Staff Member Spotlight: Amalia Winyard-Teixeira

Title
Global Opportunities Assistant

What is your favorite travel memory?

During my Year Abroad, I was given the opportunity to participate in a two-day cultural exchange organised by the British consulate in St. Petersburg to travel to Arkhangelsk and meet students from the Northern (Artic) Federal University. I and eleven other students flew to Arkhangelsk on a bitterly cold but beautiful December weekend and were shown round the university and the city by NArFU students.

The chance to get to know the students, who were unfailingly welcoming and kind to us, and to explore such an intriguing part of Russia was an unforgettable and hugely enjoyable experience.

Did you study abroad in school? If not, what inspired you to work in international education?

As part of my Russian Studies degree, I spent a Year Abroad in St Petersburg. It was one of the most eye-opening and adventure-filled years of my life and has certainly been a motivating factor in my decision to work in international education. I had incredible experiences, like volunteering at the State Hermitage Museum, and made some wonderful friendships.

I can genuinely and whole-heartedly recommend studying abroad to students who are weighing up whether or not to do this, as I understand some of the rewards and challenges which this kind of experience can bring.

How has working in international education made a positive impact on your life?

The international education sphere is a very positive one to work in in general, as its main focus is on students' growth and development and the building of links and positive relations with people from other cultures and backgrounds. I really enjoy meeting the students we welcome from all over the world and knowing that we as a team are facilitating an experience which the vast majority of students will find immensely enriching and rewarding.

What is the best story you've heard from a student who is studying abroad at your university?

A lot of students on the Study Abroad program take the opportunity to travel to other parts of the UK and Europe during weekends and holidays (often in groups of friends they have made here), and it's great to hear the impressions they have gained of the cities they've ventured to and the things they have enjoyed or found surprising about these places.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

As staff, we receive regular updates on all the exciting and innovative research being undertaken by Bristol staff and students, and it's really inspiring to work in such a motivating environment. Not only is Bristol a hugely well-respected university, but it is also based in what is arguably one of the most lively and culturally open-minded cities in the UK, which gives students studying here a genuinely interesting array of experiences to get involved in.

I'm very proud of the Global Opportunities team on a daily basis as my colleagues are constantly striving to make the programme better and to make sure that all students have a really positive experience of studying here.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in creating an excellent experience for study abroad students?

Whilst there are a lot of factors which go into creating an amazing study abroad experience (like the quality of the institution, location and feel of the city etc.), I think the most important factor comes from the students themselves. If a student is prepared to dive into an environment which is (potentially very) unfamiliar to them, make the most of the new opportunities presented to them and to proactively get involved in the life of the university and city they have moved to, it's highly likely that they will have a brilliant time studying abroad.