Arantxa D'Silva

United Arab Emirates, BSc (Hons) Nutrition

“The university has so many activities which I love and there’s so many things to be a part of”

What is your name, course and nationality?

I’m Arantxa, I study Nutrition. I’m Portuguese but I’ve lived in Dubai my entire life. I was born and raised there. My Dad’s Portuguese and my Mum’s Indian. They’ve lived and worked in the UAE for 25 or 26 years.

When you were considering courses and universities, what made you choose the UK and Oxford Brookes specifically?

I have a lot of family here in the UK so my parents were more comfortable sending me where there were familiar faces. I chose Oxford because, first of all, it has a high reputation for students and it’s quite a safe city (compared to London). I heard from my family and cousins that Oxford is really a lovely place to live in, not that boisterous and loud. So I think that’s what drove me to choose here.

Moving onto your course, what made you choose Nutrition?

Four or five years back I was fully committed to going into culinary arts. During A Levels back home I took science subjects and I genuinely like the science field and why not combine both of them?

What is it you enjoy the most about the course?

In my course I think I am the only international student so it’s a bit new for me, but it’s nice to see that the people from the UK are so sweet to me and I get along with them quite well. We’ve had four modules in the first semester and three new modules in the second semester. The second semester has just started. The first semester was quite smooth in that the professors were really helpful, in the sense that they would explain exactly what was expected and what was expected out of us as students as well.

How about Oxford Brookes as a university, how have you found your time here so far?

The university has so many activities which I love and there’s so many things to be a part of. In the first semester I wasn't comfortable just yet but in the second semester I know that I’m going to sign up to a lot more things.

How would you compare the teaching style in the UK compared to your home country?

I did my A Levels back in Dubai and they were quite rigorous with us, so coming here was not as hard as I was expecting it to be but it was very different in the sense that back home, we never had essays due or coursework due, it was just tests and quizzes and stuff like that I had to study for. There were never essays or assignments due so that was a bit new and at the start I was struggling a bit, but with the resources on the website and citing that was really helpful.

How have you found Oxford as a city to live in?

I love Oxford, honestly. I’ve been to London a couple of times but I honestly prefer Oxford. Even when I tell my friends that they have to come to Oxford.

What is your highlight of Oxford?

I’ve done the Bodleian Library and walked through the whole thing. 

How about accommodation, where are you staying?

I’m currently living in Crescent Hall. I’m living with all girls and it’s quite decent, I’m not complaining so far.

Do you have any aims for once you’ve graduated?

I still do want to keep in touch with the culinary aspect I started this degree with but I also want to join the healthcare system here in the UK. Hopefully the NHS. I  think I can see myself in the UK because I am very close to my family and they’re all here. It wouldn’t make sense for me to go anywhere else.