An English Education: The misadventures of a post-graduate student at the University of Chester.

I'm an MA graduate from the University of Chester. Whoopee!
I’m an MA graduate from the University of Chester.
Whoopee!

So on Friday, I attended the very dignified graduation ceremony for my MA Degree.

Yep!

I obtained an MA – Masters of Art Degree at the University of Chester.

In Chester.

In England!

My specialisation was in Education Management and Training. A bit like an MBA for teachers!

I am extremely pleased.

And very proud!

WHY A MASTERS DEGREE?

My Master of Arts Degree! University of Chester.
My Master of Arts Degree!
University of Chester.

Why not?

As I told you, a few weeks ago, my first degree was obtained at an elite university abroad, with a BSc. honours degree in Political Science! I then did a Masters Degree at Durham University which is the 3rd oldest university in England!

However, all of this really was a very long time ago… and since then, I’ve spent a lot of time as the Regional Project Manager starting up an educational business in both Prague (the Czech Republic) and Bratislava (Slovakia). Then I became a senior education consultant and head-hunter in the UK, which eventually led to the previous position of school headship and management in Berlin.

Over the years, I’ve been awfully busy!

Life Coach

I used to be an ex-school head and manager!

Now I’m a corporate inter-cultural life coach and an educational English language trainer and teacher in Berlin, as well as being an International Social Media Lifestyle & Professional Travel Blogger!

I love teaching and training others, but after a while, your mind starts to get mushy and a thirst for more learning develops.

Cue, a second Masters Degree.

At the University of Chester!

Yes, I’m not afraid to say it, I’m somewhat of a boffin and a geek!

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THE UNIVERSITY OF CHESTER?

A view of the Penhaligon's shop sign from The Rows in Chester!
A view of the Penhaligon’s shop sign from The Rows in Chester!

OMG!

Because Chester!

Chester is a small city in the county of Cheshire and is very close to the tiny country of Wales!

It has an effortless combination of history and heritage and is a very old Roman city founded in AD79 in the Roman province of Britannia, over-flowing with history, glory and rich archaeological and architectural treasures from the era of Roman occupation!

A part of the old Bridge and Wall in Chester!
A part of the old Bridge and Wall in Chester!

Not only was Chester an old Roman fort, but it was one of the last cities to fall to the French Normans and also boast of one of the best  preserved walled cities in Britain. In fact, part of that old Roman wall was just outside my Faculty window!

Lyme Park © Visit Britain - Joe Wainwright. Cheshire County Council.
Lyme Park
© Visit Britain – Joe Wainwright.
Cheshire County Council.
  • The student population in Chester itself is small with just 2,500, although the university as a whole has a population of about 17,000 students throughout all their campuses based in Warrington and Chester!
  • It’s pretty and was voted the fifth prettiest city in Europe (USA Today 2013)!
  • It’s very livable and was voted the sixth best city in the UK (Telegraph Travel Awards 2014)!
  • It’s easy to access being that it’s right in the centre of Manchester, Liverpool, Cheshire and the countryside of North Wales!
  • My brother lives in Cheshire.
  • There is countryside all around being that Chester is a part of the most beautiful county of Cheshire.
  • Although Chester has all the modern amenities of a contemporary modern town, it still has all the charm of a traditional and most historical ye olde England!
  • The University of Chester is entwined with the success and the future of the city of Chester.
  • It’s Town and Gown.

How could I not want to study at the University of Chester!

THE UNIVERSITY OF CHESTER – THE FACTS!

The entrance to my campus - Riverside - University of Chester.
The entrance to my campus – Riverside – University of Chester.
  • The University of Chester has been making history since 1839, when it was founded by pioneers such as the great 19th-century British Prime minister – William Gladstone, the Earl of Derby and a former Archbishop of Canterbury!
  • It is the fifth (5th) oldest English higher education establishment of any kind, pre-dating all but Oxford, Cambridge, London and Durham! Its’ oldest original buildings in the ancient city of Chester were the first in the UK to be purpose-built for the professional training of teachers!
Historic surroundings at the University of Chester.
Historic surroundings at the University of Chester.
  • In the 20th Century however, the University of Chester offers a wide variety of course combinations and education degrees are now just a small part of what the university has to provide.
  • Students are drawn from the United Kingdom, Europe and overseas, particularly in France, Germany, Spain, Finland, Australia, the United States, India, China, Nigeria, Georgia, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Thailand, Saudia Arabia and Malaysia!
  • MPhil and PhD qualifications are a growing area of activity with the emphasis very much on research that has practical benefits, both economically and culturally with University work being of great development and connections with industry, commerce and the professions, well-respected in the field.
Back to school again!
Back to school again!

I’m sorely tempted to do a PhD qualification myself!

I know!

WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?

I was two (2) points short of Distinction!
I was two (2) points short of Distinction!

In January, I got the confirmation that my final dissertation had been marked and confirmed, by the External Examiner, and that I met the university requirements of an MA qualification.

I was two (2) points short of Distinction!

Then six (6) weeks ago!

Just six (6) weeks ago, I was invited to confirm my attendance at the University of Chester Graduation Ceremony to be held at Chester Cathedral!

The date?

Friday, March 17th!

My personal Congregation Invitation card for the University of Chester.
My personal Congregation Invitation card for the University of Chester.

I was delighted but in shock.

In six (6) weeks.

OMG!

Panic ensued!

Oh dear! What to do!
Oh dear! What to do!

Flights needed to be booked. The academic gown needed to be booked. Days off had to be booked. A fancy restaurant in Chester had to be booked. My husbands’ expensive Italian suit – The Music Producer – had to be dry-cleaned. My brother – The Book Writer – had to be contacted. The Congregation invitation cards for my guests had to be booked. The After-Drinks Graduation Celebration tickets had to be reserved. I had to buy a new dress!

But most importantly, “The Tall Young Gentleman” had to have permission to be taken out of the elite German school that he presently attends.

Not an easy task.

I resorted to sending all my MA confirmation letters, the graduation guide brochure. And begging!

It worked.

Permission was granted.

I had to buy him a new suit too!

THE CONGREGATION FOR THE PRESENTATION OF DEGREES AND AWARDS CEREMONY.

Pomp & Circumstance - The Town Crier in Chester!
Pomp & Circumstance – The Town Crier in Chester!

We arrived in England the day before and once we got to my brothers’ house in Cheshire, we proceeded to go to Chester, as I still had to pick up my academic gown!

My academic gown came from the 1689 Royal robe-maker Ede & Ravenscroft; thought to be the oldest firm of tailors in the world. It has been in operation for some 320 years due to its unique family lineage and sense of British excellence!

Think an establishment similar to Ollivander’s: Makers of Fine Wands in Harry Potter!

My academic gown came from the 1689 Royal robe-maker Ede & Ravenscroft!
My academic gown came from the 1689 Royal robe-maker Ede & Ravenscroft!

And I paid a handsome £51.00 or €66.00 for the privilege.

The graduation ceremony was a formal affair so the appropriate academic dress had to be worn at the ceremony, without which the graduand would not be presented with their award.

The ceremony was to begin in Chester Cathedral at 10:30, with seating being completed 30 minutes before the ceremony was to begin.

We arrived in Chester a little after 09:00 and then proceeded to look for parking which we found, via the local shopping center!

Outside the Town Hall in Chester.
Outside the Town Hall in Chester.

Once we parked the car, we then proceeded to go the Town Hall and take as many photographs as we could.

It was actually rather sunny so it wasn’t an issue running around with just a flimsy dress on and a pair of black kitten heels!

After we had exhausted ourselves with photographs, we had to split up as I had to go to the Abbey Square Entrance of the Cathedral and my family had to go to the St. Werburgh Street (West Door) Entrance!

Tudor architecture & very cobbled stones!
Tudor architecture & very cobbled stones!

We had to walk on very cobbled stones and I was grateful that I hadn’t brought my other shoes instead as I probably wouldn’t be able to walk!

Once we went through the arched doorway, we were directed to a corridor beneath the Cathedral and to the ushers who checked where we were to be seated.

All graduates were seated in the middle of the Cathedral with family and friends at the side. As well as large flat screen so that people could see the proceedings as the Cathedral has a lot of ancient pillars!

I was allocated to seat 227 sitting in the midst of other Master of Arts graduands from the Faculty of Education!

And at 10:30 on the dot the ceremony began.

Trumpet Fanfare at the University of Chester!
Trumpet Fanfare at the University of Chester!

First there was a Trumpet Fanfare in which the bespoke fanfare banners of the University of Chester were produced. Dressed in the Royal Colours of the Queens Guard, the dignified occasion began with a herald of trumpets.

The Procession was preceded by an Usher dressed in Uniform, holding a gold gilt staff and mace, and a dignified walk.

The Procession of Distinguished & Academic guests through the town of Chester!
The Procession of Distinguished & Academic guests through the town of Chester!

The distinguished and academic guests such as the Vice-Chancellor Professor Tim Wheeler, the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Chester, the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Warrington, the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Shrewsbury, the Sheriff of Cheshire, the Lord Bishop of Chester, the Dean of Chester, and the Honorary Graduand – Mr. Colin Daniels – were present and dressed in full graduation regalia, 15th century distinctive robes, coloured hoods, armorial bearings, badges, frilly shirts, chains and cocked hats!

After that we did a bit of singing and a bit of prayer.

The Official Opening was rendered with:

“Permissum vicis in eo”

or

“With Authority. I declare this ceremony open.”

The Vice Chancellor of the University of Chester. Professor Tim Wheeler.
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Chester.
Professor Tim Wheeler.

And an Address made by the Vice-Chancellor of the University.

After that, the Ushers directed the row of graduands at the appropriate time as to when to start discreetly walking to the edge of the Cathedral.

Each and every graduand present was called forward and named.

My part came about half-way through the proceedings, and feeling a bit sweaty, I too walked on the ancient cobbled flagstones, and tried not to stumble and fall!

Waving profusely, and grinning away!
Waving profusely, and grinning away!

We were guided to the left-hand side of the platform and expected to walk in a continuous procession. I managed to pass by The Music Producer, “The Tall Young Gentleman” and my brother – The Book Writer – who were waving profusely, and grinning away!

Full MA Academic Robe, Hood, and Classical Cap at the Graduation Ceremony at the University of Chester!!
Full MA Academic Robe, Hood, and Classical Cap at the Graduation Ceremony at the University of Chester!!

The Ushers once again adjusted our robes, as my hood was rather alarmingly beginning to slip down, and off my shoulders!

We walked up a wooden ramp where another Usher whispered instructions to me. I was to walk steadily forward. Shake the Vice-Chancellors (VC) hand, wait for his speech, shake hands again, and then walk steadily off.

Shakingly, I did just that.

And tried not to smile too wildly.

I don’t think I succeeded but one fellow even managed to get in a selfie with the VC!

So I’m good!

I had about 15 seconds of academic fame as my name was called forward first, on the top of the ceremonial list!

Photography & Camera.

There was a photographer and a camera-man discreetly placed on the left-hand side of the VC and then I was helped off by an Usher, wearing ceremonial white gloves.

There was a table discreetly placed and I was given my hard-sought for Master of Arts certificate, before proceeding back to my seat again!

There was a Conferment of a Honorary Degree to as of thereafter – Dr. Colin Daniels – who addressed the Congregation briefly.

At 12:00, there was the Official Closing with a brief prayer and the singing of the British National Anthem.

On a given signal, we too became a part of the official University Procession and were able to leave the Cathedral through the West Door, as Academic Members of the University of Chester.

Into the English sunshine!

The Music Producer, The Tall Young Gentleman, myself, and my brother - The Book Writer outside the Chester Cathedral!
The Music Producer, The Tall Young Gentleman, myself, and my brother – The Book Writer – outside the Chester Cathedral!

Cue more photographs!

CHESTER CATHEDRAL

The most beautiful Chester Cathedral.
The most beautiful Chester Cathedral.

Oh my!

The fact that the Graduation Ceremony took place at Chester Cathedral speaks volumes.

The stunning Chester cathedral was founded as a Benedictine abbey in 1092 and the original church was built in the Romanesque or Norman style and rebuilt from around 1250 onwards in the Gothic style.

A process that took almost 275 years!

Outside the Chester Cathedral.
Outside the Chester Cathedral.

With the most complete set of monastic buildings in England, a Georgian square and series of streets, the remains of a Roman barracks, a Falconry, a Nature Garden, Organ Recitals, hosting of the finest choirs in the country, the largest open green spaces within the boundaries of the Chester Walls, and the only surviving ecclesiastical courtroom in the country.

We were in splendid company!

AFTER THE CEREMONY

Wood Pigeon - Wirral shot wood pigeon breast, pigeon tagine sauce, falafel, olives, rhubarb, apricot, pomegranate, medjool dates, couscous & corriander from The Chef's Table in Chester! Yum!
Wood Pigeon – Wirral shot wood pigeon breast, pigeon tagine sauce, falafel, olives, rhubarb, apricot, pomegranate, medjool dates, couscous & corriander from The Chef’s Table in Chester!
Yum!

After the ceremony, we went for drinks hosted by my faculty at the Crowne Plaza Hotel nearby, and then for lunch at a lovely family run restaurant called The Chefs Table.

A wooden platter of cheese with a classic garnish, crackers and seasonal chutney at the Chef's Table in Chester!
A wooden platter of cheese with a classic garnish, crackers and seasonal chutney at the Chef’s Table in Chester!

It was rather splendid.

WHAT NEXT?

What's next?
What’s next?

Is it any wonder that I chose to obtain a M.A. in Education Leadership and Management at the University of Chester.

I’m sorely tempted to do a PhD qualification too!

I know!

ANYTHING ELSE?

Lift up your caps!
Lift up your caps!

It was rather a wonderful day!

Have a Pimms on me! Cheers!
Have a Pimms on me!
Cheers!

This article is isn’t sponsored and an English Education, coupled with an MA Masters Degree that I collected, is my very own!

In April, I’ll be going to Portugal and Spain. Olé!

As usual, you can also follow me via daily tweets and pictures on Twitter & FB!

Watch this space!

An English Education - The misadventures of a post-graduate student at the University of Chester.

Which aspect of the ceremony did you find fascinating? Have you ever had, or thought of an English education?

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or if you have any questions about Chester, the University of Chester or England, send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

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23 thoughts on “An English Education: The misadventures of a post-graduate student at the University of Chester.

  1. Congratulations on your accomplishment 🙂 . You looked very nice in your cap and gown, and l’m sure the family is quite proud, as well they should be. The city looks nice, as does the food :-).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much kemkem! My family are proud, and so am I. That was a lot of commuting from Berlin to Chester. Every six (6) weeks lol! Having said that, it was worth it, as Chester is a gorgeous town, and so are the people. 🙂
      p.s. I wish I could have kept my cap and gown. I thought I looked quite dashing! 🙂

      Like

  2. Congratulations on your second Master! I love the level of pomp and circumstance they put into graduation ceremonies in the UK! Chester is such a gorgeous city. I saw it when my daughter was considering applying there and was really rooting for it for the purely selfish reason that it would give me an excuse to visit there a lot. Unfortunately she decided not to apply there. At some point I’ll visit anyway!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Rachel!
      I too love all the pomp, finery & frills. It’s what being British is all about. And bunting lol! Germany has fantastic universities but there’s no ceremony. Just straight to the point plain-speaking congratulations. I don’t even know if they have a Freshers’ Week and all the excitement surrounding moving into student digs, sharing rooms, eating only beans and toast, etc. Sigh!
      I agree. Chester is gorgeous and just so walkable. Do go. You’ll enjoy it! 🙂 🙂
      p.s. Which uni did your daughter opt for in the end?

      Like

  3. Congratulations on your degree! The university really looks like something from Harry Potter:) I’m still working on my degree in medicine in Copenhagen. It was easy enough with all the pre-clinical courses, but this semester, we’re doing 3 months of rather intense clinical rotations, so right now I’m struggling to find enough time for blogging and traveling. Do you think you’ll do the PhD?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Mitzie Mee!
      I think every traditional red-brick British university looks slightly like someething from Harry Potter lol!
      I didn’t know that you were studying medicine you clever girl. 🙂 You’re as bad as I am since you live in Dubai! Honestly speaking, I was doing my Masters before my blogging really took off so it wasn’t too bad, and then I had to really knuckle down. There were times that I didn’t sleep at night ‘cos I was so busy writing 8,000 words assignment lol!
      Do I think ‘ll do a Phd? Probably. I need a break though so I’m not looking at anytime before September 2017! 🙂

      Like

  4. First of all, congratulations girl, what a great milestone. I always knew you were a smart cookie! 🙂 I’ve never been to Chester, but it really seems like a lovely student village!! Yummy food and you always look so happy!!! x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Agness you sweet girl! 🙂 🙂
      Chester is lovely and really fab for students. ‘So glad that I did my Masters’ there lol! And also my family live in Cheshire, so it was a win-win really!!

      Like

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