Oxford Brookes University
The opportunity to join Across the Pond seemed to fall in my lap when I graduated my masters. But it's also provided the perfect opportunity for me to utilise work skills that I'd developped in the past. Having worked in restaurants and pubs during my teens and undergrad years, I wasn't afraid of occasional long hours, was accustomed to working weekends and ultimately highly valued the opportunity to work a flexible schedule otherwise. From my customer service experience, I also knew that I would have no problem attending student fairs and talking to students or other university representatives. On the other hand, I also knew from experience that as an introvert, those type of interactions could be draining for me so the option to work remotely the rest of the time seemed like the perfect compromise.
After completing my undergraduate degree, I knew I wanted to pursue further education but my degree in Health Sciences had opened up many different pathways and I wasn’t sure which I wanted to take. I’d spent a few summers in the UK staying with family so I was also intrigued by the option to study in the UK. I eventually settled on wanting to study the history of medicine and started looking for master’s programs. I took a year off to work and took some additional courses in history and during this time I got in touch with Across the Pond to see if there were any programs in such a niche subject area in the UK. I certainly hadn’t found any programs that specialized in Canada. My advisor at Across the Pond, sent me a list of programs at universities in the UK and then helped me with my applications to the ones I thought would be the best fit. The more I researched (academics, location, facilities, faculty) Oxford Brookes started to really stand out as my top choice so I was thrilled to receive an offer. I absolutely being a part of the history department at Oxford Brookes and learned so much through my course. And of course, Oxford. Nothing beats living in Oxford, studying in the Bodleian Library (a bucket list goal of mine), paddling on the rivers and canals (yes I brought my paddleboard with me), and setting up in a pub to do some reading in the afternoon (I had a souvenir copy of a “Drink Map” of Victorian Oxford which I used to check out the many historic pubs around the city).
I began working with Across the Pond immediately after finishing my degree (and backpacking in Europe for a few weeks). It started out as a part-time position that would ensure I had employment as soon as I moved back to Canada and also held the promise of travel across Canada to attend various student events. After my first season travelling the fair circuit in Canada (visiting provinces I’d never been to) and meeting the rest of the Across the Pond team in Canada, I know I wanted to continue to work in international education. I applied for an advising position was welcome into the advising team. The Across the Pond environment works perfectly for me as the remote work has allowed me to settle on a farm outside a small town in Canada and not worry about commuting or needing to move to a major city to find job opportunities. Beyond that, as part of a small company, I’ve made great friends among colleagues and have always felt supported and welcome. I still get to travel in Canada to meet with students and to the UK to learn more about our university partners. This continued connection with the UK is my favourite part about working at Across the Pond.
I think the UK education system has so much to offer Canadian students. With many more universities than there are in Canada, the UK provides the opportunity to pursue niche or more specialized programs. There are universities all across the UK from major cities like London or Glasgow to smaller ones like Brighton or Aberystwyth. This means you can really tailor your education to your own preferences and find the perfect university for you. The UK education system maintains small course sizes and uses a tutorial system which means you really get to know your peers and professors and feel part of an academic community. Studying in the UK also provides a wonderful home base to travel during your studies. The public transit links throughout the UK (not just London) mean travel within the UK is far easier and cheaper than many Canadians could imagine (this is no Via Rail). And the travel doesn’t stop there, connections to main land Europe are right at the doorstep with cheap flights that mean a “weekend in Paris” is a completely reasonable thing. Personally, I travelled within the UK for the most part during my studies and after turning in my master’s dissertation I spent 3 weeks backpacking in Europe and it was incredible. The one thing I always emphasize when speaking with students getting ready to move to the UK is to remember to use those UK travel links really “see” the UK in its entirety.
Pub quizzes and pub culture, Bodleian Library, Oxford, museums (science and medical museums galore), camping, hill walking, travel, West End theatre, surfing and paddling