Georgie Brunette

South Africa, LLB (Hons) Law

“It’s a big leap of faith moving so far from home, but I think if anything it grows you as a person and it gives you a lot of independence and confidence in yourself to be able to navigate your way around a foreign country and things like that”

When you were assessing your options, what made you choose the UK and Oxford Brookes?

Practicing Law depends on the jurisdiction, so I thought long term I wanted to live overseas. The UK came up as a good option - it’s a similar time zone to my family, and culturally somewhat similar and obviously English being the home language. Brookes came up as a good option because it is very central [in the UK], being in Oxford, a lovely city to live in. It actually came by word-of-mouth. I know people who came to Brookes and really loved it, and the Law school is fantastic! The people I know who came to Brookes are from South Africa, a girl in my school in my year came across to Brookes. There’s a few South Africans!

Is there a particular reason you chose your course?

Various reasons. I wanted to choose something that would play on my strengths. I think university is difficult enough as it is to then try and do something that’s maybe not really suited to you. It would make it even more challenging. I’ve always been very word oriented, with subjects like English, History were my strong points so Law seemed like a good option to play on that.

Now you’re at Oxford Brookes, what are your highlights?

The university offers a lot of support, especially for international students. Upon arrival they immediately helped me get my bank account set up and accommodation is so easy - they gave me my first choice. They made the move a lot easier. The academic support is really good. I know my lecturers, especially if you attend the lectures and seminars, they recognise that you put in the effort and they respond to that. Most of them know you by name, you know that you can go to them outside of working hours and email them. 

When you first arrived, how did you find making friends?

It was a bit tricky, because it was a foreign country so culturally it is different but everyone was really friendly and I think because everyone was in the same boat, in freshers you learn to find your crowd eventually and things work out.

What facilities or services have you found useful?

The library is great and is very well run and as a Law student we have access to Oxford Law trove, which is really helpful because it means you don’t have to buy any textbooks, most of them are all available to you for free, which is amazing because otherwise you’d be spending a fortune. The bus system is amazing as well, you pay virtually nothing, friends of mine at other universities pay ridiculous amounts every year where we pay something like £8.

How does the UK teaching style compare to your home country?

It’s tricky because I only got taught at a school level in South Africa so that is obviously more spoon-fed than a university level. I think the staff are very good, much the same really, apart from the difference between school and university I expected a jump. No complaints!

What would you say you like the most about living in Oxford?

It’s such a beautiful and historic city. There’s so much happening. It’s close to London which is convenient. It’s got everything you need but it’s also a nice size, it’s not too big and overwhelming, it’s quite easy to get to know your way around.

Have you visited anywhere outside of Oxford?

Yes, I have visited London, a relative of mine works there so I’ve been to visit her a few times. 

Where are you currently living, are you enjoying university accommodation?

Yes, I’m in second year now, I chose to go into university accommodation again. First year I was in Cheney which was lovely as it’s so close to campus. It’s really easy as a first year to just settle in that way. This year I’m in Parade Green which is also great, it’s super straightforward and because of the way the contract runs, it’s more cost effective which helps a lot. I don’t have to worry about things like heating and water which is great, so I can focus on my studies and life.

What advice would you give to prospective international students?

Definitely choose a course you know you’d enjoy, or at least really think you’re going to enjoy, don’t choose something because someone told you to or because someone wants you to. At the end of the day, it helps a lot if you actually enjoy your course because university is hard work as it is and you don’t want to be working at something you don’t enjoy. It’s a big leap of faith moving so far from home, but I think if anything it grows you as a person and it gives you a lot of independence and confidence in yourself to be able to navigate your way around a foreign country and things like that.

Once you’ve graduated, what are your plans?

I’d like to do a postgraduate course I think, I’d like to study Law further and then hopefully one day work in a commercial law firm. I’d definitely like to stay in the UK. Being in South Africa is great, but it’s a lot smaller and the economy. There’s a lot more opportunity in this country.