How did you find out about Erasmus (study abroad)?
It was an initiative I already knew about, but I found out more about it at Coventry University through the Global Leaders Programme arranged by the Centre for Global Engagement.
Why did you decide to undertake the opportunity?
I didn’t want my background (being a lower class, disabled, LGBT+, formerly homeless and a care leaver) to hold me back from any opportunity whilst I was at university. I had already been involved in so much at Coventry University, winning awards such as Student of the Year, but I wanted to add even more to my repertoire; living in a different country for a year is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Once you’d decided you’d spend a year abroad, what was it that attracted you to Luxembourg?
I chose the University of Luxembourg for several reasons. It is the only university in the Grand Duchy, which is also one of the capitals of the European Union, situated at the heart of Europe. The location and multilingual nature of the country and university attracted me, as did the opportunity to study different academic fields not related to my degree- History and Politics- at Coventry University, such as linguistics, literature, languages and philosophy.
What does a typical day of study look like there?
A typical day for me includes two to four lectures each day, followed by revision or assignments at the library or at home. This is then sometimes followed by some extracurricular activities, such as Tai Chi, Ju Jitsu, the Erasmus Student Network and other student associations.
I understand you’ve become LGBT+ President at the University of Luxembourg. Could you tell us more about how that came about?
My current tenure as the inaugural President of the University of Luxembourg LGBT+ Student’s Association came about because I have a long history representing LGBT+ people, as well as representing other marginalised communities. I’ve previously been President of the Coventry University LGBTQIA+ society, President of another LGBT+ society in another institution, and the Vice-Chair of Coventry Pride, of which I still am a Trustee.
I was shocked that there was no safe space for LGBT+ students at the university here, Luxembourg is rather conservative, and so I decided to set up the association to provide a safe space and campaign for our rights. We have received a lot of support within the university and beyond, and already have dozens of members. I’ve been elected as a board member for Rosa Lëtzebuerg, the national LGBT+ organisation in Luxembourg, and organiser for Luxembourg Pride- opportunities that have arisen through networking in my time here.
What has been the highlight of your time in Luxembourg so far?
Highlights so far include being invited to speak to the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg about issues relating to mental health, domestic violence and gender identity, appearing on Luxembourgish National Television to talk about the university, being able to get involved in the national LGBT+ movement and being able to study and pass subjects which I had never thought I’d be able to take at higher education.