A short story about Brianna 'Allie' Morris. Sports scholar, studying M.A. Criminology at the University of Essex, 2023/24.

At the age of 22, Allie, a spirited American student and athlete hailing from Brandenburg, Kentucky, embarked on a life-altering adventure that would take her from the heart of America to the shores of England.

With a background in statistics and an appetite for rugby, Allie's journey to the University of Essex is an inspiring story in the pursuit of studies and sporting excellence.

Chapter 1: An American Dream Takes Flight

For Allie, the idea of leaving the familiar comforts of her hometown on the Indiana border was both thrilling and nerve-wracking. Her curiosity and desire to take her rugby skills to new heights led her across the pond to England. It marked her first voyage beyond the borders of the United States, and she was eager to embrace a new culture, a new academic challenge, and an opportunity to play rugby in a different hemisphere.

Chapter 2: Bridging Academics and Athletics

Allie's journey to the University of Essex is a story of academic ambition merging with her passion for rugby. Armed with a Bachelor of Science in Statistics from the University of Georgia, she made the choice to join the university’s prestigious Sociology department at Essex, to study a Master of Arts in Criminology.

“Essex was the first university to accept my application and offer me a spot in a Criminology program with a Statistics degree, which showed the university understands how valuable my degree is for Criminology!”

Her dedication to the field, combined with her statistical prowess, makes her an invaluable asset to the program.

Chapter 3: A Home Away from Home

Discovering a university with a nurturing environment that prioritises the well-being of its students was an important part of the final decision-making for Allie. The welcoming staff and prompt responses illustrate Essex's commitment to fostering a supportive community: an assurance that she had made the right choice, even though she was thousands of miles away from home.

“Any time throughout the process I had a question or concern, the university was super quick to answer or would let me know that someone was looking for the answer if it wasn't immediately available. Furthermore, the huge community aspect of the university that is offered through the sports programmes and Student Union was very attractive to me as a potential international student at the time of choosing a university.”

Chapter 4: A Rugby Scholar's Dream

One of the most compelling reasons Allie chose the University of Essex was her passion for rugby. A utility forward on the field, she had dreams of honing her skills in a competitive and supportive environment. Essex's sports programmes and the vibrant Student Union aided a sense of belonging.

“Being offered the Sports Performance Scholarship was truly the icing on the cake! Being in a well-supported rugby programme was a huge reason for choosing to come to England in the first place, so Essex made the decision to come here that much easier by offering me the scholarship to help lead me towards my goal of becoming a better overall player.”

Chapter 5: The Journey Ahead

As Allie delves into her MA in Criminology and immerses herself in the lively campus culture at Essex, she eagerly anticipates the adventures ahead.

“I'm greatly looking forward to engaging with campus culture, the resources that Essex has made available to me through my sports performance scholarship, and seeing what England as a whole has to offer!”

Allie's story exemplifies the significance of following your passions and the opportunities that await those who dare to venture. From the banks of the Ohio River to the shores of the North Sea, this is a reminder that with determination, support, and a thirst for new experiences, the world is your playground to experience.

Find out more about the rugby programme at Essex.

Sports scholarships and bursaries

We are committed to supporting and developing high performance athletes. Find out whether you could be eligible for a sports scholarship or bursary, plus a range of additional benefits too when you join the University of Essex.