“I would definitely recommend this course to another student. It is at the top of education for the hospitality industry and I would recommend it because of the work experience you get, reading the course, the way they teach you to look at things from a different angle and think critically. ”
Mia Jorjikia - Russia, BSc International Hospitality Management
Why did you decide to study in the UK?
I knew that it was one of the most exciting and different experiences a person can get and it is one of the most famous educational systems in the world for its results because people who graduate, they find amazing work places. I think it was really important for me to study at such a place where you get the best out of everything and everyone including the teachers and staff members are there to help you and make you better yourself.
How has your pathways course, how has it helped you in your current course?
I did the International Foundation in Business and Technology and I think it is crucial that I did because I had good grades this semester. I am sure that if I didn’t take the course I wouldn’t be able to get these marks because I would feel a bit shy and really stressed. Not everyone can get it straight away when you just apply and go to university.
What is the best thing about your course so far?
I think the best thing is the balance between the knowledge we get the practicals and the restaurant where we work, it is a great balance. You get the knowledge and you see real life, under pressure, you use your knowledge, you know how to prioritise time, how to manage yourself and how to interact within a multicultural group.
What learning facilities do you use the most at Oxford Brookes?I would say it is Moodle because whatever course you’re doing, it is always useful to have this facility, you can just log in and see all of the slides from the lectures. It is important because sometimes you cannot possibly write everything down and sometimes you just need that word that was on that slide. It helps a lot to prepare for the exams as well.
What do you like about the teaching style?
I really like the fact that all of the teachers are interested in what you think. Not what the teacher thinks but what you think and what is your opinion, you get to talk to teachers and they will respond to you. If you’re wrong they will prove that you’re wrong or if you’re right they will give you the help, the right books and material to guide you, because it is really needed when you are a first year.
What do you think of the John Henry Brookes building?
I really love John Henry Brookes building, I find it very inspirational. Inspiration is very important for me in the hospitality industry and because you talk to people and it is really important to see something, get inspired and then get along with the day. The John Henry Brookes building, I am really proud of it as a student because it is really exciting and high tech and I really enjoy all the facilities from the perspective of the hospitality industry.
Have you done a work placement yet or are you going to do a work placement?
I had my work placement at The London Marriott Hotel Park Lane I was an ‘At Your Service Agent’ (switchboard operator). The highlight of my work placement was the day when I received The Associate Of The Month award. The award is given to the Marriott associates who demonstrate outstanding commitment to the guests and inspire their colleagues.
The most important competency I have developed during the placement year was professionalism. I have significantly improve my understanding of how the actual hotel operations works and became fluent and natural when talking to people over the phone. The most important lesson I have learnt from the year was that it is inevitable to completely avoid making mistakes, which is why you have to own them and do your best to solve them, and that will define you, not the fact that you have made mistakes.
Would you recommend this course to another student?
I would definitely recommend this course to another student. It is at the top of education for the hospitality industry and I would recommend because of the work experience you get, reading the course, the way they teach you to look at things from a different angle and think critically. Also how to diffuse energy that you don’t need and to focus on your task of making people happy.
What do you hope to do when you graduate?
After graduation I would like to continue working in hotels. My main goal is to become a general manger of a hotel. The placement year has helped me to realise the amount of knowledge and experience needed to be successful at this position, which is why I plan to continue studying for my master's degree after which I am hoping to join one of the international hotel chains as part of their graduate programme. Such programmes allow recent graduates to gain work experiences in all of the hotel departments and start working as supervisors or managers depending on their abilities.
What do you like most about living in Oxford?
This is the city that I love. Oxford is the city I love because of its history, many amazing people who achieved a lot in their life started in Oxford and they were walking in the same streets that I am walking. I think it is really inspiring for me to know that especially in hospitality industry, I know that many general managers of a big hotel chains are from my school, School of Hospitality.
I love the romantic side of the city when trees are blooming, I love shopping here, you can always find something unique and also the restaurants, the range of restaurants you get in such a small city is amazing and high quality products. It is generally very inspiring for somebody like me because you feel like you are a part of a big family of students because most of the people you see are students. Everyone is really open to talk to you, they are all friendly, they are all really nice people because they have gone through some different challenges to get here, all the exams. It is not that easy to get here but when you get here you get this amazing feedback.
Do you have a favourite place in Oxford that you like to go to regularly?
I have a favourite place and it is the St Mary the Virgin Cathedral and on the top of the cathedral if you go upstairs there is an amazing view of Oxford and I usually go there and look at this amazing place.
If we talk about restaurants and cafes, Turf Tavern is a really unique place, hidden from the sites of the tourists and I really like places which have the history and some secrets.
I have to say Brookes Restaurant it is one of the top restaurants as well because I know it from inside now and I would recommend everyone to visit it because it has really high standards. We know all the suppliers, we know their names, what kind of people they are, the way they grow their ingredients and we know that all the product that our customers get are really high quality. The service is really high quality as well and we do everything, students do, to make it a fine dining experience.
Do you get to meet other international students while you’re living in halls?
Definitely, you socialise and talk to people and you use every opportunity whether you’re in the laundry or in the reception or you’re just walking past somebody, you connect somehow with the people because we are all the same age and we have the same interests.
How are the rooms set out in halls?
It is six of us in an apartment and each of us have their own rooms and we only share the kitchen, we have ensuite so bathroom and toilet. It is really nice, I lived in Clive Booth last year, I really enjoyed living there and Dorset Hall as well.
Do you have any top tips for international students?
I would say that the most important advice is go for it if you really want it because the desire is really important. If you don’t really want it then there is no point in applying in places such as Brookes because otherwise you you won’t fit in well.
The other part is if you’re sure that you want it then do something to achieve a better result than you have, so whether it is English or Excel or presentation skills, try to improve them before you come to university because then you will get better marks here. Marks are also important because they motivate you. Also the most important thing I think is to go to the presentations of when Brookes University is coming to your town or near by, just go there and talk to people.