#helloBrookes 2017 - Earn while you learn

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.

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

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!


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.


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.


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

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

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'.