After graduating from APU, some students may choose to complete their job hunting and work at several companies to gain valuable and practical experiences. On the other hand, some students may choose to continue learning at a higher degree by going to graduate school. This time, SPA was very honored to be able to interview a student like that, Ms. Namiho Takeda (APS with major in Hospitality and Tourism, graduated in Spring 2013) who is now working for the Embassy of the Republic of Maldives in Tokyo. After graduating from APU, she decided to pursue a MSc in Tourism: Environment and Development, Department of Planning at Oxford Brookes University. Let’s discover more about her!
1/ Why did you continue to graduate school?
The ultimate objective of my career is to get involved with international organizations such as the United Nations to help the poor in developing countries, particularly in relation to sustainable regional development by tourism sectors. In my 3rd year at APU, I had started job hunting like most of the students do, but after taking some self analysis tests and interviews, I was able to reaffirm my goal. To be able to apply to the job I want, I needed a master degree and I had always been wishing to live and work in overseas again after graduating APU, so I decided to further my studies in Oxford, the UK.
2/ Why did you choose Oxford Brookes University to pursue your Master degree?
Since my main interest in academia was clear after conducting my undergraduate thesis, I looked for the institutions that are well known for this particular field. I chose the UK because my professor suggested to me that there are good courses in sustainable tourism development in the UK, and the fact that a master degree takes only one year was also attractive to me. After doing some research by myself and talking to professors and friends, I applied to three universities and I was accepted to all of them. My final decision was made by the location of Oxford and financial reasons.
3/ How did you get to know Oxford Brookes University?
I researched the institutions in the UK that had a course of my interests and I found the name of this university in the list. My professor also suggested me this university when I went to talk with him about the institutions I found by myself. It was not too hard to find the program because I have already known the field I wanted to study and that is not a major course which is widely taught in many institutions.
4/ In a simple term, could you describe how to apply into Oxford Brookes University?
After finding the information on application in the university website, I applied through UKPASS, the Postgraduate Application System which provides an admissions service to give applicants a simple online application.
Oxford Brookes University Postgraduate Courses: http://www.brookes.ac.uk/studying-at-brookes/courses/postgraduate/
5/ How did you prepare to apply for the program?
First, I prepared all the documents by myself. Then I asked my professors, native friends and senior students who are already in postgraduate school to proofread the documents. For my application, the most time consuming part was writing a good personal statement and research plan. Studying for IELTS was not too hard for me as I was taking more than 80% of the courses in English during my four years at APU.
6/ What was your biggest obstacle back then?
I would say that one of the obstacles at that time was to differentiate myself from other friends who had already sorted out their future jobs starting in April. I completed the applications and applied to postgraduate school in the beginning of April. From that time to my departure in September, I was working part-time to make some money for tuition fees and to cover the cost of living in the UK.
7/ What is your impression of your graduate school life?
Overall my impression of graduate school life was that it was busy and tough, but also a fulfilling experience. The amount I need to read a day and study was a lot more than I had expected. On the first day of one course, I was given a thick and heavy reading for just the first semester and it had around 30 pages of readings per day. On the other hand, I had also worked at the university and for the Tourism Office of Oxford throughout my academic year. It was a great opportunity to gain working experience in the field of my interest and I have made many friends from both inside and outside of university.
8/ Do you have any messages to APU students?
No matter what career path you pursue, please follow your dream and never give up before trying. Taking small steps forward will get you closer to your goal at the same time it will open up new possibilities. I believe that APU students have the courage to take these steps. I wish all of you the very best of luck in your future endeavors!