Global Bede's: International University - Jessica Sparkes

Jessica Sparkes

Jessica Sparkes a former Blooms girl from 2010 to 2013, is currently studying International Business Management at The Hague University of Applied Science. 

How did Bede's help you prepare for studies at University abroad?

The international environment of Bede's was helpful in preparing for different cultures. For example, I am about to do my exchange semester in Munich, and there are many German students at Bede's so I am aware of their cultural differences before going to Munich which makes it easier to integrate.


What advice would you give a current Bede's student who has ambitions to go to study at a university abroad?

If you are currently considering studying abroad you are half way there, as many students think it's harder studying in a different country because of language difficulties, long distances, cultural change, but if you're open-minded then these factors don't matter. For example, I am studying in The Netherlands but there are people from Canada, Indonesia, Germany, and America in my class so I wouldn't feel language and cultural change are barriers in any way.


Why did you choose to go to an international University rather than a University in the UK?

I chose to study abroad because I am studying international business and wanted a University experience that allowed me to travel a lot. As I already mentioned, I am going to Munich on exchange this semester, and straight after that I can go abroad again for an internship of 6 months. I struggled to find a course in the UK that exposed me to such an international environment. I also enjoy challenging myself and moving abroad has definitely challenged me.


What are your fondest memories of your time at Bede's School?

I actually really liked the campus itself; in summer it's so nice to sit outside with people… and actually have the time to do that!


What are your least fond memories?

Probably standing in line for school lunch… it got pretty cold.


What was your greatest achievement whilst at Bede's?

I wanted to get an A in my A2 business because that was my favourite subject, and I did so I'm quite proud of that. Also being part of the marketing team to create the school magazine was good experience for my degree.


Who were your favourite teachers at school and why?

All the teachers at Bede's put extra effort in and I appreciate everything they did. Business Studies was my favourite subject and Mr Rimmington and Mr McKeefry were my teachers for that, so I have them to thank for introducing me to the world of business!


What were your particular hobbies or interests at School?

I was part of the student marketing team at Bede's for the magazine, I also liked using the gym/sports facilities.


Do they feature in your life now?

I am currently undertaking an internship at an advertising agency in London and the experience I gained from the Bede's magazine team has helped me understand how to work with creatives and meet deadlines.


How did your experiences as a pupil at Bede's influence the paths you have followed in life?

One memorable experience from Bede's was when I went on a school trip with the business department to ASOS head-office. When I was walking around their head-office I realised I definitely want a career in marketing so that school trip definitely influenced the path I've followed in my life so far.


Is there any one person who has had a particular influence on you and the decisions you have made in your life?

My parents always influenced me to be ambitious so I partly have them to thank for me studying abroad and making certain decisions.


Where are you at University and what are you studying?

The Hague University of applied sciences, studying international business management and a minor in brand management.


What are your plans for the future?

This year I plan to undergo another internship at an international company, next year I graduate, and after that perhaps a master's degree.


What were the challenges you faced going to University abroad?

Being independent was a big challenge. Being abroad meant I couldn't just drive home on the weekend so I had to get used to being away from friends and family. I think I was well prepared before going to University so I didn't find too many challenges. 


If you were to offer advice to any Bedian who is just heading off to University, what would it be?

Talk to as many people as possible when you get there to network and socialise, and completely immerse yourself into the University life...