Ana tells how Partners in learning helped her realise why she was unhappy on her course and how the project empowered her to do something about it.

Hi, my name is Ana. I am a mature EU student and a student with disabilities.I am currently studying in my 2nd year on a BA in Counselling, Coaching and Mentoring.

Coming to university was one of the most terrifying and exciting times of my life.

I did not know English very well when I decided to come to Christ Church.I began to learn English just 5 months before starting this course. How crazy was I??

At the beginning of this year, I was invited to work with the Partners in Learning team, working on the Student Guide to the Learning & Teaching Strategy.

Although I loved my course and my studies had been going well I sometimes felt an unexplained anxiety.

It was only during one of our meetings, after I had begun to explore the strategy that I began to understand some of the reasons for my anxiety.

I was feeling that I didn’t fit in at the University, I did not feel part of a wider community.

Words like: belonging, nurtured, equality, global citizenship, engagement …were all very empowering to me.These were all words from the Learning & Teaching strategy.

Suddenly, I had a better understanding of my position within my course and my place within a community of learners at the University.

Now I really felt part of something special…I was so excited!!!

I studied the 9 key principles of the strategy. I reflected on them until they made sense to my situation and with the support of some members of the team, I took positive steps to embrace opportunities to get more involved with extra-curricular activities. I became a peer-mentor and a student ambassador. This has translated outside of the University too, in my many volunteering activities, such as a befriender and a counsellor.

Phrases like “Cultural diversity” had a huge impact on my perception and helped me to feel accepted by the University, by my lecturers and by this amazing team.

Working with this team, engaging with the University and the learning strategy, have helped me to gain confidence and a determination to succeed.

I have more power than I thought!

Ana Garrancho