Life on Campus: an interview of a fellow postgraduate student

by Amy Oloo

As a distance-learning postgraduate student, I have always wondered what life on campus would be like. I decided to ask my fellow postgraduate student Franco Escobar a few questions to get an accurate picture of the campus experience. Here’s what Franco told me...

What has been your highlights of studying on campus?

I believe that, despite the social restrictions that resulted from the pandemic, being here has allowed me to create a network of colleagues and friends who I already foresee will play very important roles in my future.

Some of them are my flat mates and some others are classmates or other acquaintances I met as a result of being physically here. You would be surprised by the number of ways in which the people you live with can contribute to your personal and professional growth despite being from different academic backgrounds.

For example, my friend Zach (who studies philosophy) recently founded his own association and he invited me to be an active member/supporter of their initiatives. We are currently working on volunteering opportunities to help the homeless here in Lancaster, which is something I would only be able to do by being here. Likewise, another friend of mine writes poetry and has agreed to write a couple verses for me to use as verbal representations of the phenomenon I am studying in my dissertation: trafficking.

So, the greatest highlight of being here on campus has been the people I’ve met. And this, I am sure, is only likely to keep getting better during the last months of my stay here.

How has your experience been as compared to your expectations?

Amazing! Before coming here, I was a bit afraid that I would not get as much as I wanted academically and professionally, especially coming from a country like Mexico and having done a huge investment to be able to come. I am really excited about going back home and sharing with friends and family all the knowledge, lessons and skills I obtained while being here.

Professionally, I was afraid of not finding a job here, and now I even have two. Academically, I was afraid of not having enough events or opportunities. But in contrast, I will be presenting one of my essays in an academic conference in June and I sent another paper to apply for another conference. So, perhaps I will be presenting two papers this year. And personally, I have definitely grown with all the skills and projects I launched this year. For example, I created a podcast for the university and I am now learning bachata, which is important because I love dancing and social life with dancing communities.

What has stood out to you about living on campus?, what could’ve been improved? What has it been like for you as an international student? Have other students left and has that been lonely? Has there been a sense of community during this time?

I think I should have bought a bike. I love walking to town and reading while I go do my groceries, however, sometimes I think that I could save some time if I had a bike instead. However, I really love walking around town and the canal.

Something that stood out about living here was the rain for sure. For those reading this, if you plan to come here, do bring a water-proof jacket and boots. As an international student it may be a bit sad when you see other students going back home when you are not planning to do so. However, I have been truly supported by other students, Lancaster University staff and faculty here. So, I have never felt lonely or alone living here.

There are, for example, free food events where you can book a day and time to go and pick up a delicious treat on campus. Or also, there are plenty of activities like free boot camps for exercising, meditating or even counseling. So, for me, it’s been great.

What services are available to students on campus? For instance in student residences, or help with essay writing etc?

Well, there is plenty of services. Students who are not very comfortable writing in academic English can take workshops to help improve their writing skills and receive feedback on their progress. But also, more specifically talking about myself, I have taken various workshops because I wanted to have extracurricular skills our of personal curiosity. For example, I now know how to use Adobe Rush and I have operated professional cameras, and broadcasting devices, thanks to my participation as a volunteer at the Roses Unlocked competition on campus. This event is the annual sporting varsity between York and Lancaster, and I was able to cover the arching and pool competitions. I had always been interested in media, such as radio and TV shows, and having participated in this gave me very practical skills that I can now use if I ever need to broadcast or promote an event of that kind.

Franco’s vivid descriptions have given me a clear picture of what life at Lancaster is like. As a distance learning student, it’s interesting to hear what student life is like from another perspective.

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Amy is studying LLM in Diplomacy and International Law by distance learning at Lancaster University.

Lancaster University employs students to create authentic content from a student perspective. All views expressed in this article are those of the students, and do not necessarily reflect the views or position of Lancaster University.