Gareth Preston

Geography

Gareth Preston

One of the best things about the course was the field trips

Recent student Gareth Preston is currently studying an MPhil in Geography after being awarded a first class degree from Oxford Brookes. He has chosen to research variations in the Indian Ocean monsoon over the past 12,000 years and hopes to take this further still with a PhD.

After taking A‐levels at college, including an A‐level in Geography, I decided to go straight to university. I’m from Witney and wanted to go to a local university so I could live at home. The Brookes course is modular so there aren't final exams and you can choose modules that interest you, so you could study anything from glaciology to Japan’s changing place in the global economy.

One of the best things about the course was the field trips. I went on trips to Scotland and Wales to practise techniques in the field, including sediment coring and geomorphological mapping. A module on Geography, Environment and Society included a trip to Ireland to interview members of the local council, environmental campaigners and water pollen experts in order to assess the impact that industrial development is having on the water quality in Cork harbour. Not only are field trips a great way to try out what you've been learning in the classroom but it's fun going away with your friends too.

My advice to new students would be don't be put off by the cost of going to university. There is help available, and you’ll have the time of your life.