Marc Borja

Anthropology and Geography, 2014

Marc Borja

The great thing about both geography and anthropology is that the subjects are extremely broad. Now that I have graduated I have been able to apply many aspects of them both in my work

Marc Borja is a graduate in Geography and Anthropology. He achieved a 2:1 classification and received the Heather Jones Prize for outstanding contribution to Geography. He now works for Oxford Homeless Pathways as a Housing First coordinator, as well as education and outreach officer for Oxford Geology Group.

I left school with little prospect of ever going to university. However, after working in the charity sector for many years and assisting people in achieving their goals, I thought I would set one for myself. That goal was to go to university and read a subject that I felt passionate about. I squirrelled money away from wages to pay for tuition and enrolled on courses that enabled me not only to have a qualification on paper, but to have a broader set of skills that would ensure my success when I started at Brookes.

For me, going to University was not a choice to get a better job or even to get more money – it was primarily a decision based on exploring a topic that has always fascinated me. I love people and places so a combination of geography and anthropology was a natural choice for me.

Studying this course at Oxford Brookes gave me the chance to be continually assessed over the three years of my degree rather than base my grades and final classification entirely on a handful of end of year exams. This really caught my interest as I knew that this would be the best route to allow me to develop my academic skills and abilities over time. The modular system in which the course is organised appealed to my eclectic tastes and allowed me to read subjects that were hugely diverse yet always related back to the disciplines.

I currently work for a local Oxford Charity called Oxford Homeless Pathways – my role within it is that of Housing First coordinator. The service resettles individuals who have a history of rough sleeping and ends their period of homelessness by offering them a tenancy and supporting them to sustain it. I am also education and outreach officer for the Oxford Geology Group where I am responsible for organising educational and outreach activities for community groups. These activities introduce the public to geology and earth science – helping them to develop skills associated with the subjects. I think that this is a great way for people to come to understand the physical processes that form the physical environment we live in.

The great thing about both geography and anthropology is that the subjects are extremely broad. Now that I have graduated I have been able to apply many aspects of them both in my work – whether through having a deeper understanding of how clients in the Housing First service see the world to delivering workshops to the public on how fossils are formed. I like to think that my degree has not only provided me with the technical abilities that appeal to employers, but has made me more open minded and innovative in how I carry out tasks and solve problems. I could honestly provide infinite examples about how my education has helped to increase my employability… but we haven’t got the space here!