STUDENT VLOG: Przemek's introduction to Brookes and Applied Languages

09:48 Unknown 2 Comments

Hi, I'm Przemek from Poland and I study Applied Languages at Oxford Brookes University. In my first ever vlog, I show you a few places around Oxford Brookes and explain why I love studying here.

I am passionate about getting to know new people and their cultures and I am very interested in different areas of business - Customer Experience Management and Marketing. I love how flexible my course is and that it offers a work placement during the 3rd year. Next year, I'm going to spend 12 weeks studying at university in Madrid or Pamplona and another 12 weeks working in the U.S. or Australia. 

The video depicts my experience as a 2nd year Applied Languages student who studies English and Spanish combined with Business specialization.

Are you passionate about languages and want to improve your linguistic skills on a flexible and super-interesting course thanks to which you can travel and study? If yes, check out the Applied Languages course at Oxford Brookes!


Mia The Brookes Blogger - International Hospitality Management Year 3

13:39 Unknown 1 Comments

Dear readers of my blog,

I hope you are all well and are enjoying summer! I am in Moscow right now, the city where I was born and the city that I Iove with all my heart. It is wonderful to be here. I really enjoy wandering around busy streets and finding new extraordinary places like this

Gorgeous Mural Honouring Russian Ballerina Maya Plisetskaya 

by Brazilian street artist Eduardo Kobra

or even this


 Hello From the 86th floor

Despite all of the beauty I am surrounded by, my mind is occupied with only one exciting thought. I am thinking of that long-awaited day when I finally will  throw the hat in the air, otherwise known as graduation day :) Anyway, before that happens there are still many challenges to overcome and lessons to learn. I look forward to it all and cannot wait to look at all of my course mates and feel proud that we have made it :) Before  my fantasy about that day goes too far let me tell you about  

International Hospitality Management Year 3!

It was hard to go back to the academic studies right after the placement year. First couple of months I was acting as If I had never written an essay before, forgetting where to start and in what format to write.  Most of my friends also felt a little bit lost, nevertheless we had all managed to bring back the knowledge we had acquired in previous years and multiplied it during year 3. Strangely enough (surprisingly to myself) I have significantly improved my academic results after finishing placement year. I have started to see how the two worlds of theory and practice coexist  together and how I can use all the knowledge I'm receiving at Oxford Brookes in real life to improve real businesses. 

If we go back to the magic theme I have started in my Foundation Year Story Blog, there were many magical moments in year 3 as well. Such magical moments (shown below) make me feel so proud to be part of the Oxford Brookes community. 
Many thanks to Natasa Savic, who chose me as an actress for her team project. Not only Natasa was studying Master's degree at Oxford School of Hospitality, she was also my trainer at my part time job where she had been extremely helpful. Thank you!!!
 I took part in Brookes' Got Talent and, even though I did not go through the finals, I had thoroughly enjoyed the whole process and have this video as a memory. I will be returning again next year :) What I ususally say to myself is : " Go for it Mia, You need to show some funny videos to your grandchildren when you are 90" :)
Ellena Gartside and I - Yours trully, Brookes Bloggers :) We could not help but wonder how it all happened :) My favourite phrase - Over the Moon - is ideal to describe how we felt when we saw that A. our university had achieved such great results and B. that we were chosen to show the happiness :)

There were many more great moments, however if I keep going on I will write a book. Every year I am becoming a better version of myself at Brookes. 
Year 4! See you in September!

P.S. I promise to record a vlog of the day when I throw the hat in the air, otherwise known as graduation day :)

Best wishes,

Mia The Brookes Blogger 


#helloBrookes 2017 - Oxford Brookes is not just a course

15:37 Unknown 1 Comments

It's picnics in South Park.

It's discovering your new music obsession at O2 Academy.

It's championing environmental issues.

It's students coming together from 151 different countries.

It's quiet nights at Turf.

It's messy nights at PTs.

It's outstanding buildings and award-winning facilities.

It's part of a vibrant local community.

It's finding your place in an inspiring city alongside 30,000 other students.

Whatever you're looking for in a uni, you can find it at Oxford Brookes.

You can find out more about life at Oxford Brookes by ordering our 2018 prospectus.

This blog post was written by a member of staff rather than a student - browse all our blogs to get the student perspective on life at Brookes!


Crying at journalists, meeting literary agents, having mini breakdowns and hating Cloud Atlas: how I spent my first year as a master's student.

17:34 Unknown 1 Comments

So, I have finally finished the first year of my part-time MA, in Creative Writing yay! It’s been a tricky year, but a pretty good one. There’s been a lot of ups and downs, here’s a roundup of the most memorable:

The Best:

1. Meeting Catherine Chanter
I've met so many brilliant authors this year but Catherine Chanter, author of ''The Well' and Brookes graduate, was definitely my favourite. Not only was she full of useful writing tips, but she was totally down to earth and made me have hopes for the future that ‘normal’ people who have to hold down a job and a life outside of writing can make it too. Thanks Catherine!

2. Writing the first two chapters of my book
I now have 9,000 words that have been meticulously written, re-written and written again, so woo. Only around 81,000 to go.

3. Getting engaged
Okay, this isn’t MA related, but it’s been a highlight of a year that I thought I could have nothing happen to me outside of writing. So, in next academic year, I will be planning a wedding and getting married before graduation. Watch out for my 2018 breakdown!

      4. Meeting Literary Agent, Carrie Plitt
Not only was it fascinating to hear the inner workings of a literary agency, but she filled me with hope when she encouraged us to submit our work to her and casually chucked in that as Oxford Brookes MA students, we were already at an advantage to get published. She also told a fabulous story involving toast.

5. Writing for a living
In my ‘worst’ list, you will see reference to my stressful job. Well, I got a new one this year too. Instead of listening to a boss who told me, "you have to stay here because no one else will let you work flexibly enough to do an MA", I went and found somewhere that not only lets me work flexibly enough to do my MA and anything else I want to, but actually pays me to spend about 80% of my working life writing. And I love it.

6. Being awarded a place at Swanwick Writers’ Summers school
I’m so excited to have been given a place on the TopWrite scheme to attend Swanwick this year; this is in large part thanks to a lovely reference from one of my lecturers. I would have never had the confidence to apply for anything like this before doing my MA and I will now be spending six days in August doing nothing but writing and learning from some of my favourite authors. I’m going to try hard not to fangirl too hard over Sophie Hannah...

The Worst:

1. Crying my eyes out to renowned journalist, Nick Cohen
The shame. Half-way through my first term, I had a slight ‘flap’ as I will call it after my first feedback came back absolutely terrible, my full-time job nearly killed me from stress and I just wanted to give up. Unfortunately, when the rather prestigious journalist Nick Cohen came in to give us a lecture, everything came to a head and I ended up sobbing at him on the stairs. The poor man looked terrified. Sorry Nick, I’m all better now!

2. Spending hours of my life sat in traffic in Oxford
So many hours have been wasted this way and trying to park before 4:30 is even more fun. Traffic-related breakdowns have been a-plenty this year. Next year, I have to the park and ride as I can't park on campus. If there's one thing I hate more than traffic, it's buses.

3. Referencing
Do I even need to explain this one?

4. Reading Cloud Atlas
I really hated this book but it also encompasses a lot of feelings I have had over this academic year about all the things I missed out on whilst reading or writing for my MA. Which brings me on to...

5. Missing best friends’ engagements
Two of my best friends got engaged, at the top of a mountain, at the same time, to their lovely partners, surrounded by all of our other friends. I was at home, reading my least favourite book (see above) and stressing out over all of the work I had yet to do for that term. Sadly, I missed out on a lot of really big social occasions this year, but least it gave me a topic for my blog...

And now, term has finally ended, first year is over, and I’ve had my marks back (which were slightly better than last term woo!). Whilst I can hardly say ‘summer is here’ as I am not an actual student so will still be working 5 days a week until term starts again... it’s nice to have a little break before we get back into the hectic world of non-stop writing and reading again and know that if I survived one hectic, crazy year, I can survive the next.


Places I'll Miss

14:21 Unknown 0 Comments

I'm a third year. I've finished all of my essays, I've paid off my library fines (sorry library) and returned all my books. I don't need to go to campus anymore, and I don't need to lug my laptop up the hill anymore (thank goodness). I'm a third year, but I haven't graduated yet, so I'm a little stuck in the middle for a while.

Since finishing my deadlines off, I've mostly been at work or trying desperately to tidy my room without getting distracted by something and giving up (I finally succeeded yesterday). However, I realise I'll be going home soon, and by that I mean my real home back in Bournemouth. I'm leaving on the 24th May, and only have a few free days left to wander the cobbled streets around the Radcliffe Camera or spend hours getting lost in the Ashmolean.

Ironically, I was going to make you all a bucket list of things to do in Oxford before you leave (easier for Freshers), but I ran out of time and barely scratched the list I made with my housemates. So instead, the nostalgic wannabe hipster I am has decided to write you a brief list of the places I think I will miss most.

1. South Park When There's The Slightest Glimmer of Sunshine

South Park is essentially a giant field occasionally used for events like Tough Mudder or Common People, but it's also one of the most chilled out places you could possibly be in the Summer. I haven't had the time this semester to kick my shoes off and eat junk food like I did in the first two years (see photo for proof of frivolity and carefree-ness), but living so close was easily one of my favourite things about second year. Coming down to South Park with your friends and a frisbee or some drinks in the evening is just bliss - and if you catch a sunset over the skyline, you're really in for a treat.

2. The Second Year House I Fell in Love With

I don't know what it is, but I just adored this house. It wasn't super modern and fancy, or even that clean (plus we lost some of our deposit because we didn't mow the lawn..), but it was just great. It felt like it was really our place, me and my three housemates at the time. We turned the lounge into a study room by moving the kitchen table in there, or pushed the sofas together and added quilts and pillows until we were content with our fort. I also loved my room (I got lucky and had the biggest room), but had just as much fun walking with my friends to South Park, or discovering shortcuts, or just blasting out hit music as loud as we could. I love you, house.

3. The Little Shop on High Street Called Whittard

I first started working at Whittard in Oxford the day after Halloween in my first year at Brookes. I left at the end of that year, but returned in third year. Whittard has been my favourite job, and it's largely because I met my second biggest group of Oxford friends (first being housemates) who always made me feel welcome, and like part of the family. My head is now full to the brim with tea facts that probably won't be useful in adult life, but they're fun for me. I loved going there, just once a week, and I'll definitely be returning there on my visits to Oxford in the future.

4. The Vintage Shop on the Roundabout Where I Had An Idea

A weirdly cryptic one, I know, but in second year, I was on the U1 from campus into town and I had an idea as we went round the road. I remember because I remember texting someone about this idea half way round. It wasn't just a 'I need to remember to buy tights' sort of thing, more a concept and title for my collaborative feminist website that is now over a year old and has a host of writers and views. For some reason, every time I go this way, I remember.

What places will you miss, or what's on your bucket list?


#helloBrookes 2017 - Earn while you learn

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91.9% of Oxford Brookes graduates are in employment or further study 6 months after graduating.

(HESA Destination of Leavers 2017)


It probably has something to do with the fact that employers rate work experience as “the most important factor” in recruiting staff, and that at Oxford Brookes we have a network of high-quality employers who offer paid work placements that you can complete as part of your course.

(via Giphy)

Placements provide brilliant hands-on experience of the working world and give you the chance to build essential skills employers are looking for. In a crowded job market, Oxford Brookes can help you stand out.

(via Giphy)

'Taking a placement year was the best choice I made...Now I don’t have to worry about not having employable skills when I graduate'
Carine Gashugi, Economics, Politics and Internation Relations - spent a placement year with Pamoja Education

'One of the key strengths of my course was how it combined quality and supportive teaching with placements...The placements were invaluable, giving me the chance to apply the skills I was learning in a real-world setting.'
Adrian Knight, foundation degree in Paramedic Emergency Care - completed placements with the South Central Ambulance Service

'This opportunity came up through Brookes and I took it. It paid off because now I'm working in my dream job.'
Dan Bond, Sport and Exercise Science - completed an internship with Oxford United, and now works as their first team's sport scientist

Order a prospectus to find out more about work placements at Oxford Brookes. You can also browse our courses online to see which ones offer a work placement option.

This blog post was written by a member of staff rather than a student - browse all our blogs to get the student perspective on life at Brookes!


#helloBrookes 2017 - Make your vocation a vacation

09:24 Unknown 0 Comments

You can travel the world with Oxford Brookes. By taking the opportunity to explore new places by working and studying abroad for one or two semesters, you'll create memories to last a lifetime and shape the graduate you will become.

Where will your course take you?

We have over 100 partner universities. Do you fancy Argentina, Vietnam, or Mexico? Canada, the U.S or New Zealand perhaps? Thailand? Uruguay? How about somewhere in Europe?
(via Giphy)

'I took on the challenge of an entirely new learning environment. I got recognised for my ideas and skills - as well as developing new ones I never knew existed!'
Lola Leach, International Hospitality and Tourism Management - worked at Nita Lake Lodge in Whistler, Canada for a year and then studied at Curtin University in Perth, Australia for five months.

'The exchange has given me opportunities to exhibit and publish internationally in a way that would have been impossible...I definitely gained a lot of self-confidence and proactivity.'
Emma Mayoux-Andrews, Fine Art - studied at Vilnius Academy of Fine Art, Lithuania for a year.

'All in all, going on exchange has changed my life in every possible way.'
Elena Saldana Quintans, International Business Management - studied at Mahidol University in Thailand and Macquaire University in Australia.

Order a prospectus to find out more about studying abroad with Oxford Brookes.

This blog post was written by a member of staff rather than a student - browse all our blogs to get the student perspective on life at Brookes!



13:20 Unknown 0 Comments

Guest blogger and Brookes Sport Ambassador Madeleine Ralph talks about what playing netball means to her.

Netball is the most popular team sport among women, and although it has its origins in basketball, the game we know today is one with its own unique rules and skills. I have taught girls as young as six who are just learning the basics of passing and footwork, and have played alongside women in their fifties who may be rusty, but demonstrate with ease the skills they learnt back in school. Netball is clearly a game for all ages and abilities, both socially and competitively.

I have been playing netball since I was about eight years old, and thirteen years later I’m still learning new things about the game and am always excited to be on the court at every training session and match. It is something in my life which has been a constant, so when I came to university and was fortunate enough to be selected for the squad, what can sometimes be a rollercoaster of a first year seemed to have some normality and stability. Having training sessions in the evening and matches during the day made the whole change to university life a little easier.

We all know that physical activity is key to a balanced healthy lifestyle; however, how we get that activity completely depends on what an individual finds fun and engaging. It’s also important to consider the long term benefits that a team sport like netball can have.

I’ve played netball in multiple environments, and although each has the excitement and enjoyment of the game itself, it has also given me the opportunity to play with so many talented, driven and fun women. From school friends, to university students, to mums who take an hour to train each week and then play a game on a Monday evening. Playing netball has allowed me to meet and learn from so many people.

With such a wide variety of skills to be learnt, training is never boring. You may, inevitably, repeat drills, but with each practice there is a new challenge and improvements to be made - even at a high level. The different positions allow for versatility, something I consider to be one of the most valuable skills to have as a player.

Despite netball being a non-contact sport, I’ve yet to play a season where someone on my team doesn’t get injured, therefore the team needs to be shuffled and players need to feel confident enough in their skill level to move, for example, from a shooter to a defender if needs be.

With netball being a predominantly female sport, the participation of males is mainly at a junior level. The sport offers a space for girls and women to develop their skills and knowledge that can then translate to their everyday lives, while also helping to change the perception of a women’s capabilities.

To me, netball is important in showcasing confident and strong leaders on and off the court, as well as in its ability to challenge the cultural norms that prevent gender equality. Through coaching, umpiring, training, league organisation and club governance, netball offers leadership and decision making opportunities for girls and women which, in some areas of life, are sadly still not possible.

Netball, like other team sports, teaches so much more than just drills and tactics: you learn important, valuable skills that you can take with you into the wider world; you learn how to problem-solve quickly and more effectively and how to deal with hardship through defeats or injuries; you learn how to push yourself and remain motivated when things might not look positive. Not to mention the obvious teamwork, which is one of the most sought-after skills in the workplace. The ability to work coherently within a team, yet also know when to lead, is a vital life skill which can translate to so many aspects of life.

Although it is improving, there is not enough funding in netball meaning that even elite England players are still working full time jobs while completing a training regime. This carries on through to local levels, where league coordinators and club managers are putting in the time and effort to keep people playing netball past school and therefore keeping women active and social. Everyone is doing it for the love of the game.

It would be cliche to say I play netball purely because I love it. I do, but there is more to it than that. I play because I feel confident on the court. I am by no means the best player there is, nor do I think I know all there is to know about netball, but I know when I step on the court with my teammates that we have complete and utter trust in each other.

We have the belief in each other to support, give options and get the ball to goal as swiftly as possible and do it all over again until we’ve won. There is no judgement, it’s comforting to know that after having played for 45 minutes and you’re red and sweaty no one really cares - in fact if you aren’t sweating buckets you haven’t tried hard enough!

In school, I was on the netball team with one of my best friends for 8 years, and now while at different unis a topic of conversation every week during our FaceTimes is always netball. How the league is going, her reoccurring injury which she obtained in year 6, any funny moments which happened at training or the fancy dress for that Wednesday night out. There is more to the friendship than that, obviously, but netball is so important to both of us that is has made us closer.



13:20 Unknown 9 Comments

Guest blogger and Brookes Sport Ambassador Brodie Holmes talks about her passion for Olympic lifting and how it's changed her life.

I have been into sport and loved it ever since I first started rowing in 2010. Since then, sport and exercise have been a huge part of my life. University challenges meant that I did not have the time to row as training 8 times a week is extremely time-consuming and very tiring. Eventually I decided it was best to take a break from it. This led me into the gym.

I first started with a bodybuilding style of training during my first year of university, both at Brookes Sport as well as at home. During the summer last year, a coach at home approached me from Charnwood Barbell and suggested I try Olympic Weightlifting. Since then, improving my lifts has become an obsession and it has changed who I am.

For me, bodybuilding wasn’t right due to a long history of body image difficulties and issues. For years I have struggled with how I look and always wanting to look “the best” or look like somebody else. I am overcoming an eating disorder for which I have been in recovery for over a year now. Bodybuilding is extremely focused on personal appearance, which meant my mentality was not improving from my struggles over the proceeding few years.

Olympic Weightlifting on the other hand, has a focus on technique, strength and mobility, which has eventually, after only 6 months, started to shift my mental focus away from my body and how I look to getting stronger and better at what I am doing. I do this by focusing on my goals for my weightlifting programme.

I am working on a 10 week programme with set weights with the aim of achieving personal bests by the end of the 10 week period. The weights set in the programme depend on what I manage to lift during a test week prior to starting a new plan. It’s hard. The psychological effort and confidence you need to get underneath the bar is huge. It takes a lot out of you and requires a high level of positive thinking and trust in yourself to get the bar from A to B.

The determination hits you and you just want to push yourself to lift the best you can. When I say to somebody I am tired or feeling a little down and heading to the gym, they ask: “Why? If you are tired, why not just stay in?” The gym helps, it makes me feel less stressed, more relaxed and it helps me deal with difficult situations by allowing me to forget about everything else and focus on my lifts and my goals for that session.

It helps to boost my confidence, both in the gym as well as outside of it. The confidence developed when you lift transfers into everyday life. You need to believe in yourself to succeed and that’s what I have started to do. In order to succeed, I also need to fail. I have bad sessions and poor lifts, but all of this makes me learn, retry and succeed to be what I am today. I will keep failing and succeeding over and over to help me improve. Nobody can have a perfect session every day, no matter what your sport may be. Bad sessions happen but it’s what you do to make it better and how you learn from it that helps you progress, succeed and move on.

I love using Brookes Sport when I am at university as it is well equipped, has a friendly environment and support from others around you along with having lots to offer. When I went back to Brookes Sport after the summer training at home, and having just taken up Olympic Lifting, I found it difficult having got used to working with a thinner 15kg Olympic bar, while Brookes Sport only had traditional 20kg bars. I decided to put in a suggestion form and shortly after I received an email saying that they were looking into this for me. Now they have invested in not just one, but two women’s bars as well as my other suggestion of smaller weight plates for the bar including 1kg, 1.5kg and 2kg!

Through Brookes Sport, I have met some amazing people who have supported me with my training as well as becoming friends with them away from the gym! One of the main group of friends I have met are the MASS (Muscle & Athletic Sports Society) groups, especially the MASS ladies. We train together and meet up outside of the gym.

Aside from this, there is always somebody willing to help you in the gym whether you know them or not. Whether it’s to take some weights and put them back, to spot you on your squats, check your form, or help your with technique. You don’t see many Olympic lifters in the gym, but that doesn’t stop me feeling welcome. No matter what you do in the gym you have endless support and equipment provided to allow you to achieve.

Not only has the gym helped me to lifter heavier and get stronger, it has also made me a stronger person and individual. The gym has helped me overcome personal difficulties that I once believed I would never overcome. I can’t imagine what I would do without it.



20:57 Unknown 0 Comments

One thing I will miss about UK is its immense green, blue skies and fresh air. It's the world I immerse myself in to think of nothing.

After my final presentation, my friends and I dashed to Port Meadow for some serious nature-bathing. The scenery is picturesque and air is fresh.

Literally living the 'sound of music' moment 😍

Alice in wonderland vibe
Shotover Country Park is another zen world to immerse yourself in. It's full of surprises - small rabbit-like paths, large flat fields of daffodils, muddy terrains, exclusive forest of bluebells, etc.

Broad paths
Get lost in the green. (Photo credits:Woodland Trust)
Cycle to Harcourt Arboretum to soak in the amazeballs bluebells and colorful flowers. It's free for students!

Bluebells galore

Oxford is surrounded by the picturesque Cotswolds. Burford is a charming medieval town, easily reachable by a bus from Oxford city centre. Take a long walk through the Windrush Valley to discover points of no return.

Image result for burford
Walk the steep pavement in Burford (Photo credit : Experience Oxford)
Or head further to Castle Coombe to soak in the beauty of the cottages. And a little bit further to the unforgettable poppy fields near Stonehenge.

So pretty! (Photo credit: Cotswolds Adventure)
There you go, so much green to feast your eyes after all that strenuous computer work.

Meanwhile, the architecture school is busy preparing for the End-of-year exhibition.
Save the date!

27th May - 5th June @ Abercrombie


GUEST BLOG: Surviving Deadline Season

15:25 Unknown 1 Comments

Hello! So, this is my last guest blog here at Brookes Blogs so I thought I would write five tips I have for surviving the horror that is deadline season.

1. Avoid the Library

Unless you’re an early bird the likelihood is that like me you’ll stroll into university around 11/12 o’clock ready to start cracking on with your essays, or procrastinate from the comfort of the library. The problem is however that you’ll find that there isn’t a single seat, sofa, computer or corner to work in. Instead, I probably spend a good twenty minutes walking around all 5 floors of the library, and the forum, in the hope that “maybe this time” I’ll be lucky. Alas, the result is always the same.

Personally, I can’t work from home. The lure of the fridge and Netflix will always be stronger than my willpower. Instead, I’ve found that working in coffee shops with my flatmates can be a good place to study if you can work from your laptop. Alternately, trying to find some empty classrooms on Headington campus is essentially the same as working from the library. Gibbs if often pretty empty with many courses finishing teaching, so the opportunity to work in the computer rooms and still be able to quickly walk to the library is what I find most effective.

2. Caffeine, caffeine, caffeine.

Cut me, and I will bleed tea.  For all of you night owls out there, or like me you’ve enjoyed your Easter break a little too much and had to make up for it with a long stint in the library, here is a tip for you.  Café Central closes at 8pm, at which point, you have an extra 3 hours to get your caffeine boost from the Union Bar who also sell hot drinks.

Bring your own tea bags, or a little jar of instant coffee. A large hot water on campus will cost you 50p, compared with over £2 for a tea. I need a hot drink to keep me going throughout my essays, especially if I need to be up late doing them, so you’re covered until late on campus.

3. Plan out your time

There’s nothing worse than sitting down knowing you have two essays to write, one research design, one portfolio to produce, three posts to write, and two reports. Oh, and your friend had basically finished everything in week nine. Instead, concentrate on one thing at a time. If I tried to juggle all of those things at once, I’d be a mess. After living in the JHB for the entirety of my first semester and getting very little sleep, I’ve decided this semester I’m going to write one thing at a time. I’m still a giant ball of stress, but I feel much more focused this time around.

It’s time to bring out the colouring pens and make yourself a fancy to-do list, complete in deadline order, so you can actually prioritise properly instead of just leaving the hardest tasks until the end!

4. "Treat Yoself" – Tom Haverford, Parks and Rec.

Go out for a meal, buy a new top, take a day off, buy yourself a nice desert for a change. When every day is ‘Read, Write, Sleep, Repeat’ I tend to go a little stir crazy. Mix things up a little bit and break the cycle, especially if your revising or living in the library.

5. Bring a friend

Sure, they can be distracting at times. But I find it a lot easier to study with someone else rather than just being left to my own devices, when I will just pack up and go home when I get bored. Seeing other people working encourages me to get my head down, and then they make your breaks a lot more fun.

This is a really stressful time of year for everyone so drag someone along who’s going to make you laugh, because after nine hours in the library, you’re going to need it!

That’s all from me here at Brookes Blogs, feel free to comment below and remember – “The end is near, Summer’s nearly here!”


Mia The Brookes Blogger - Placement Story International Hospitality Management

13:11 Unknown 14 Comments

Dear All,

Couple of posts ago I promised to tell you all about my placement year. Sorry for the delay, but you have to understand that Spring in Oxford is so beautiful that I have completely lost my mind and am head over heels in love with it (take a look at my previous video blogs if you haven't seen them yet).

So... let me tell you about my placement year. As you all now by now I am studying International Hospitality Management, the subject I am very passionate about :). After the incredible first year of my studies I had to find a place to work, as it is compulsory for our course to have one year of work experience right after the first year of the degree. For some it might sound too soon at first, but believe me it was one of the greatest things that has happened to me so far.

Why was it so incredible you ask?

Well ... in 6 words : It Changed The Way I Think

How you ask?

Well ... in 5 words : It Made Me More Responsible

How exactly you ask ?

Let me begin my story by telling you that before I left Brookes at one of our last lectures we were asked to write on the paper what our goals were for the year ahead. I knew I had to challenge myself so one of the goals I wrote was : 
⭐To Become An Associate Of The Month⭐
However, during my first day at the Marriott Park Lane Hotel I realised that my goal was too ambitious. How was I going to get this award if I was terrified of the phone conversations and my job title was At Your Service Agent (AYS)  (briefly: switchboard operator - main connecting link responsible for faultless communication within the five departments of the hotel, telephone problem solver of the internal and external guests)? 

Here's how it all started:
June 1st 2015 – First day
  • Realising that the only previous experience I have is in Food and Beverage.
  • Not knowing how any of the hotel systems work properly.
  • Having a slight fear of phone conversations.
  • Not knowing how exactly I am going to gain trust and respect from all of my colleagues who have so much experience.
  • Then I asked myself again?

Then I wrote my goals again: 
  • Become proficient in the job role  (switchboard operator).
  • Learn as much as possible about OPERA, MARSHA and Guestware.
  • Earn respect from as many of my colleagues as possible / build a good reputation.
  • Stay always positive and learn how to manage stressful situations without panic.
  • Exceed customer expectations.
  • Try to learn as much as possible about other hotel departments and cross-train.
  • Strive to become an associate of the month (yes, I did not give up on this goal).

The mistakes I have made along the way:

  • 1 Missed wake up call.
  •  Several missed room service orders.
  •  Different examples of miscommunication between guests and associates. 

All of these mistakes mentioned above made me question whether it was at all possible to finish that year on a successful note. 

But then I realised ... 

After I realised that, and have focused on absorbing all the knowledge and wisdom that the amazing Park Lane Team was sharing with me ...

I became much better at my job and have achieved:
June 1st 2016 – Last Day
  • I now have clear understanding of how hotel operations work.
  • I have  gained a lot of experience and have become more knowledgeable in such hotel systems as  OPERA, Guestware, Micros.
  • I have significantly improved my multitasking and organisational skills. I have overcome my fear of telephone conversations and became fluent and natural when talking to people over the phone.
  • I have used every opportunity to cross-train and joined Front Desk, Guest Relations and Housekeeping departments for training.
  • I have exceeded many customers expectations and as a result received emails, calls and Marriott verified guest reviews.
  • I have gained respect from the Marriott Park Lane Team members and as a result  became an associate of the month.
And Yes, this happened too (just right after when I thought it would never happen, couple of months after the first half of the year)

To sum it up, 

Why was it so incredible you ask?

Well ... in 6 words : It Changed The Way I Think

How you ask?

Well ... in 5 words : It Made Me More Responsible

P.S. Another important event that has inspired me to keep going that year was this:

As somebody who had never run before (let alone half marathon) I, together with my Front of House Manager from the Marriott Park Lane, ran that half marathon shown on the picture above. I could not believe it. It proved me that anything is possible in the beginning of the great year long journey called 'Placement Year at the Marriott Hotel Park Lane'.


GUEST BLOG: A Day in the Life

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Hi guys! I’m Poppy, doing my second guest blog here. As a history student here at Brookes no one day is the same. This semester I have six hours of contact time (made up of three lectures and two seminars), opposed to the more typical eight hours because I’m taking a placement module. On top of this I have irregular working weeks and the amount of time I end up huddled in the library depends on the closeness to my deadlines.

With that in mind, here’s my ‘a day in the life’.

Normally I’d have to be up two hours before my lecture to make sure I’m up, ready, and give myself enough time to walk up the hill to university. However, last night I stayed at my partner’s flat on campus, which was a lifesaver as it meant I gloriously got a whole extra hour in bed and didn’t have to leave the flat until 9:45. It really is the dream.

I started the day with my 10am lecture, and a much needed cup of tea. This lecture was on the Spanish Civil War as part of my module on the inter-war period of 1914-1917. On my programme, we tend to have huge topics as our modules, such as ‘Crisis of the West’. This is then broken down every week to study a single event, person, or idea.

My two hour lecture finishes at 12, by then I’m starving hungry and longing to be in the sunshine which has been hiding from England for what feels like 50 years. Of course its first outing is while I’m stuck inside for two hours.

I took the short walk from my lecture theatre to the sports bar and enjoyed a milkshake and a bacon sarnie (weird combination, I know, but it was good I promise). A few hours of bliss before I need to get back to the grind.

My excursion in the sunshine is cut short by the reminder that I needed to start researching for my next essay, do the reading my lecture uploaded for the next lecture, oh…and write this blog! Inevitably I’m writing this instead, as it’s by far the most enjoyable activity out of my three options. After searching the library for a seat and assembling a small tower of books I’m finally settled down to begin my work for the day.

The majority of my course is spent doing ‘independent study’, which is university speak for hiding in the library. What tends to happen on my course is that lecturers upload the reading they’d like us to do as prep to our website ‘moodle’. After I do that, there might be some small tasks or larger assignments we need to do.

Home time. After spending an unusually long time at university for me I walk for about half an hour until I reach my little flat off Cowley Road, which is considered the students’ city centre here in Oxford. It’s a long busy street crammed full of pubs, independent cafes, shops and murals on the walls. I’m going to quickly make myself some dinner and get ready to head into the city.

Tonight I attended the history societies social. Societies are a great opportunity to mix with people outside of your lectures and meet new people. Naturally, as I addressed in my previous blog post, I’m a 90 year old woman living in a 20 year old’s body. Because of this, I elect out of following the society to the club after a few quiet drinks in a cocktail bar and head home for an early-ish night.

Thank you all for reading, feel free to leave any questions or comments below and I’ll see you next month!