Romeo Ocfemia

Philippines, LLB (Hons) Law with Business

“It’s fun being able to say yes to things you’ve never tried before, going out of your comfort zone and just enjoying your uni experience as much as you can”

Why did you choose the UK and specifically Oxford Brookes?

I heard about Oxford Brookes through a family friend who was taking an ACCA certification, so it’s one of the global partnerships being offered by Brookes. It really got me interested as to what the uni offers. When I came to decision making it was actually very spontaneous because I was considering the USA rather than the UK, but after finding out that Law only takes three years instead of eight, I wanted to come to the UK. Having been born in the Philippines and raised in Qatar, the weather is really, really different. So I wanted somewhere new, somewhere challenging. I also wanted somewhere cold, because I’ve never really been able to wear my winter jacket!

What attracted you to your course?

I’m usually very open when it comes to discussions and debates. I was the president of the debate club back in my high school. I’ve also been into journalism. I did a lot of things in high school and that really tied into law because writing and public speaking is something I really love to do. Ever since I was in year 9, law has been something I wanted to pursue. From my research into Brookes I knew that there are opportunities for me to compete within the university but also throughout the UK.

When you were researching universities, were you able to find enough information?

There was sufficient research and data about the modules. Talking to my friends is what convinced me to go to Brookes.

How have you found making friends?

It’s really easy, people here are so warm and welcoming! I’ve never felt more welcomed in the community, I’ve made friends and every time I see them around they always say “hi, do you remember me?”.

When you moved to Brookes did you use any facilities or services to help you to settle in?

Yes, in my accommodation there were staff and volunteers helping me to move in. When it came to grabbing my BRP card, it turns out I sent it to the wrong postcode and they were able to guide me through it and I got help with visa enrolment. During my first week of uni I didn’t have as hard of a time as I thought I would.

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

The grading system is very different but in terms of the UK, they really focus more on the application of the theory, they don’t test you for memorising this or memorising that. You’re taking what you’ve learnt and applying it to real life. When it comes to law you don’t just cite cases, in these types of cases you say “this is the law, this is the case at hand” which is very interesting. During my first year I remember the topic being murder and they were throwing us in at the deep end, and I think that really helped me to adjust because in the Philippines we had a lot of multiple choice questions where it’s mostly the definition of terms, which I didn’t really believe helped me that much. I quite like the curriculum here in the UK compared to the Philippines.

Are you involved in any clubs or societies at Oxford Brookes?

Yes, I’m involved in a lot right now! I’m the Social Media and Public Relations Secretary of the Oxford Brookes Law society. I’m a member of the Filipino society. I play with the university badminton team. For some reason I got dragged into the Taylor Swift society because it’s run by my friend! It’s nice to have something on your CV that isn’t all academic. Also I am the Media Director for Junior Lawyers Against Poverty so we do pro bono work.

What do you like the most about living in Oxford?

During the spring and the fall season it’s really lovely. One thing I really love about Oxford is that you can feel safe here and I think Brookes has everyone’s backs when it comes to safety, there are many projects being invested in by them.

Have you visited anywhere in the UK outside of Oxford?

My relatives live in Bolton. I’ve been to Portsmouth for the Filipino Society’s sports fair, to represent Brookes for badminton which was nice. I’ve been to Reading as a stopover and to London.

Have you lived in university or private accommodation?

I’ve lived in Parade Green for two years and I have  a job with Unite Students as well, as a Content Creator.

Do you have any advice for future international students?

Take as many opportunities as you can get because, at the end of the day, it isn’t the university that makes the student, but it’s the student that makes the university. We’re always going to have to prove ourselves to be as competent or even more compared to the nationals. It’s fun being able to say yes to things you’ve never tried before, going out of your comfort zone and just enjoying your uni experience as much as you can.

Do you have any plans once you’ve graduated?

I plan on taking a master’s and I’m planning on taking the qualified solicitor’s exam to become a qualified solicitor. I want to be the President of the Philippines and I want to go into international law. I have a lot of plans but it’s not laid out yet, at the end of the day you just have to follow the opportunities that present themselves. The final goal is to be the President of the Philippines!