First written by Afroditi Sakellaropoulou for the Histoy at Essex blog.

My time at the University of Essex, as well as in the Department of History has on multiple occasions been described as ‘incredibly busy’, and as my three years as an undergraduate slowly draw to a close, this description seems apt in my reflections on my time here. My name is Afroditi Sakellaropoulou, I am Greek (as obvious by the name) and I am taking the BA History with Human Rights.

The first time I ever stepped foot on English soil (or any foreign soil for that matter), was the day before Arrivals 2017. I remember sleeping for about three minutes in a hastily booked hotel and arriving bright and early to move into the Towers. I’d chosen Essex partly for the rare opportunity to conduct research as part of my degree, but mostly for the sense of community it seemed to radiate even from 10k miles away. I came to square three, ready to experience it. Essex has not disappointed me.

As a student here I have received every opportunity I could think of and beyond. Throughout my time in Essex, I have been involved in a number of projects in both a paid and volunteer capacity. From the accommodation team, as a Resident’s Assistant and an Accommodation Representative to collaborating with the wellbeing team to hold workshops and deliver Active Bystander Training to students to becoming a Project Leader, and coordinate a program helping disadvantaged learners in the community, my time here has been a whirlwind of incredible experiences. The History Department has been nothing short of amazing, as they have given me the chance to conduct research on areas of my interest, be a Peer Mentor to new members of the University and this year connect with them as a Student Ambassador.

I came to Essex at 17, hoping to make a few friends, do some research and learn about Human Rights. I am coming out at 20, a changed person, ready to bring change.