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    My insurance choice is Brookes for Japanese studies and anthropology but I've heard bad things about the university, that lectures are bad and accommodation is far away from the uni and that no one really participates in societies. I really want to join societies to make friends so I'm worried.

    I haven't read anything positive about the uni and I'm worried that if I get in I'm going to hate it. Also is it difficult being a student in Oxford where it's very expensive?
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    (Original post by fionnghualah)
    My insurance choice is Brookes for Japanese studies and anthropology but I've heard bad things about the university, that lectures are bad and accommodation is far away from the uni and that no one really participates in societies. I really want to join societies to make friends so I'm worried.

    I haven't read anything positive about the uni and I'm worried that if I get in I'm going to hate it. Also is it difficult being a student in Oxford where it's very expensive?
    Hi fionnghualah

    Thanks for getting in touch - it's great you've made Oxford Brookes your insurance choice! I just thought I'd reassure you about some of your concerns, and hopefully show you that Oxford Brookes is a great place to be!

    Lectures - your subjects are taught by experts in their field, and more often than not what you learn is based around the lecturer's own research (particularly in anthropology), so you know they're passionate about the subject. In Japanese Studies, you get language classes from native speakers so you know that you're getting the best! Obviously you might come across a lecture that you just don't like for whatever reason, but lectures are only a small part of the Oxford Brookes learning experience. You'll have seminars, tutorials, practical classes, group work and probably field trips, so if there are a couple of hours a week you don't enjoy, they'll seem like nothing!

    Accommodation - with your subjects, you'll be based at Headington Campus, which has 3 main halls right next to it - Cheney Student Village, Clive Booth (en suite and non en suite), and Warneford Hall. Even if you don't get a place in one of these, all the other accommodation best suited for studying at Headington is less than 2 miles away. All our accommodation is linked to the campuses and the town centre by the BROOKESbus service, so getting around is really easy! Have a look at this breakdown of accommodation options, which includes location info.

    Societies - I'm sure that depends on the society! As you've not said what you'd be interested in, I can't be too specific - but I can tell you that the Anthropology Society went punting and had a picnic to celebrate the end of the semester just 2 weeks ago, and were out for drinks the week before that! In Fresher's Week you'll have the chance to browse and join societies, and meet the people running them so you can get a really good idea of what's going on. Remember, everyone starting uni is in the exact same position and looking to do the exact same thing, so there'll be loads of people joining in!

    Living costs - there's no denying that Oxford is an expensive city, but bear in mind it's also a student city. With 30,000 students (almost a quarter of the population!), it's a city made for student living on any budget. There are student discounts at loads of shops and restaurants, cheap and free entry for some club nights, budget supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl that are great for a stock-up shop and loads of free things to do in the city. You can also get a free BROOKESbus pass if you stay in university accommodation, so getting around is mostly free. If you fancy part time work, Oxford is full of opportunities, particularly for seasonal work, plus you could even get a job at the university. Essentially, if you're sensible with your money and keep an eye out for good deals, you'll be fine! Have a look at this breakdown of living costs, and don't forget that the Brookes Union Advice Service can help you with financial info.

    Bit of an essay there! I hope this is helpful and reassures you that if you come to Brookes there's nothing to worry about Give me a shout if you have any more questions!

    Alice
    Oxford Brookes University
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    I have made Oxford Brookes my insurance too, although I have absolutely no intention of going there and kind of regret putting it as my insurance. I dont know if you've had the same issues with me in regards to accommodation - but my experience has been TERRIBLE. I tried three times before it eventually worked and it was so complicated with limited guidance and maps, just putting me off the uni even more.
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    (Original post by shuutupcharli)
    I have made Oxford Brookes my insurance too, although I have absolutely no intention of going there and kind of regret putting it as my insurance. I dont know if you've had the same issues with me in regards to accommodation - but my experience has been TERRIBLE. I tried three times before it eventually worked and it was so complicated with limited guidance and maps, just putting me off the uni even more.
    Hiya

    I’m sorry to hear you’ve had difficulties accessing our accommodation system. We take complaints of this nature very seriously, as we aim to deliver a hassle free application process, so thank you for letting us know!

    I’ve passed on your feedback to the Accommodation Team, and they have advised that although limited information can be found on the application portal as it used only for applying, you can find everything you need to know about our halls on this page, which breaks down all the information about each hall. This page also has useful links about how to apply and other accommodation information. They have also asked me to let you know that if you’ve experienced problems accessing the accommodation portal, you can contact them by email ([email protected]) or phone (+44 (0) 1865484660) any time - please do get in touch and describe the problems you had if you want to, and they can make sure there aren’t any system issues that need addressing.

    As Brookes is your insurance choice, you have until 29th August to finalise your application, so you have plenty of time to contact the Accommodation Team and iron anything out if you need to.

    Thanks for getting in touch about this, and if you have any questions please do let me know!

    Alice
    Oxford Brookes University
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    (Original post by Oxford Brookes University)
    Hi fionnghualah

    Thanks for getting in touch - it's great you've made Oxford Brookes your insurance choice! I just thought I'd reassure you about some of your concerns, and hopefully show you that Oxford Brookes is a great place to be!

    Lectures - your subjects are taught by experts in their field, and more often than not what you learn is based around the lecturer's own research (particularly in anthropology), so you know they're passionate about the subject. In Japanese Studies, you get language classes from native speakers so you know that you're getting the best! Obviously you might come across a lecture that you just don't like for whatever reason, but lectures are only a small part of the Oxford Brookes learning experience. You'll have seminars, tutorials, practical classes, group work and probably field trips, so if there are a couple of hours a week you don't enjoy, they'll seem like nothing!

    Accommodation - with your subjects, you'll be based at Headington Campus, which has 3 main halls right next to it - Cheney Student Village, Clive Booth (en suite and non en suite), and Warneford Hall. Even if you don't get a place in one of these, all the other accommodation best suited for studying at Headington is less than 2 miles away. All our accommodation is linked to the campuses and the town centre by the BROOKESbus service, so getting around is really easy! Have a look at this breakdown of accommodation options, which includes location info.

    Societies - I'm sure that depends on the society! As you've not said what you'd be interested in, I can't be too specific - but I can tell you that the Anthropology Society went punting and had a picnic to celebrate the end of the semester just 2 weeks ago, and were out for drinks the week before that! In Fresher's Week you'll have the chance to browse and join societies, and meet the people running them so you can get a really good idea of what's going on. Remember, everyone starting uni is in the exact same position and looking to do the exact same thing, so there'll be loads of people joining in!

    Living costs - there's no denying that Oxford is an expensive city, but bear in mind it's also a student city. With 30,000 students (almost a quarter of the population!), it's a city made for student living on any budget. There are student discounts at loads of shops and restaurants, cheap and free entry for some club nights, budget supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl that are great for a stock-up shop and loads of free things to do in the city. You can also get a free BROOKESbus pass if you stay in university accommodation, so getting around is mostly free. If you fancy part time work, Oxford is full of opportunities, particularly for seasonal work, plus you could even get a job at the university. Essentially, if you're sensible with your money and keep an eye out for good deals, you'll be fine! Have a look at this breakdown of living costs, and don't forget that the Brookes Union Advice Service can help you with financial info.

    Bit of an essay there! I hope this is helpful and reassures you that if you come to Brookes there's nothing to worry about Give me a shout if you have any more questions!

    Alice
    Oxford Brookes University
    I haven't received an email yet to tell me to apply for accommodation. When should I expect it?
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    I have a friend who did his masters there, and is currently doing his PhD at Exeter; he loved it there (he thought it was much better than Exeter is). While night life may not be as extensive as a major metropolitan zone like London or similar, it has many other qualities besides.

    In terms of academics it's really at the higher end of the mid tier/non-RG universities, so I'm not sure where this "bad" concept comes from, other than TSRs insatiable obsession with the RG. While this varies among subjects, the social sciences I understand quite well reputed in particular.
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    (Original post by fionnghualah)
    I haven't received an email yet to tell me to apply for accommodation. When should I expect it?
    Hiya

    I've asked the Accommodation Team, and they've let me know that it's already gone out, but some email address types may have sent it to spam/junk folders (which can delete them after a short time). If it's gone from your spam folder, you can email them ([email protected]) with your full name and date of birth, and they'll make sure you have everything you need

    You still have plenty of time to apply as we're your insurance choice - the deadline for insurance applicants is 29th August.

    Let me know if you need any more help!

    Alice
    Oxford Brookes University
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    Hi there,

    I am a bit surprised to hear some of the concerns you've raised. I have just finished my second year doing Biomedical Science at Brookes, so I could tell you a little bit about my experience. I initially moved here from Romania, completely alone, having no family or friends in the UK. During the first induction week at Brookes, as a fresher, there are numerous oportunities to meet people, from campus tours to student night quizzes - some of the people I met on those are still my close friends.

    Let me tackle this in the order of the points you've made:

    Lectures are bad
    From my course experience, it could not be further from the truth. Lecture slides are uploaded onto the university portal (called Moodle - you may encounter it at other universities you end up in) before the day of the lecture, so you can always check them to have an idea of what is going to be taught. Before teaching begins, you will have access to what is called a 'module handbook' for all your courses, where you will see an outline and description of the course contents, coursework and exam details, and semester timings for lectures and assessments, which is a tremendously useful tool to plan out your revision.

    Come exam time, many students are struggling with exam stress and revision planning, but we have workshops in place to help get over that and manage stress accordingly. There is also a service in the university called Upgrade, which can, among others, check your essay for mistakes, advise on correct referencing, provide revision tools and help you out with any query on assignment formatting. Of course, there is always your academic advisor (a lecturer from your course who is in charge of a group of 8-9 students) whom you can always contact, should you have any questions. If you don't like or get along with your academic advisor for any reason, you can always go on your personal internet page (called PIP) and request a change, without needing to explain or see them face to face.

    If you are not happy with any of the course or teaching elements, you are encouraged to go to a student representative on your course - or become one yourself! Student representatives gather feedback from other students on the course and bring it forward in faculty meetings, where all the other faculty module leaders and lecturers are present, with the purpose of enhancing student experience. As an example, I am a student rep for Biomedical Science, and in the past I have mentioned in faculty meetings how the library didn't have enough of certain textbooks and how a module didn't offer detailed assessment feedback for a multiple choice test. In response, the library ordered more copies of the textbooks and obtained an e-version (which can be accessed for free by all Brookes students), and the lecturers organised an additional feedback session for the test to address student concerns.

    Particularly related to your course, I have met a Japanese Studies lecturer during a student conduct meeting I attended as a student rep panel member, Alex, and he was incredibly nice - although I don't study Japanese, I do have an interest in it and know basic Hiragana, and when I told him that, he suggested additional sources to brush up on my Japanese and offered to answer any questions I may have in the future. Haven't taken him up on that offer yet, as I haven't had time due to working on my dissertation project experiments, but thinkting of dropping him an email when it's all done!

    I also have two friends doing Japanese Studies, one in his first and the other in his second year; I met both of them while part of the Dance Society (but more on societies later). They are overall pleased with teaching (obviously, there'll always be some lecturers that are better liked than others), and they are both doing a year abroad starting September in Tokyo universities. Brookes has excellent industry and foreign links, so if that's something you'd be interested in, they could help you go on a year abroad, provided you meet the grade requirements (usually a 2:1 in all your modules is what is required).

    Accommodation is far away from the uni
    This depends on which campus you are based at. As mentioned in the post above, there are 3 main campuses: Headington, Wheatley and Harcourt (there is one in Marston as well, but that is mostly for health and life sciences students). It is likely you will be based in Headington, but even if you weren't and you needed to get to the other campuses, you could hop on a Brookes Bus and get there free of charge - as an Oxford Brookes student, you get a bus pass that allows you to go free on the Brookes buses and at discounted rates on most others. Also, there are good bike routes in Oxford, so I really wouldn't worry about getting from one place to another. Worst case scenario you would be looking at either 20-30 minutes bus commute, or 15-20 minutes walk from one place to another. I currently live 5 minutes away from the Headington campus in a uni rented house.

    It's true there are issues, and accommodation isn't necessarily Brookes' strongest point - I had to privately rent during my first year as well, luckily I was only 10 minutes away. However, they can be helpful when it comes to finding a place or helping you sort out housemate issues - and should that fail, there is always the Student Union, which gives you renting advice and warns you what to look out for if going privately.

    Generally, finances can pose a bit of a problem in a city like Oxford for a student, but job opportunities are everywhere. You will always see ads for part time jobs in the main John Henry Brookes building on headington campus, and there will be two part time job fairs where you can drop in your CV to potential employers. You can also work as a student guider (something I've done in my second year) and get paid nicely for it. Also, as a student rep, you have the opportunity of joining the panel of student conduct meetings, where you are rewarded a £20 Amazon voucher for your time. Opportunities are everywhere, you just have to reach out for them.

    No one really participates in societies
    This is the one thing that surprised me the most, to be honest. That has not been the case at all during my time here. In your fresher's week, there will be this massive Fresher's Fair where you will get to speak to all societies at Brookes and get some great freebies (among which there is also Domino's pizza). In my first year, I joined the First Aid Society, Politics Society and Mixology Society. As part of the Mixology Society, they organise cocktail masterclasses and teach you bartending skills, which landed many of my friends amazing summer jobs and part time jobs. I got more involved with the First Aid Society, which helped me become a St John Ambulance Volunteer (I am currently a Trainee First Aider), and I went on in my second year to become president of it and organise social and recruiting events.

    My course did not have a society of its own, like most others do, so me and a few of my friends decided to make our own. We applied for it and then we got the approval to start the Biomedical Science Society, of which I was Senior Officer in my second year. We organised weekly workshops and socials such as disco ice skating nights, including a Christmas Dinner, where not only we managed to fill in all the spots, but also bring students across all year groups together and socialise among ourselves more. If you think of a good idea for a society, you can always put it forward and just start your own! It is very easy to do so and you will be supported by the Union throughout.

    As part of my second year I was also involved in the Sign Language Society, Judo Society and Dance Society (all rather self-explanatory ). The Dance Society was something truly special. In our second semester, we organised a Dance Showcase to be held on two separate days, both events selling out in a week. I was part of a hip-hop crew that had an 8 minute segment. We had rehearsals 4-5 times a week for about 3 hours, getting more and more intense as the showcase dates approached - and when we finally did perform, people were so impressed that we got asked to dance our routine at the Brookes May Ball! Unfortunately, we couldn't do that as it did not align with our exam schedule, but I can honestly not put into words just how wonderful of an experience it was. It is truly one of my fondest moments at university, and after spending 3+ hours with the other crew members in the same room, dancing and sweating and crying next to them, you will undoubtedly make friends with them for a lifetime.

    Did all of that affect my studies? Nope! I finished my second year with a First, I am working on developing a cancer drug for my dissertation project, and I am going on a placement year where I will be working for a biotech company. It is all doable, trust me!


    If there is one concern you absolutely should not have, by any means, it is the one of not making friends and not having active societies. I can guarantee you that is not true in the slightest. Remember, a university is only as good as you make it out to be. I don't know where you got your sources from, but you're obviously not going to make any friends if you do not engage with what Brookes (or any other university, for that matter) has to offer. Just put yourself out there, join as many societies as you can, try them out and stick with what you like best.

    If you ever want to talk more about it, feel free to drop me a message! Any questions you think I could help you out with, as a student, just let me know.
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    (Original post by ada_t)
    Hi there,

    I am a bit surprised to hear some of the concerns you've raised. I have just finished my second year doing Biomedical Science at Brookes, so I could tell you a little bit about my experience. I initially moved here from Romania, completely alone, having no family or friends in the UK. During the first induction week at Brookes, as a fresher, there are numerous oportunities to meet people, from campus tours to student night quizzes - some of the people I met on those are still my close friends.

    Let me tackle this in the order of the points you've made:

    Lectures are bad
    From my course experience, it could not be further from the truth. Lecture slides are uploaded onto the university portal (called Moodle - you may encounter it at other universities you end up in) before the day of the lecture, so you can always check them to have an idea of what is going to be taught. Before teaching begins, you will have access to what is called a 'module handbook' for all your courses, where you will see an outline and description of the course contents, coursework and exam details, and semester timings for lectures and assessments, which is a tremendously useful tool to plan out your revision.

    Come exam time, many students are struggling with exam stress and revision planning, but we have workshops in place to help get over that and manage stress accordingly. There is also a service in the university called Upgrade, which can, among others, check your essay for mistakes, advise on correct referencing, provide revision tools and help you out with any query on assignment formatting. Of course, there is always your academic advisor (a lecturer from your course who is in charge of a group of 8-9 students) whom you can always contact, should you have any questions. If you don't like or get along with your academic advisor for any reason, you can always go on your personal internet page (called PIP) and request a change, without needing to explain or see them face to face.

    If you are not happy with any of the course or teaching elements, you are encouraged to go to a student representative on your course - or become one yourself! Student representatives gather feedback from other students on the course and bring it forward in faculty meetings, where all the other faculty module leaders and lecturers are present, with the purpose of enhancing student experience. As an example, I am a student rep for Biomedical Science, and in the past I have mentioned in faculty meetings how the library didn't have enough of certain textbooks and how a module didn't offer detailed assessment feedback for a multiple choice test. In response, the library ordered more copies of the textbooks and obtained an e-version (which can be accessed for free by all Brookes students), and the lecturers organised an additional feedback session for the test to address student concerns.

    Particularly related to your course, I have met a Japanese Studies lecturer during a student conduct meeting I attended as a student rep panel member, Alex, and he was incredibly nice - although I don't study Japanese, I do have an interest in it and know basic Hiragana, and when I told him that, he suggested additional sources to brush up on my Japanese and offered to answer any questions I may have in the future. Haven't taken him up on that offer yet, as I haven't had time due to working on my dissertation project experiments, but thinkting of dropping him an email when it's all done!

    I also have two friends doing Japanese Studies, one in his first and the other in his second year; I met both of them while part of the Dance Society (but more on societies later). They are overall pleased with teaching (obviously, there'll always be some lecturers that are better liked than others), and they are both doing a year abroad starting September in Tokyo universities. Brookes has excellent industry and foreign links, so if that's something you'd be interested in, they could help you go on a year abroad, provided you meet the grade requirements (usually a 2:1 in all your modules is what is required).

    Accommodation is far away from the uni
    This depends on which campus you are based at. As mentioned in the post above, there are 3 main campuses: Headington, Wheatley and Harcourt (there is one in Marston as well, but that is mostly for health and life sciences students). It is likely you will be based in Headington, but even if you weren't and you needed to get to the other campuses, you could hop on a Brookes Bus and get there free of charge - as an Oxford Brookes student, you get a bus pass that allows you to go free on the Brookes buses and at discounted rates on most others. Also, there are good bike routes in Oxford, so I really wouldn't worry about getting from one place to another. Worst case scenario you would be looking at either 20-30 minutes bus commute, or 15-20 minutes walk from one place to another. I currently live 5 minutes away from the Headington campus in a uni rented house.

    It's true there are issues, and accommodation isn't necessarily Brookes' strongest point - I had to privately rent during my first year as well, luckily I was only 10 minutes away. However, they can be helpful when it comes to finding a place or helping you sort out housemate issues - and should that fail, there is always the Student Union, which gives you renting advice and warns you what to look out for if going privately.

    Generally, finances can pose a bit of a problem in a city like Oxford for a student, but job opportunities are everywhere. You will always see ads for part time jobs in the main John Henry Brookes building on headington campus, and there will be two part time job fairs where you can drop in your CV to potential employers. You can also work as a student guider (something I've done in my second year) and get paid nicely for it. Also, as a student rep, you have the opportunity of joining the panel of student conduct meetings, where you are rewarded a £20 Amazon voucher for your time. Opportunities are everywhere, you just have to reach out for them.

    No one really participates in societies
    This is the one thing that surprised me the most, to be honest. That has not been the case at all during my time here. In your fresher's week, there will be this massive Fresher's Fair where you will get to speak to all societies at Brookes and get some great freebies (among which there is also Domino's pizza). In my first year, I joined the First Aid Society, Politics Society and Mixology Society. As part of the Mixology Society, they organise cocktail masterclasses and teach you bartending skills, which landed many of my friends amazing summer jobs and part time jobs. I got more involved with the First Aid Society, which helped me become a St John Ambulance Volunteer (I am currently a Trainee First Aider), and I went on in my second year to become president of it and organise social and recruiting events.

    My course did not have a society of its own, like most others do, so me and a few of my friends decided to make our own. We applied for it and then we got the approval to start the Biomedical Science Society, of which I was Senior Officer in my second year. We organised weekly workshops and socials such as disco ice skating nights, including a Christmas Dinner, where not only we managed to fill in all the spots, but also bring students across all year groups together and socialise among ourselves more. If you think of a good idea for a society, you can always put it forward and just start your own! It is very easy to do so and you will be supported by the Union throughout.

    As part of my second year I was also involved in the Sign Language Society, Judo Society and Dance Society (all rather self-explanatory ). The Dance Society was something truly special. In our second semester, we organised a Dance Showcase to be held on two separate days, both events selling out in a week. I was part of a hip-hop crew that had an 8 minute segment. We had rehearsals 4-5 times a week for about 3 hours, getting more and more intense as the showcase dates approached - and when we finally did perform, people were so impressed that we got asked to dance our routine at the Brookes May Ball! Unfortunately, we couldn't do that as it did not align with our exam schedule, but I can honestly not put into words just how wonderful of an experience it was. It is truly one of my fondest moments at university, and after spending 3+ hours with the other crew members in the same room, dancing and sweating and crying next to them, you will undoubtedly make friends with them for a lifetime.

    Did all of that affect my studies? Nope! I finished my second year with a First, I am working on developing a cancer drug for my dissertation project, and I am going on a placement year where I will be working for a biotech company. It is all doable, trust me!


    If there is one concern you absolutely should not have, by any means, it is the one of not making friends and not having active societies. I can guarantee you that is not true in the slightest. Remember, a university is only as good as you make it out to be. I don't know where you got your sources from, but you're obviously not going to make any friends if you do not engage with what Brookes (or any other university, for that matter) has to offer. Just put yourself out there, join as many societies as you can, try them out and stick with what you like best.

    If you ever want to talk more about it, feel free to drop me a message! Any questions you think I could help you out with, as a student, just let me know.
    Hi,

    Thanks for replying with this great info about Brookes. I studied here myself and I agree that it definitely is a friendly University!

    I'm glad you're enjoying your time here!

    All the best,
    Sophie
 
 
 
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