Mel Wijegooneratne

Anthropology

Mel Wijegooneratne

I always wanted to study different social and cultural variations from my own; growing up in Sri Lanka and moving to the UK at the age of 12 meant I was exposed to two very different lifestyles, and I really do think this sparked my curiosity

Mel Wijegooneratne studied Anthropology and Politics, and now works at a community development project in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

I always wanted to study different social and cultural variations from my own; growing up in Sri Lanka and moving to the UK at the age of 12 meant I was exposed to two very different lifestyles, and I really do think this sparked my curiosity. I chose to combine it with Politics as I wanted to study something I had no prior knowledge of and gain a better understanding.

I came to Brookes because the Anthropology course was rated so highly, and the campus had a very homely feel to it. One of the best things about the course was the freedom to choose which modules to study, and there was a very laid back atmosphere. I had a lot of help from the student support coordinators, as well as from my friends.

I was a student ambassador which gave me a lot of experience in working and meeting new people, and it also boosted my confidence with public speaking. I also went to Australia on exchange and had an amazing six months. My university experience was a brilliant exposure to the real world, having to juggle so many things. I think university gave me the foundations of becoming an adult.

I loved Oxford, a quaint city with hustle and bustle which also offers such variety, from the multicultural Cowley Road to the historic town with its fantastic buildings, the beautiful parks and the cycle friendliness of the city. Oxford is a city where I was proud to be a resident.

I am now project manager at Warehouse Project, a community development project in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The job is extremely varied, from arranging events at the project to managing the various projects that we cover. Warehouse Project aims to bridge the gap that is growing between the rich and the poor in Colombo, offering various programmes which provide basic needs to the community as well as training and exposure to the arts, education and sports.

My advice to new students would be to enjoy it – make the most of all the opportunities you are given!