Online Learning experience, Margaux Stivanin

Blog by Margaux Stivanin, Government.

The online learning experience has personally been very nice: I had only one module during summer term which consisted of two weekly Zoom classes, three essays and an oral presentation.

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The teacher usually emailed the Zoom link the day before the class. Whilst one of my main concerns was about not being able to get in touch with him since there was no longer academic support hours, he was as approachable as he used to be during lectures; he was available by e-mails during office hours and very reactive when answering to any questions I had about the module. I don’t know about other courses, but the Department of Government seemed to have been very responsive and supportive.

Another fear I had was about was about the WiFi at home, as my broadband was very low during all the lockdown period. There were days where my laptop glitched and it was very difficult to understand everything on Zoom classes; but thanks to Moodle material it was quite easy to gather the missing information. Online classes were recorded, and the teacher put the lectures from the week before available on Moodle, so it was pretty similar to the Listen Again system.

I noticed it is easier to stay focus during Zoom classes when your camera is activated: when we know we are being observed, we automatically try to listen to the class as much as possible. It is also more respectful for the teacher to see who he is talking to.

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One of my main pieces of advice for online learning would be whenever possible, not to study and sleep in the same room. I personally worked in the kitchen during lockdown, so it became a bit like my office; I knew I was only going there to study and unconsciously it made me more productive.

Studying at home may be quite hard because of the multiple temptations you encounter: TV, food, friends can come over etc. But despite that, it is important to have enough self-discipline to stay focussed without being distracted. Some phone apps may be very helpful; there are some with timers based on the Pomodoro method. I personally used the ‘Tree’ app a lot, as it helps you to stop touching your phone for a certain amount of time. If you succeed, a tree is planted in a virtual field. At the end of the day, if you have been productive, you can see a whole forest coming up on your screen.

Studying online also makes us gain more time (mainly because of not commuting) so we automatically have more spare time ahead of us. It is important to remind ourselves that  our study material is available 24/7 available, and that we are still supposed to work and be productive.  Writing down a to-do-list or a timetable may be useful when staying home, but goals have to be realistic and practically achievable. Times are hard for everyone and there is no point adding unnecessary stress about productivity – mental health comes first.

 

The unbearable freedom of online learning, Tiia Ladvelin

Blog by Tiia Ladvelin, Psychology.

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Picture 1. I have found new reading spaces since the library was closed.

By the end of March 2020, the campus moved to online learning. I was midway through my second year studying psychology, and I had applied for summer internships with a specific field in mind. Suddenly, the jobs were cancelled, and it was unclear how our modules would be completed. My schoolwork was delayed by two weeks as I decided to move back home to be with family. I felt like I had to start all over again after working hard to find my place at the university. Fortunately, the university was consistent with communication from early on, and we were soon informed about completing the summer term online.

My department agreed on a 7-day extension to deadlines, though this did not help much as the end-of-year exams were not postponed. Overall, since the campus was closed, online resources have been used more efficiently. Video lectures have been provided, pre-recorded and in real-time. While I miss face-to-face interaction, I have found it useful to pause recordings to double-check things or to take extra breaks. I used to follow the schedule of the lectures and study the topics covered each week, but with the recorded video lectures, I must plan my revision in more detail. I have learned to use project management apps to write down assignment deadlines and steps on the way to complete them.

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Picture 2. I try to keep my study set up tidy and free of distractions.

 This spring has felt extremely uncertain and stressful. Usually, when we are assigned a piece of coursework, we get a briefing of the topic with examples and time for questions. This time, we received instructions over Moodle, but in some cases, they left me wondering where to start. Especially with a podcast presentation, I took detours both with the content and the technical side, as I had to learn a lot by trial and error. Luckily, both the lecturer and IT support were easy to approach.

Back on campus, my peer students and I used to discuss lecture topics together, but I was happy to see how it still happened over Moodle and group chats. We read each other’s work, explained topics, and tried to cheer each other up. I also had a one-on-one meeting with my tutor over Zoom. I was informed of additional resources and support during this time, yet I felt it was my responsibility to seek information when needed. However, I was reminded of the inclusiveness and supportiveness of the community at Essex. The staff went the extra mile to find information for me or to point me to the right person. I felt like everyone wanted me to succeed and tried to help me on the way.

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Picture 3. I have had time to pause and re-evaluate my goals.

 Most importantly, the lockdown has forced me to stop and re-evaluate since continuing my usual schedule was not an option. For once, I had time to reconsider my priorities. I have always been proactive with my studies, which is why I adjusted to online learning quite quickly. I have enjoyed working at my own pace, and the online learning experience has given me confidence in my abilities. I was able to complete the year mostly as planned due to the online exams with reasonable time extensions. While completing assignments felt hard and meaningless at times, it also gave me the motivation to get up in the morning and stick to my daily routine.

We are facing a situation no one could have prepared for, and each of us needs to find ways to do our best under the circumstances. 2020 is a year that changed our lives for good, and there is no going back to how things were. I had to clarify my goals and try and see which of my daily routines are essential for my well-being. I have found new ways to study and to use technology to enhance my learning. Even though I genuinely miss studying on campus, I know I will bring the things I have learned with me once I return to on-campus learning in October.

Online learning and my experience during lockdown, Deborah Sampah

Blog written by Deborah Sampah, Economics

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I’m sure no one could have imagined that the academic year would have ended this way. The disruptions from the global pandemic have brought about a new normal in more ways than one. Online learning at university is most definitely one of them and although it comes with its own concerns and challenges, it could be something we see more often in the near future.

When campus was closed, many classes and lectures made the shift online fairly quickly and this included revision sessions with lecturers on Zoom. The experience was straight forward, with students being able to access sessions via a link sent to our emails. The majority of the Zoom classes were recorded and put on Moodle so they could be re-watched if anything was missed in the live class.  Alternatively, some seminars were recorded as a voice note and uploaded alongside the corresponding PowerPoint topic. This way, students could listen in their own time making the experience a lot easier.

When it came to exams, the instructions were made very simple for us all to understand. The assessments took place in the form of ‘take-home exams’. In the Economics department, we were given 3 hours to download the paper at the time of the exam, complete the exam and re-upload our answers onto FASER. Fortunately, I was able to work in a calm environment away from distractions to make the examinations as stress-free as possible. If I had to mention one thing that was a little bit of a pain, it would be the process of uploading the exam paper. I had made the decision to hand write all my exams because that is what I was most comfortable doing. However, it meant I would need to scan my answers and put them into one word document before submitting them. I completely underestimated the time this would take and so felt the time pressure during my first exam. This error was avoided in the exams that followed as I was better able to estimate the time needed to complete the paper and upload it in time.

Naturally, new experiences come with their own challenges and adjustments. The main challenge for me was maintaining the same levels of discipline to my studies despite being at home. It is fairly easy to get distracted whilst being stuck at home with the entire family. Secondly, the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic has been another challenge in and of itself. There have been moments during this period where motivation and morale has been low. This is particularly due to the devastating implications and effects the virus has had on many thousands of people.

Fortunately, I was able to secure a 12-week internship with an AR/VR company via the Essex Interns Programme a week before lockdown was announced by the government. This role helped me build a daily routine and remain focused whilst working from home. Despite only being in the office for the first 2 days, I am grateful to have still been able to complete the internship remotely. Meeting and working alongside new people allowed me to gain key skills that will most definitely be useful in future employment opportunities. Aside from this, I was also determined to ensure that regular exercise or physical activity became part of my routine. Most of the time, this would simply be a walk around the local area. Other times, I would have work out sessions with a few friends via Zoom in my back garden. This played an important role in helping to de-stress from the pressures that came with completing a degree during a global pandemic.

Overall, my experience during lockdown and with online learning has been as positive as it could be. The support from the university has allowed it to be as smooth as possible with students being kept up to date at every stage. In the near future, online learning could be a key part of university learning and the past few months have proved that it has the capacity to be successful for many students and institutions.

Life under Lockdown, by Jason Mussett

Blog written by Jason Mussett, Essex Pathways Student

Hi Everyone!

I have been asked to write a few words reflecting on my time under lockdown as an Essex Student.

You always remember where you are in life when significant events often occur. Some remember the Kennedy assassination, Princess Diana, 9/11. The thing about Lockdown is I could see it coming.  I remember receiving the Vice Chancellor’s e-mail regarding the suspension of face to face learning. Great!  I thought. This is really going to scupper things.  I remember the exodus from campus in the following week thinking this is the end! Colchester was becoming a ghost town.

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I didn’t actually listen to Boris Johnson’s speech regarding the beginning of Lockdown. I didn’t need to. The lockdown in other countries had already convinced me it was only a matter of time.  Twenty three hours indoors, one hour exercise or shopping. I remember thinking, I’m never going to cope, being cooped up indoors for three weeks – probably longer. I still had a lot of course work to complete and I thought if the IT labs closed then I would be in trouble.

I briefly considered leaving my course, but my Student Support Worker Ursula talked me out of it.  I’m glad she did, I haven’t looked back since.

Was I afraid of Lockdown? Of COVID? Of course. But I had to get my fear under control. At first, I spent a lot of time sleeping and just laying in bed, but when I listened to how other people were coping with Lockdown and what they were doing to make the best of a bad situation, I thought about how Britain had been tested in the past and I realised we could get through this.  I could get through this.

I started a new routine.  I would go to the IT labs and continue with my assignments. Speaking to other students, I realised I wasn’t alone, we were all in this together. I liased with my Student Services advisor Ben who has been great along with Taran and Jo-my health advisor. When I started shopping at Tesco, it struck how calm people were queueing for trollies, just taking everything in their stride, no panic, no fighting.  I did get depressed as the Lockdown continued.  Who wouldn’t?  I just told myself to carry on.  You have to.

The information provided by the University itself has been a massive help in lifting my spirits; from the Vice Chancellor’s updates, to the support on campus like the Security team, Student Services, Resident Life, and Accommodation.  There is an amazing support team here at Essex.

Via dreaded Zoom meetings and e-mails, I have spent hours in the IT labs revising for my exams and reading through my coursework. I realised that fear is like a wild horse: it can be tamed. I thought I’m not walking away.  I AM not giving up on this!  My goal hasn’t yet been reached.

Before Coronavirus I had been planning to go to Normandy and to tour the battlefields in Europe, but my trip has just been placed on hold. But that doesn’t mean I have to give up; I will go. I will go when this is over.

One thing I do miss is the hustle and bustle of University life, the crowds, people going to lectures. I miss going to lectures. But I keep telling myself that all of these things will return.  I never thought I would cope with Lockdown and at first it did look shaky, but recently I have felt a lot stronger. Things are still uncertain regarding the virus, but I tend to live from day to day. Life seems easier that way.

I have met some great people here and Essex is a brilliant international community which will reunite again.  Some may feel Coronavirus can’t be beaten but it can be defeated and it will be defeated.

My routine may still feel a little weird, especially waiting for exam results, but I am coming through this and I am determined to continue.

The University of Essex is a great community even in Lockdown and the spirit of our community is still here. Even apart, WE ARE STILL ESSEX!

 

My experience on online learning, by Ziming Wang

Blog by student Ziming Wang, Economics

The pandemic has caused a lot of chaos and uncertainty in our lives, but the University of Essex has applied various procedures to protect students, as well as keeping the teaching quality in a high standard. I am proud of my department for the smooth arrangements they put in place to buffer the negative shocks given by the pandemic.

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The University moved all teaching and assessment activities online in mid-March. With it, some problems emerged during this process, but these were solved quickly.

Living in 8th Time Zone (east), I normally had an online lecture between 17:00 and 23:00, but given that I am a night cat, that lecture time was quite suitable for me. We used Zoom to join lectures, and all the lectures were recorded too which is very convenient. As a student whose first language is not English, by slowing down the speed of video and listening repeatedly, I built a very clear and solid understanding of knowledge. Originally, I relied on going in during office hours every week to learn the material which I wasn’t familiar with, but since the starting of online courses I found a more effective way to self-improve. Even though the university also provides ‘listen again’ in normal time, the ‘listen again’ does not include video of lectures.

I was very worried about the interaction between students and teachers during the online courses, but I then found the online teaching had not damaged this process. Firstly, we can use microphone to ask our questions, as using the text box to ask questions in lectures. The Q&A processes are as good as usual. Secondly, the Zoom learning provides an option to communicate with the teacher privately. It is marvellous for me, because I don’t need to worry about whether my questions are stupid or not, or whether my questions will disturb teaching process or not. The teacher can simply look at my private question and then answer. As a shy person, I prefer this way of asking questions instead of raising my hand in front of all classmates.

The homework and feedback have also not been disrupted by the pandemic. We are still using FASER system to upload assignment and essays and all materials are provided by the MOODLE system. The only problem may be that we can’t enjoy the zero-cost printing machine on campus, but in the grand scheme of things that is not a big deal.

Staff working at Essex are very helpful and warm, they supported me a lot during my university life. In the pandemic, we used email and Zoom to build connections and there are still lots of online service provided by Careerhub. I booked some appointments to improve my CV and Cover Letter after the final assessment.

Overall, even though the online learning may come with new difficulties and it may be a challenge to adjust, I still benefited a lot from this new way of teaching provided by Essex. I would always recommend studying at Essex, because Essex really cares about their students and the Economics department is one of the best. Professors from Essex literately changed my life and I really appreciate my alma mater.

My Online Learning Experience, by Diana Medre

Written by student Diana Medre, Languages and Linguistics.

Even though we have not been able to go to Essex in the past two months, Essex came to us and was always present in our homes and in our hearts.

I know the last couple of months have been challenging and difficult for many people across the globe, but these months have also shown us that only the sky is the limit and even a global pandemic cannot stop us from being all together, sharing the same core values and staying strong and positive against any obstacle that may temporarily hold us back, but never stop us from reaching our goals. During lockdown, Essex has once again shown me that the main aspects it stands for are related to staff and students’ needs, so that we can all still be part of this inclusive family.

Even though many students have not been able to leave the campus and go back to their home countries, Essex has sheltered them and offered them a sort of new, but enjoyable online learning experience.  Thanks to all those involved in this quick mobilisation, students have successfully managed to sit their exams from across the world. This switch from real courses to virtual courses has given students the chance to continue growing, so that their future plans are not disrupted, and they can bravely pursue their goals.

To give you a deeper insight into my online learning experience, I firstly started decorating a corner of my house as a “new studying place”, where I could go and join all of my  Zoom meetings in a quiet, warm and comfortable area. Really, home isn’t the best place to study; home means comfort zone and family time, so of course it’s harder to concentrate or to get motivated. However, to me, Essex is a big family, so I didn’t mind having it present with me, on my laptop, in my house, during lockdown.

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Even though I am not a business student, I used to spend most of my time in our Essex Business School building, studying there and enjoying that ‘rainforest-like’ spot on our campus. However, being unable to study there anymore as the establishment has been temporarily closed, I decided to buy some plants and create a green and “woody” space myself, with some fairy lights to make it even cosier. This spot in my house has contributed substantially to my concentration and engagement with my online classes and meetings I have had so far.

Anytime I had concerns about my exams, final marks or anything else, I used to drop an email to my lecturers and if that email did not clarify my concerns, a Zoom meeting was always the answer. The online classes and webinars I attended were really well structured and concise. The only problem was that I found it harder to talk as much in front of a computer camera, than I used to do in real-life seminars and classrooms.

The times for exams were longer than usual and way more flexible, so that students could sit them even though they were on the other side of the world. If students had difficulties in using Zoom, support was always been offered; I have some friends who were really pleased with Uni’s help related to this matter.

We all miss our Essex family with its vibrant campus life, we miss our classmates, our lecturers and the looong in-class debates we used to have on different world issues. We miss our campus cat Pebbles and his animal friends the ducks, squirrels, geese and hares.  I bet they miss us too and they are eagerly looking forward to a busy and dynamic campus again. Perhaps, the fact that we engage remotely and are unable to fully enjoy our student life, represents a real disadvantage of the online studying aspect. However, an online learning experience is time efficient and helps us become more self-disciplined and more organised as we have to carefully make the difference between our personal and/or ‘professional’ time.

Even though it seemed that the world has stopped for a short moment due to the current circumstances, our learning experience has not. Overall, I am very pleased with what has quickly been put in place so that we can still be Essex. #WeAreStillEssex ❤

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4 things I wish I knew before I started at the University of Essex

As a third year Biochemistry student at the University of Essex, there are a few things that helped shaped my experience and helped me live my best life at university! So, I’ve decided to share them with you, as you start your University of Essex journey.

  1. I wish I knew that I wouldn’t need to worry about making friends.

The University of Essex is a very diverse university and you can find students who are from various countries around the world. I’ve met some really great people who studied my course and I was also able to make some amazing friends whilst working as a Student Ambassador and attending various events such as Quiz Nights, cooking lessons in my kitchen, the African and Caribbean Society’s Heritage showcase, and many games nights. So, don’t stress and think that you won’t make friends at university. There are so many people who share the same interests and experiences as you and you can all relate to each other because you’re all university students.

  1. I wish I knew that the library would become my second home.

At the University of Essex’s Colchester Campus, the library is open 24 hours. Yes, pre-pandemic the library was open all day, every day. The Albert Sloman library has six floors and many study areas. It is also home to a large range of books and sometimes a good book has all the information you need for an essay that is due 24 hours after you’ve started it.

One thing I love about this library is that I can walk in with my meal deal that I bought from the extra store on campus and go to a quiet corner on the top floor (my favourite floor of the library because it has the best view of campus!) and get all my work done and complete all my deadlines.

Or I could see my friends and end up talking about the latest Netflix show, that we were all watching for about an hour or two, then remember I actually had work to do and try to get it done! During the three years of my degree this happened almost every day and the library ended up becoming my second home. This is likely to happen to you too.

  1. I wish I knew that I wouldn’t have to live off of my overdraft.

Being a university student can sometimes be quite financially challenging. But luckily for me, I was able to get a good paying job. From my first year to my final year, I worked as a University of Essex Student Ambassador. As a Student Ambassador, my main role was to help lead tours of the Colchester campus to future students, primary and secondary school, and other visitors. I also worked at the university’s applicant and open days and answered any questions regarding student life at the University of Essex. I had the chance to work around my lectures and even work in the summer, so I didn’t have to live off my overdraft. At the University of Essex, there are a range of paid opportunities that you can apply to.

Quick finance lesson! What is an overdraft? Well an overdraft is a portion of money that your bank allows you to spend when you have spent all the money in your account. An overdraft is a type of loan that needs to be paid back and should only really be used for emergency. The money is not free to use, sometimes you have to pay interest which means you have to pay back the money you borrowed and then some. For more information on overdrafts and student bank accounts you should check out this website.

  1. I wish I knew that I could find (almost) everything I needed on campus.

The University of Essex’s Colchester Campus literally has everything. Well almost everything.

There is a range of cafés and restaurants on campus with a variety of vegan options too, there is a regular Thursday market where you can buy anything from fresh fruit and vegetables, delicious hot takeaways, and bespoke jewellery.

When you feel like watching a cheeky movie but don’t want to pay too much for it, you can also go to the University’s cinema which is known as Cine10 and watch some of the latest movies. And the things that you can’t find on campus can be found at the nearest Tesco which is just a 10-minute walk away!

Without my job as a Student Ambassador, the Albert Solman library and the amazing people I get to call my friends. I know I would not have been able to survive university and gain some amazing memories and experiences that look pretty good on my CV. I hope that as you begin your university journey that you remember to utilise every resource available and enjoy every moment at Essex. You are not going to experience stressing out about a project 24 hours before its deadline, having a questionable sleeping pattern, becoming a great cook, and meeting some amazing people anywhere else other than at university. Good luck on your University of Essex journey!

Aisha Yusuff

Aisha Yusuff.

Box Sets to Binge Watch

People’s hobbies usually include dancing, singing, drawing, doing sports… My hobby you ask? i like to lie on the couch for 10 hours straight or more watching Netflix. That’s one of the things I excel at, so here is box sets to binge watch according to a girl who dedicated her life to watching as many TV shows as possible.

  • Comedy:
  1. Friends (10 seasons, 236 episodes)

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It’s a classic. You’ve probably watched all 10 seasons like twenty times already, but it doesn’t matter. There is no getting bored of Friends. This show has the power to make you go through a palette of emotions in only 25 minutes and that’s pretty cool. Also, it’ll take you 89 hours to watch it all completely and since we’re in lockdown, Friends will keep you entertained. And just to make it clear, they were NOT on a break.

  1. Brooklyn 99 (7 seasons, 139 episodes)

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For some reason I’ve only discovered this show recently, but I fell in love with it. It’s funny, it’s wholesome, it’s just great. The story takes place in the 99-precinct in New York, and follows the life of Jake Peralta, a childish, immature cop, working under the command of the recognized gay captain Raymond Holt. All the characters have something that makes them so special and every episode is as good as the last, with the Halloween heists being my  personal favorites. Just give it a go and you’ll be hooked and that’s cool, cool, cool.

  1. It’s always sunny in Philadelphia (14 seasons, 154 episodes)

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Here is another show that will keep you busy for a while! Sunny in Philadelphia is stupid, but that’s what makes it funny. The show follows the life of 5 under-achieved, selfish, and arrogant friends, Denis, Dee, Charlie, Mac and Frank, all owners of Paddy’s Pub, a sketchy Irish bar. The show tackles some real-life issues through humor, and it’s always so well done.

  • Drama
  1. Black Mirror (5 Seasons, 22 episodes)

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Black Mirror is definitely one of my favorite shows of all time. It’s simply a masterpiece. All episodes are independent, and take place in a futuristic dystopian world. The show gives a glimpse of what future technology could be like and how dangerous it could turn out to be. Some of the scenarios Black Mirror came up with actually happened in real life, which is really scary once you’ve seen the show. Also, I’d like to give a honorable mention to “Bandersnatch”, a special episode, where you get to decide of the story by making choices for the character. This new interactive way of watching TV really shook up the world for a while because of how good and original this was.

  1. Breaking Bad (5 seasons, 62 episodes)

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What would you do if you were a chemistry teacher and found out you’ve got lung cancer and haven’t got much time to live? Well, that’s what happened to Walter White, and his decision was… bold; he started cooking meth in a van in the middle of the High Desert. I was wondering if Breaking Bad was going to be my kind of show but let me tell you this: it’s everyone’s kind of show. The storyline is so captivating, the actors are out of this world and you can’t help but root for a criminal. It’s an amazing show. 12/10.

  • Reality TV
  1. RuPaul’s Drag Race (12 Seasons, 159 episodes)

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Each season, 12 drag queens from all across the USA come to compete for the title of America’s Next Drag Superstar. This show radiates talent, pettiness and tea. Each drag queen who’s made it to the show became special and adored; Bianca del Rio for her sassiness, Violet Chachki for her 16-inch waist, Sasha Velour for her amazing take on her lip sync, but also Vanjie for being… Vanjie I guess. It’s mainstream, it’s entertaining, give it a go.

  1. Queer eye (5 seasons, 37 episodes)

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As the show says itself, it’s more than makeover. Queer Eye is basically 5 gay guys, each with each their own specialty, coming into people’s lives to help them be their true self. The team, called the Fab 5, is composed of: Bobby (interior designer), Karamo (culture expert), Antoni (food and wine specialist), Tan (fashion designer) and Jonathan (grooming consultant). Queer Eye is super wholesome, it’s empowering, it’s more than a simple makeover yes, it’s a life changing opportunity for the participant, and we love to watch it.

By Nina Lacroix 🌺

Why learning a new language while being at university?

This is question that many people may pose especially if they are already English speakers. But personally, the first thing that comes into my mind when talking about languages is Nelson Mandela’s famous quote ‘If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart’. I strongly believe that learning a new language could have only a positive impact on our lives and as students at university, it is an opportunity that we should not miss!

With our Languages for All program, everyone can have the chance to study a language at their choice and that is completely free of charge for the first year! So everything that you need is enthusiasm and a will to learn! Moreover, at the end of this course, you will receive a certification letter which proves your language skills.

Besides the fact that the course is free, studying at university proves to be a good time to learn a new language for two main reasons. Firstly, because most of us still have the time to do so and secondly because it is so easy to practice the language outside classes. Having the language café in campus where students meet for this very purpose, to have conversations in different languages, you can easily develop your vocabulary in a fun and enjoyable atmosphere. Also, as the university is a real international institution where people come from all over the world, it is unlikely that you won’t have any friends, flatmates or colleagues that are natives in the language you’re willing to learn & would be nice enough to help you.

Furthermore, learning a new language can help you understand better & connect with the culture of a specific country where the language is spoken. For me, this was the main reason for which I chose to study French in my second year. As I have always loved France, I wanted to know more about tradition, people & lifestyle and I felt that language was an impediment. After I completed my course and felt confident in my language skills, I decided to have my placement year in France! (as the placement was part of my degree). Although I never thought about it before, the fact that I felt more confident about having conversations and writing in French motivated me to go to a country I was always interested in and have an amazing experience!

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Lastly but not the least, speaking more than one language, can be a real advantage in regards to employment opportunities. As we live in a world that becomes more and more interconnected and interdependent, being able to speak more than one language can set you apart from other monolingual individuals, for example, when applying for a job. Regardless of your aspiration or job preferences, having the capacity to communicate in a different language is a plus in today’s competitive market which means that you’re already ahead of the crowd!

These being said, it seems like there is nothing to lose but only a lot to gain! So why not making a new objective in your life and learn a new language that you’re interested and curious about? 🙂

Why I chose to study BA Events Management with Hospitality and why Essex

With Edge Hotel School you can be yourself!

“To make you career fulfilling, the work environment is as important as the role” – Benedicte Flouriot

I am Elda Barros, currently studying BA in Events Management with Hospitality at the University of Essex approaching the end of two-year degree.

I am a Portuguese citizen, who travelled to UK at the age of 16 to achieve my objective of learning English to become a cabin crew member, as it was my dream. Therefore I enrolled into college in Travel and Tourism and started my journey from there. But since I am a 5 ft 1.8 inches tall, that dream crumbled away.

Therefore I decided to focus in a different objective since I am someone who does not accept no as an answer; to find other interesting area within the hospitality industry. Throughout my studies I decided to invest my free time doing voluntary work and work experiences within hotels and venues to taste a different side of the industry, but very similar to the one I was already interested. Doing this I could keep the hopes of providing customer service and do something that impact someone’s life positively, as this was the reason I wanted to become a cabin crew member.

My interest for Edge Hotel School started when I read about the experimental programme style of learning by doing that they were providing alongside with a degree. As I was reading I could picture myself working and studying at Edge. The fact that Edge Hotel School provides a two-year degree alongside a more normal three-year and with work experience together is something unique.

As I struggle with traditional university where more academic work is required, finding a course that could fit to my personality whilst providing me a degree alongside training made me hopeful about being capable to achieve a proper career in Events Management.

Since I moved to Essex and started my course at Edge Hotel School, my journey has being exciting and challenging. Here I had the chance to expand my knowledge about the hospitality industry, which is an expansive sector full of challenges, experiences and prospects – where each day can be different.

This course allowed me to be exposed to highly recognised and well known organisations, such as The BRIT Awards, BPI, hoteliers such as Exclusive, Marriott and Hilton as well as catering companies such as Baxterstorey and Compass Group & I. I met all of these through career fairs, businesses conferences, guest lectures and trips.

Being an Edge Hotel School student in the University of Essex not only allows you to have both experimental learning and a degree, but it also gives you the taste of being a university student. Here you have the opportunity to meet and interact with students that are not Edge, as you will be living with them, working, and going to the SU bar and Sub-Zero as well as other facilities provided for us by the University to socialise and distract ourselves from the routine.

University can place students under immense pressure, but studying at Edge Hotel School makes the transition into the working world easy, where managing takes more than a grad -fair, stress ball and inspirational Instagram caption. It helps you to be prepared for the challenges you will face out there and to be confident and ready for the moment.

As my journey with Edge Hotel School is ending, I will continue my path within the Events sector, focusing more in corporate clients as it has become my favourite section. Edge has expanded my option for the future and has opened doors that without working and studying hospitality I would not be able to imagine their existence or know how straight forward and interesting they can be.

Remember nothing is impossible and in the hospitality sector there are jobs for all different type of personalities. Do not limit your dream, losing a battle does not mean you lose the war.