Anna McGovern

Geography and Sport, Coaching and Physical Education, 2014

Anna McGovern

One of the most valuable parts of my experience at Brookes has been the range of opportunities and ideas that I have been exposed to as a result of my involvement in the charity Asylum-Welcome

Anna McGovern has always been fascinated with cultures, aspects of human geography and the ways in which they have shaped the world.

Brookes seemed an obvious choice, firstly, the duality of subjects (there aren’t many places where you can study geography with sport!), and it was my second stab at University, so it made sense to study somewhere closer to home, commuting for the second and third years. This idea was abandoned after having so much fun in my first year and I’ve loved every minute of living here for the past three years! Oxford is quirky yet friendly and small enough to cycle everywhere. It is also a great hub for International Development and I’ve enjoyed various talks and conferences at the University. My lecturer, organized for me to have a look around OXFAM HQ. It was such an inspiring visit that I’d like to make a career out of tackling the challenge of poverty and inequality.

One of the most valuable parts of my experience at Brookes has been the range of opportunities and ideas that I have been exposed to as a result of my involvement in the charity Asylum-Welcome. I started volunteering in my first year and over the past three years have provided support, motivation and advice to teenagers affected by the process of seeking asylum. I’ve met some incredible volunteers and young people whose stories, backgrounds and experiences have inspired and encouraged me to consider a career in the charity sector.

Last summer, I took up a place on the Department of International Development’s Citizen Service program, spending 10 weeks in a rural village in Southern India alongside Indian and British volunteers on a health and sanitation project. I gained practical skills and knowledge about grassroots development which formed the basis of my dissertation.

I’ve loved tailoring my degree to suit my interests, applying academic theory from both disciplines, to current and topical issues, such as the ongoing pacification process in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas. Using geographical research, analytical tools and a Sports Development module I was able to approach the assignment with insight and perspective, and develop new skills.

I had genuine support and encouragement from my lecturers, specifically Sarah Cant and Marion Markwick, who showed interest in my ideas and were extremely supportive when applying for voluntary roles and work experience.

Being a member of Brookes Netball has made my university life so much fun. I’ve been a member of the committee as Social Secretary and was also Vice President. Not only have I improved as a player and developed skills such as management and event organization, but I’ve made friends for life. One piece of advice for new students – definitely join a sports team!

In all, changing courses, university and coming to Brookes has been the best decision of my life. I would encourage everyone to make the most of the wonderful staff, sports facilities, organizations and individuals that make up the lovely city of Oxford.