“One of the main things I’ve learnt is not to care about my accent. Brookes is so international. ”
Zelia Dupont - France, BA Economics, Politics and International Relations
Why did you choose to come to Oxford Brookes in particular?
When I was 16 I came for a summer programme to learn English and to do my IELTS at Brookes. I just loved it. The people, the facilities, the atmosphere of the city.
How easy did you find it to settle into life at university?
As Oxford is a student city, everyone’s in the same atmosphere especially at the beginning of the year in Fresher’s Week. So just introduce yourself. No one knows anyone and they are happy to speak to everyone. The people on your course, the people you live with, you can become involved in a society or sports club, and quickly build a fantastic group of friends.
Are you involved in any clubs, societies or Brookes activities?
Many! I take part in the volleyball, softball, and rugby. I absolutely love the facilities and societies that Brookes has to offer. During Fresher’s Week there's a sports fair where - I don’t know the exact number - but there are many different sports represented. I’m not the most sporty person, but I enjoy doing it for for fun and it’s a fantastic way to meet friends.
What parts of your course do you most enjoy?
Doing your own research, your own reading, that has been the challenging part for me coming from a French way of schooling. It has taught me to study independently, work by myself and to find a group of friends to work together which is good. I’m studying human rights as part of my course and I absolutely love this: learning how to see the world with a different perspective, understanding other’s point of view, creating your own way to think and how to argue for it. The seminars are also really helpful. Because we are in small groups, we can ask questions and go over exercises if we don’t understand topics straight away.
What do you think of the support available to students?
When I arrived it was, I wouldn’t say difficult, but you leave everything you know. You leave your family, you leave your friends. So it is a new experience. It can be seen as really scary, but we are really well surrounded by support at Brookes and every member of staff at Brookes is really helpful. If I have a problem then everyone helps from student finance to the student union advisors, who’ve always been there for me. I’ve never felt alone.
What advice would you give others about settling in?
One of the main things I’ve learnt is not to care about my accent. Brookes is so international. Some people do stay with friends of the same nationality but in my group of friends we have Bulgarian, Indian, French, Italian, Saudi Arabian, Korean, Brazilian and Norwegian so I’m surrounded with non-native English speakers. Sometimes if I don’t understand something, I’ll just ask and maybe they will reply ‘Oh sorry, in English’. I enjoy it, because it improves my English and now I’m invited all over the world for holidays. So don’t be scared about your level of English or the accent or anything, just go for it!