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Sussex University: internationally acknowledged

So it looks like Sussex University is up there with the best of them.

Congratulations are in order as recently, it emerged that our University is joint 46th place in the world, according to the Times Higher Education Magazine.

Last year, Sussex University was in 55th place. The magazine has said, “a university’s international outlook matters” and “both the diversity of a university’s student body and the extent to which its academics collaborate with international colleagues are signs of how global an institution really is.”

Sussex has been branded as one of the lucky elite; one of the top 400 universities from a considerable wealth of 3,000 universities across the entire globe.

This is taking into account factors such as the percentage of international staff and students and the percentage of research papers published with at least one co-author from another country.

Sussex currently has around 20% of International students and members of staff from over 50 different countries.

The University’s Director of Student recruitment Marcus Williams has said: “We are rightly proud of the contribution our international students and staff make to our teaching and learning experience and to our research environment at Sussex. Our One World Week celebrations in spring 2015 will once again celebrate the richness and diversity of our international campus community.”

The One World celebrations will build on this appreciation of Sussex’s strong international core. Katherine Stevens, who is a second year psychology student, said: “the feeling of community at the University is definitely always prominent around campus. The fact that is has been hailed as one of the best in the world is amazing and a deserved title”, which is a statement I would have to agree with.

The ‘internationality’ of our University shows the world-class status that it has achieved because of its departure from the traditional, red-brick label. To me, this is an incredibly important facet in today’s society when it comes to an institution of education. This is, therefore, brilliant news in terms of modernity.

To be of world class status, as Sussex now is, means that it has to be on the pulse of the ever-changing globe and I believe that it is because we all know how radical and contemporary Sussex dares to be (recent events such as The Sussex Five).

Marcus Williams also revealed that between 2009 to 2014, the international recruitment performance was the most improved of any research intensive university and there has been a steady rise of 40% in welcoming overseas doctoral students.

“Why would you wanna go university? I can’t think of anything worse”. This is one of the many remarks I received from pupils at my comprehensive school when I was doing my GCSEs and in sixth form doing A-levels.

In my school-year, I was one of the only students to take an interest in the prospect of university.

I had always wanted to go ever since the days I had spent in classrooms dressed in my gingham dresses and constantly quoting (to my annoyed peers) that ‘Knowledge is Power’.

I had no idea where, I just knew that I wanted to go as a stepping stone into the big, (scary), wide world.

University has, until now, proven to be a challenge for someone like me. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that a lot of students here aren’t all from grammar schools or independent institutions, and cannot be placed into one of society’s ‘one size fits all’ boxes.

But no one, I repeat no one, prepares you for having to get rid of insects by yourself without the help of mum picking one up off the floor for you (I tend to use hairspray and a hoover now to be on the safe side. It’s an important life lesson, I swear).

I can never forget the day when I found out that I would be attending Sussex for the next three years until I was 21.

I had been on a morning run seeing as I had been wide awake staring at the ceiling with a million thoughts running through my mind the entire night before.

My mum had to check the dreaded UCAS website seeing as I refused to do it myself and, being the pessimist that I am, I had told myself that I wouldn’t get into a university as prestigious and politically charged as this one.

Not only this, but it is now more prestigious for me with its high international ranking.

This was because of where I went to school and my irrational fears of not feeling good or clever enough. I ran to the kitchen to busy myself, pretending that this wasn’t the single most important thing that had happened in my life so far.

Hearing a few frantic clicks, my mum yelled, “YOU’RE IN!” from behind the computer screen. After a considerable amount of time dancing around the house screaming in my underwear, a few snapchats and, of course, some tears of happiness and sheer adrenaline rushing through my body: I stopped to think about how proud I was of myself.

It may be over-exaggerating to some people but the sheer pride and hard work that had gone into my application, the building up to it, and now finally the entrance into a University like this one was enough to make me faint with happiness.

When I had initially visited Sussex campus on one of their open days, I fell in love with everything about the place.

The campus, the setting, the people, and, as cringe-worthy as it sounds, the general pull that felt like I belonged there. I had finally found a University that fitted finding my individual place in the world.

Days after the visit were spent looking at the prospectus and imagining a new life moving away from home. I couldn’t think about anywhere else and, like a crush; Sussex had me hook, line and sinker.

I remember seeing the library and picturing myself as a student running up the stairs excited at another full day spent working and gaining knowledge (it hasn’t quite turned out like that…).

But the point is that I went away that day with a determination that I could get into somewhere as wonderful as this institution and I have never looked back.

As a result of this new, highly-ranked international status, to be a part of a University as modern and funky as this one, which is now 46th in the whole world ‘is no mean feat’, as Marcus Williams says.

It makes all the crying over essays, exams and people taking the mickey out of my Kent accent frequently (no, I am not from Essex) completely worth it.

Well done to our amazing Sussex. Long may she reign!

Charlotte Wade

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