Olivia Homewood

Hometown & Region: Brighton, Sussex

Degree: History and Spanish

IB: History, Spanish, English (Higher), Maths, Biology, Philosophy (Standard)

Year of study: First Year

When I’m not working I’m…

…Having endless cups of tea with people, going to see friends in plays, occasionally going sailing, going out, spending evenings in the bar, talking to Argentineans, spending time doing nothing in particular with friends…

What made you choose to study at Brasenose and/or Oxford?

I remember coming to an open day at Oxford just to have a look. I never thought I’d end up coming here, and had no idea Brasenose even existed till I stumbled in at the end of the day. All the students were really friendly and normal, and took an interest in me and what I wanted to study- more so than they had been in other colleges that day- and this made me decide to give applying a go.

Is life in Oxford different to what you expected it to be?

Yes and no. I think I was always aware of the fact that it would be a lot of hard work, and I’m not going to lie- there is a lot to do. I think I thought that everyone would be extremely clever and obsessive about studying- most care about work- but it is not the centre of most people’s lives. Oxford is a really cool place to be, and I didn’t realise just how much there is going on here aside from the academic. I never thought that Brasenose itself would be such a tight-knit community and for me this, and the friendships that I have, is the best thing about being here and something that I had not imagined.

What do you like most about studying in Brasenose?

I think in terms of studying the tutors are the best thing. It is great being able to be taught pretty much one-on-one with world experts. All of them, (given that some are fairly eccentric), are very supportive and want you to learn and develop. They care about your progress and are also human beings who do, although they will push you hard academically, care about you on a pastoral level as well. Having good relationships with my tutors is what I like most about studying at Brasenose.

A quality you think is important for someone looking to study at Oxford?

You’ll be much happier here if you take as calm and relaxed an approach to work as possible. As I’ve already said, I won’t gloss over the fact that Oxford is a pressured environment when it comes to studying. If you are able to remain chilled, and have a good sense of perspective understanding that work is important and that you need to balance it with free-time- you’ll enjoy life more here.

What are the perks of your degree?

I guess getting to study the subjects that I love, although I do moan about the workload sometimes. You meet interesting people through doing languages (it’s amazing how many people speak Spanish in Oxford) and one of the best things is the year abroad in your 3rd year as a linguist. I’m able to  go to any Spanish speaking county for up to 15 months to really get to grips with the language, living in a foreign country when you’re young is something that few people ever get to do.