From Turks and Caicos to Oxford Brookes University – Oshin Whyte
“When I first saw the university, I was unbelievably happy because it meant I took the right bus from the airport!”
Oxford Brookes University is located in Oxford, England in the United Kingdom. With 18,000 students, 16% of the student population consists of international students. The school prides itself in its dedication to academic excellence and its commitment to supporting and mentoring students in achieving their goals and ambitions.
SchoolApply interviewed Oshin Whyte, a second-year student from Turks and Caicos, to find out what she thinks about being an international student at Oxford Brookes.
OXFORD BROOKES UNIVERSITY
Location: Oxford, England (UK)
Student Name: Oshin Whyte
From: Turks and Caicos
Favorite class: Environmental Processes: Pollution and Climate Change. It explores the biogeochemical processes of the natural world and how humans impact these processes. I get to work in the lab and in the field, which is great – the best of both worlds.
Favorite school event: Freshers fair! There are lots of good vibes and freebies for all the students.
Five words to describe Oxford Brookes University: Eco-friendly, Inclusive, Colorful, Supportive, Cozy
Tell us a little about yourself. What were your school experiences like before Oxford Brookes?
I am in my second year at university, third if you count my foundation year. I am from the beautiful Turks and Caicos Islands where I have lived and studied my whole life. I received my primary and high school education there.
My primary and high school years were very close-knit. The teachers and principals instilled a commitment-to-excellence attitude in each student and were very keen on helping us achieve our goals. I don’t think I’d be where I am without the help of my past teachers. In high school, I was a member of the science and debate teams and participated in science quizzes and debate competitions. I also participated in art competitions. My friends in high school were zealous about the activities that they pursued and even though we had our differences, it always felt good when we did well individually or collectively.
How did you hear about Oxford Brookes University and what made you decide to study in England?
To be honest, I did not initially want to study in England, but I am a government scholarship recipient and as such, I was provided with a list of universities from which I could choose. The universities were all based in the Caribbean and the UK. It is more economic for Turks Islanders to study in the UK because we are British citizens as well and receive home fees. I applied to several universities and Oxford Brookes accepted me.
Did you have any problems adjusting to life in a new country and university?
I definitely wasn’t prepared for the lack of sunshine. I come from a country where there is prevailing sunshine and bright blue skies all year round and I could not place why I was feeling down until I was diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder. I bought a SAD lamp and I felt a lot better. Also, the food is a great deal different, but I have found several stores that sell Caribbean spices.
What degree are you pursuing and why?
I am pursuing a BSc in Environmental Sciences. When I was young, I used to watch a cartoon called Captain Planet and the Planeteers. It was about five kids from different continents coming together to create a superhero named Captain Planet who protects the environment from people trying to exploit it. I would watch this cartoon on Saturday mornings and think, “Wow, I want to be like Captain Planet someday”. I have always had a love for the natural world and it’s my personal belief that we all have a part to play in taking care of Mother Earth.
Do your current studies support your interest and talent? If so, how?
Yes, I love the natural world and each day I learn something new about conservation, sustainability and the impact that humans have on the environment. Also, I received the opportunity to do research in France for nine days last year as a part of my course which was beyond amazing.
What has your academic and social experience been like as an international student at Oxford Brookes University?
It has been an amazing rollercoaster ride. I initially came to Oxford Brookes not really wanting to be here, but I have made amazing friendships that will no doubt last a lifetime and have made unforgettable memories. I have also created bonds with my lecturers who challenge me to be the best version of myself academically.
The area has so many museums! I personally love museums because no matter how many times you visit, there is always something new to learn. There are also quaint tea shops and punting on the Thames River. The African Caribbean Society also host events where international students can socialize and get to know each other.
What were your first impressions of Oxford Brookes?
I was apprehensive when I first arrived here, but everyone was warm and welcoming and eager to learn where the Turks and Caicos are and what island life is like. When I first saw the university, I was unbelievably happy because it meant I took the right bus from the airport! I was also stunned by the amazing architecture of the John Henry Brookes Building. I definitely felt a bit nervous, but optimistic before my first class.
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Do you take part in any extracurricular activities at Oxford Brookes?
I am a part of the Oxford Brookes Shooting Club. We shoot clay pigeons at the E.J. Churchill Shooting Ground on Wednesdays and Fridays. It is a wonderful way to meet people and socialize.
How has Oxford Brookes University prepared you for life after college?
Oxford Brookes is great for meeting people of various ethnicity, cultures and backgrounds and learning how to interact with diverse people. This is great because everyone needs people skills. And though not specifically taught in courses at Oxford Brookes, my university experience is teaching me how to regain my composure when I start a new endeavor and fail and the importance of sometimes leaving your comfort zone.
What would you say to international students who are considering studying at Oxford Brookes University?
Do it! You’ll meet lots of interesting people and there is so much to do in Oxford. The school is located in one of the best cities to live in, the science labs are beautiful and have an electron microscope, the lecturers and academic advisors genuinely care about your well-being and it is very diverse.
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