Keren Hannah Golea

Philippines, BA (Hons) Fine Art

“During our first year, we had a field trip to Venice, so we went there to experience the arts and we really enjoyed looking at art in a much wider perspective on a global scale”

Why did you decide to come and study in the UK?

Well, the UK is well known for its art scene, and the UK is a paradise for art lovers like me. So I decided to study here so that I can immerse myself into the art, into the art sculpture of the UK, especially, British art, and so many favourite artists are British artists so that is another reason why I also decided to study here.

What attracted you to Oxford Brookes University?

Upon doing research while doing my application, I've learned that Oxford Brookes University was originally an art school back in 1860’s. This gave me an insight that this university will provide me an excellent education in this field. It also has some programmes within the course that would help me to maximise my potential and my passion. For example, we have seminars, field trips, and this allows us to engage with the professionals in the arts industry.

What has been your favourite thing so far about your course?

I really like how they teach the students, because it's not just limited to lectures and seminars, we also have field trips to galleries. So during our first year, we had a field trip to Venice, so we went there to experience the arts and we really enjoyed looking at art in a much wider perspective on a global scale. And not just that, the facilities are 100% really, really good! We have access to it 24 hours, so we can go to the studios and work at any time and when we're free we can just go there and hang out with our classmates. And facilities such as the printing, the photography studio, are so great too!

How did you find making friends at university?

If you are not nervous to make friends, people here are really warm and welcoming. But when I came here, I'm not afraid to approach people, as I am really sociable, so I made a lot of friends, and until now, they're still my friends. I have made friends from all around the University because I attended some events that the University arranges, so thanks to this, I met a few other international students and although some of them finish their course now, I am 100% sure that we will still keep in touch. So it's just beyond being friends here in University but in your personal life as well!

Are you living in student accommodation or private accommodation?

I currently live in Cheney Student Village, which is part of the student accommodation that Oxford Brookes offers. I applied for it last year during the pandemic, as this one is closer to the University, because last year I was living in Clive Booth a bit farther from campus. I really enjoyed my time there, had fun with my flatmates and had amazing memories in Clive Booth. However, I also wanted to try something different and I applied to be a student warden, as I want to share that experience with my students. Now, it is currently different, as there are some restrictions due to COVID, but we are still trying our best to give the students the best experience while staying in the accommodation. The facilities here are amazing, we have laundry rooms around here, we are near the supermarkets, you're near the university too, literally, I can just walk for five minutes and I arrive at the Art studio, so I can just go there any time! So, yeah, lovely place to be living in the student accommodation while being a student.

What do you think of the city of Oxford?

I love this city very much! Every time I go to the city centre, it's like the first time and I really enjoy looking at the historical buildings and going to museums and as I love the art, my favourite place is the Ashmolean Museum. There's a lot to do when being here as a student, so you just need to explore and experience the city for yourself. During my first year at Oxford Brookes, the University arranged shopping tours and city tours, so I got to experience that and I really loved it as it gave me the full student experience. It's not a hard city to live in, everything is accessible and easy to find, plus people are very warm and welcoming as well so it's really easy to go and get around!

How have you found moving your studies online due to the pandemic?

For me personally, there's a good side and a bad side! The good side is that I really like it because I do not have to get ready like I used to when going to the classes. When I wake up, I just open up my laptop and I’m there, ready! So it saves me time. The bad thing, which it’s not really a bad thing, is that I miss going to see my classmate and having that face to face engagement. Obviously, we all understand that it's necessary during the COVID time, and most of the time, we don't have as many lectures because we do our stuff more independently, so we just go to the studios when we need it, so I am learning to organise a bit better my time to do my homework, so it is in the end a good thing. And lastly, we also have the exhibition. Last year, we had a face to face exhibition, but this year we are not sure so they’re planning to still have it as it will be the final one. We recently had our midterm exhibition and it was virtual, and the feeling is just the same because you're getting the engagement from your classmates and it's a really fun experience too!

What would be your top tips for other international students that are thinking about coming to the UK or coming to Oxford Brookes?

My top tips would be join events and socialise as much as you can! Make the most out of this amazing experience and make as many friends as you can. Don't be afraid to ask for support and help whenever you need it, because a lot of the people in the university would really help you to get the best of your student experience. And lastly, just enjoy while you are studying here while you are a student, that's it!

Have you managed to join any societies or any sports teams?

Yes, I joined the business enterprise team a few months ago! They organise meetings where you can get to hear successful students who have established their business upon completion of their studies. But apart from that, the University has a lot of programmes that you can join. I have also joined the Filipino society, but I'm not really active in it because I had to focus on doing a lot of paintings and stuff. So yeah, I recommend you to join any clubs or societies.

Can you sum up your time at Oxford Brookes so far, using just one word?

Amazing. It's just what I can say, amazing!