Sabiha Dewji

Early Childhood Studies, 2016

“The teaching staff on the course have been excellent throughout and have guided me time and time again. They are always ready to meet up for one to one meetings and have helped me to achieve my full potential”

Sabiha volunteered in an early years setting for six months at home in Tanzania, before deciding to come to Oxford Brookes University to complete her degree in Early Childhood Studies.

I realised early on that I loved teaching and I enjoyed working with children. However, it was not until my little brother was identified with special educational needs that I realised the lack of qualified teachers in Tanzania who were able to support such children. That was when I made the decision to educate myself so that I could come back and help my country.

As I began my research into what university I wanted to go to, Brookes seemed to have it all. There was a perfect balance between the practical and academic aspects, and excellent support from the very knowledgeable lecturers. Brookes has excellent resources spread out over all their beautifully structured campuses. I read about the placement opportunities and the kind of support to expect from the lecturers and it was an easy decision. Now I can say with full confidence, all of it was true. Harcourt Hill campus has an excellent library with overflowing resources and staff that are fantastic and always ready to help. From finding a book, to referencing it and accessing the online databases, they know it all.

The teaching staff on the course have been excellent throughout and have guided me time and time again. They are always ready to meet up for one to one meetings and have helped me to achieve my full potential. Additionally, I have had so much freedom to choose from a wide range of modules that have allowed me to have a degree tailored to my interests. My favourite module on the course was Outdoor learning because we were presented with practical opportunities to understand how children can benefit and learn from outdoor play. We spent some time outdoors doing interesting activities such as making mud faces on trees and building shelters for animals, this was an extraordinary experience. Additionally we explored the curriculum and the policies around outdoor play and looked at them in light of more practical issues.

Oxford is a very lively city filled with students. From the numerous parks to visit and chill in, to the museums and restaurants around Oxford, it is extremely beautiful.

In the future I hope to complete my degree and pursue a postgraduate certificate in Education at Brookes to increase my qualifications and expand my opportunities. This course has helped me to grow into a confident individual who is more able to take charge of situations and be ready to accept opportunities. From the placement experiences to the in class discussions, I have become more able to voice my opinions and stand firm in what I believe in.

The faculty has been outstanding, and the teachers and students have all been extremely supportive. Particularly Nick Swarbrick, who taught Outdoor Learning and some other modules, and is my academic advisor, has never failed to make a 9am lecture interesting. He is always ready to have a meeting and provide extra help for assignments. His insight into various topics is truly inspiring. My dissertation advisor Catherine Gilson is also excellent, always ready to hear my ideas and help out in all ways. One of her modules, International Comparisons, will be something I will forever take with me. From this module I have received knowledge of the world.

As an international student I am extremely grateful for this opportunity to study at Oxford Brookes. To my fellow Tanzanians and any international students looking at Brookes for Early Childhood Studies, I would highly recommend it to you all. The city has students from different parts of the world and the university is filled with cultural diversity. I have learnt not only about my degree but about life and people. Thank you Oxford Brookes University and the Early Childhood Studies team for the excellent experience and support.