style compared to that of your previous experience?

    My previous experience of teaching styles was more like spoon-feeding. They tell you, ‘OK, only just this part is coming out for exams’, and basically, then they give you the format of how you answer the question. And then we just memorised it and we only met in the exam hall.

    But it’s totally different here; you have to learn everything by yourself. Some of my friends and I, we actually struggled a bit when we first came here. We spoke to our academic advisor, and then things just got better. And then we had this mentoring system as well like a mentor and mentee and you get to meet local people.”

    Jia Hui Gan

    MSc Rehabilitation

    Jia Hui Gan

    “The best thing about this course is that I have a team of dedicated teaching staff. I feel they are all dynamic in their personalities. Other than that, apart from learning those modules listed in the syllabus, the lectures also provide a lot of chances to learn other things related to this work.

    The lecturers really encourage us to learn what is practical in the future and related to my career, as well as a lot of research. I think this is the strength of this university course because not many universities put so much emphasis on research, because it is not easy to study.

    Every lecturer has their own teaching style, but generally all of them are quite experienced, they are a leader in their field, on a particular subject or module. It’s inspiring, and makes students engage in the subject. Something very good about the lectures here is they make the students not just physically attend to the course, but really engage in the course itself emotionally, physically and mentally.

    The student union and ISAT are very supportive to international students, helping them to integrate into UK culture and study style. I like the beautiful buildings over here. And everything is so accessible, it’s in walking distance. There are many friendly international students, and there are also a lot of kind British people here.”

    Nathan Lau

    MSc International Hospitality, Events and Tourism Management

    Nathan Lau

    “I came to Brookes because of the reputation of the school. The reason I selected this programme is because I wanted to do the sandwich mode because previously I have had a slightly different work experience not in the hospitality sector so in order to go from academic into work I decided to take the placement year in the UK and I am hoping to get a job in London. I like the diverse environment; it would be great for me. So after I have completed my dissertation I will have a year doing my work placement.

    My Bacchus Mentor is the Hotel Development Director from InterContinental Hotels Group. As well as career advice, he has provided me with valuable information that I have been able to use in my dissertation. I am researching franchise hotel development which directly relates to his area of work, so have been able to interview him and his colleagues to collect some really useful data.

    The most amazing part of the course is socialising with other people on the course - we have around 60/70 students and there are more than 25 nationalities and only 2 British people. It’s great to be around different nationalities and apart from the programme itself it’s the thing that I appreciate the most – getting to know and interact with people and everyone seems friendly for some reason, maybe it’s because it’s a hospitality programme. You get to build links with people for the future and who knows what will happen.

    Oxford is a really nice place, it’s beautiful and I think it is basically a student city so everyone is from a different part of the world so I think that is the best part of it. It’s good because it is small so it makes it easy. And easy access to London.”

    Song Pei Fen

    BA(Hons) Architecture, followed by MArchD

    Song Pei Fen

    “The best thing about the MArchD for me is the first-year Master’s specialisation units. So I specialised in what I love doing and I gained a lot of knowledge in my first year. Then the second year of the Master’s programme encourages you to push your conceptual thinking, to be more creative and go wild with ideas, which is great. And compared to other universities, some of the other universities might be more technical, but here I’ve found that it’s really useful. Since this is our final year of studies, I appreciate the freedom that we are given to go wild and creative with our design project.

    I enjoy working in the studio the most because they have up-to-date software on all the desktops. Also, there is the technology workshop, where students get to use the laser cutter, 3D printer, all those high-tech machines to make models. And there is the opportunity to collaborate with other departments in the university. Like, for example, my design project deals with photographic chemical emulsions. So I got to collaborate, or just ask advice from, one of the chemists in the Chemistry department.

    Oxford is a beautiful city, very peaceful, and it’s also very close to London. So during times where I need some inspiration, I could just take a one hour bus ride to London to get inspired. Also, it’s a real student city, so when I go to the city centre, I see lots of university students, working hard and mingling. And the social life here is just balanced right; not too crazy and not too boring. I would advise international students, if this is their first time being in the UK, just to be as open-minded as possible.”

    Yiing Jiun Ng

    MArchD Applied Design in Architecture

    Yiing Jiun Ng

    “I chose to do an MArchD Applied Design in Architecture here after my BA (Hons) Architecture because I enjoy being here and Brookes doesn’t ask you to follow a certain style but instead your lecturers all help you to develop your own thinking and your own style of Architecture. They give you options for you to explore them yourself.

    There are many great things about my course! For example, learning how to develop my own thinking and letting me choose out of various types of architecture. It allows me to be more creative instead of restricting myself to a certain style. I also like the mix of the technical and the creative part of my course. It makes me think about what I want to do in the future.

    I would definitely recommend my course to someone interested in Architecture. For example I have friends asking me about my experience at Brookes and I just tell them my experience is great because of all the options I get and the different field trips we get to go on as well.

    I like the fact that Oxford has a beautiful environment and is quiet and homely. You can definitely concentrate when you have to study and not be distracted too much. The culture is different but the people, including my academic tutors, are very friendly. I made a lot of new friends in my first year and they’re all really nice and wanted to learn more about my culture. Now I’m still in touch with them even though they have moved back to their home countries.”

    Nadhira Abdul Halim

    BA(Hons) Architecture

    Nadhira Abdul Halim

    “Brookes Architecture puts a lot of emphasis on individuality and creativity, on top of technicality, which I thought was very encouraging. In their brochure and website, they encourage students to use different methods of representation, drawings and models; I like that they don’t insist on a specific style. Coming from Landscape Architecture, I was very much interested in sustainable and culture-based design, which Brookes emphasised in its brochure.

    I’m intimidated by large cities such as London, so being in Oxford, a smaller student-filled city was certainly a plus point for me. Oxford is an amazing city!

    I find that my tutors have played a big part in my experience here. So far I’ve had really great tutors that have been encouraging, challenging, tough, helpful, critical, all at the same time. I find it really exciting when they challenge me to develop outside my comfort zone.

    I’ve been involved in Oxford Architecture Society (OxArch) last year, and being a committee member has taught me a lot about organising events, contacting working Architects, planning etc. This year, I’m the President of Oxford Brookes Malaysian Society (OBMS), which is only in its 2nd year. So structuring the society and running it is an exciting challenge. I find the diverse societies at Brookes are really enriching our university life. There’s something for everyone. And if there isn’t, we can always start one up!

    To future students I’d say, come to Brookes! There’s so much going on, and so much to get involved in. Oxford’s a great city to be living in. Plus, the new building is looking great! I’ve just managed to convince a cousin to come to Brookes.”