Miranda Cundick

USA, MA Publishing Media

“I feel like I’m learning something useful that I’m going to be using in my career every single day. My lecturers are all experienced in their field, they all have practical knowledge and years of stories to pass on to the people on my course”

When you decided to study, what made you choose the UK and Oxford Brookes specifically?

I’ve been wanting to come overseas for a really long time. I actually had a study abroad planned at another university back during my undergrad, and then the Omicron wave of Covid destroyed that. I was really upset about it but fortunately, towards the end of my undergrad, I decided that I wanted to go into publishing and be an editor. I started looking at master’s programmes and looked at master’s programmes in England. I’ve always really loved fantasy books, I read a lot of Lord of the Rings and Narnia as a kid. So, when I was searching for schools, the considerations that went into it were publishing programmes in England. Turns out, when you put those two into it the choices get narrowed pretty significantly. For Oxford Brookes, the city definitely played a big role in the decision making process. I’ve nerded out over living here several times since coming!

What do you enjoy the most about your course?

I enjoy how practical it is. For the first time, I feel like I’m learning something useful that I’m going to be using in my career every single day. Which is more than I can say for any other institution I’ve studied at. My lecturers are all experienced in their field, they all have practical knowledge and years of stories to pass on to the people on my course. That’s another thing I enjoy - everybody I’m there with, they all want to be there. They all care about the outcome of the course. 

What do you like the most about Oxford Brookes?

I like how centralised everything is. All of my classes take place in the same two buildings and it’s a really convenient distance from my accommodation. I really enjoy the walk up every morning. I also really love Headington Hill Hall, it’s pretty special. It’s beautiful to study in such a gorgeous building, it’s really, really fun, and the people are great. There’s a strong international presence of students here that I didn’t fully expect at first. I really love that all the people I come into contact with on my course come from so many different places and have a wealth of experience and culture to share. 

How have you found making friends at university?

I’m really close friends with one of the people in my flat, she’s really great. The people on my programme have all been so nice. It’s mostly girls and it does feel like a big friend group, we all meet up and go and do things quite frequently. 

What facilities have you found useful?

Headington Hill Hall is great. I actually haven’t gotten to the part of my course where I’m going to be using the library, but what I have seen of it has been very positive. I like how conveniently located it is, it’s not a separate building - it’s right there. Which means I do end up in there more often than I probably would if it were in a different building.

Are you living in university halls or private accommodation?

I’m at Clive Booth Postgraduate accommodation. It’s great, I love my room. It’s very practically designed. It feels very intuitive and it feels like a living space. It felt like a living space even before I put my personal touch on it. The kitchen is great, it’s big, there’s lots of meeting space when I have people over. There’s the cleaning service that comes every week which is fantastic as well. There’s something really nice about having a stove that gets cleaned regularly! 

Do you have a favourite place in Oxford?

I love the city, it feels like a massive library! My favourite place in the city would either be the Ashmolean museum, which is fantastic, and honestly I can’t believe that I have such an amazing museum so close. There’s a little bookstore/coffee shop in the covered market called Gulp Fiction that I’ve gone and studied at a lot, that’s been really fun as well.

Do you have any advice for future international students?

I would recommend that they get a lot of their living essentials preferably a little bit earlier than the day of move in because you do have to get all of that stuff in pretty quickly. I would definitely say don’t put off getting a phone plan and a bank account set up, because those two things can really make your first couple of weeks here stressful. I would also say make sure you take advantage of the opportunities that studying international affords you. Oxford is really conveniently located - it’s near the Cotswolds and an hour out of London. There’s so much to discover just within a couple of hours. 

Have you travelled much outside of Oxford in the UK?

Recently I went down to London with one of my friends and saw a bunch of Christmas markets. That was really great. I also went down to Brighton at one point, I spent some time in Cornwall which was really, really beautiful. You feel like you’re in a pirate book! I went to the Cotswolds with my parents the first week I was here. I’m planning on doing a lot of travelling.

Do you have any plans once you’ve graduated?

Yeah, I want to work as an editor for a UK publishing firm. Preferably in fantasy, an adult high fantasy, that sort of thing.