So on Friday, I attended the very dignified graduation ceremony for my MA Degree.
I obtained an MA – Master of Arts Degree at the University of Chester.
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?
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!
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?
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!
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!
- 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 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!
- 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.
I’m sorely tempted to do a PhD qualification myself!
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?
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!
I was delighted but in shock.
In six (6) weeks.
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.
Permission was granted.
But then, I had to buy him a new suit too!
THE CONGREGATION FOR THE PRESENTATION OF DEGREES AND AWARDS CEREMONY.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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 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”
“With Authority. I declare this ceremony open.”
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!
We were guided to the left-hand side of the platform and expected to walk in a continuous procession.
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!
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!
Cue more photographs!
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!
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
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.
It was rather splendid.
It was rather a wonderful day!
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!
Watch this space!
Which aspect of the ceremony did you find fascinating? Have you ever had, or thought of an English education?
See you in Berlin.
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