Staff Spotlight: Mike Chestnutt

Administration Assistant
Mike is a final year Marketing and Management student at the University of Sussex. Having worked as a Residential Advisor for the 2019 University of Sussex Summer School, Mike now supports the Summer School by working as an administrative assistant.

What is your favorite travel memory?

My favourite travel memory is travelling to Florida when I was 11. I was a bundle of energy the entire trip. I chased lizards across the pavement, ate plates of bacon at breakfast buffets and rode space mountain.

My fondest memory of the trip is eating at the Hard Rock Cafe. Being surrounded by memorabilia from my favourite films made the world feel a little smaller. Growing up I was always obsessed with 'The Gremlins', and seeing Gizmo on the wall next to me while I ate chips was beautifully surreal. Even now, when 'The Gremlins' is on the TV, I begin to crave chips.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

I have been opened up to other cultures. As an RA for the Summer School, I was part of a team responsible for the welfare of all enrolled students. This gave me endless opportunities to speak with people from all corners of the world.

I learnt that regardless of creed, culture or country, everyone has their own struggles. I've found that people often just need someone to listen to them and give them some support. Although it's cliche, laughter is often the best therapy.

Furthermore, I think the greatest lesson I've learnt from my roles with the Summer School is that every person and every task should be approached with a smile.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

My favourite story involves myself and two of the other RA's in my team. Over the summer we became really good friends with a group of students. We are all still in contact and we plan on going on a road trip around the US West Coast in a few years' time.

As a member of staff, I didn't expect to make friends over the summer. Instead, I met some truly wonderful people. When my mum came to Brighton to visit me, some of the group came and met her. My mum still asks me how they are all doing when we speak on the phone.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

I think I would choose a computer programming module. My lecturers keep telling me that I should learn basic coding because 'it is the language of the future'. I've attempted to learn coding at home; however, I always get lost and lose motivation.

Studying a module in this would give me the opportunity to ask questions and learn from an expert.

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

I think the things that make our company truly unique are the people, the place and our offering.

We all love what we are doing. We also all love where we are: Brighton (I chose Brighton because it is diverse, easy-going and I love being near the sea). Our campus sits in the middle of the South Downs National Park, so a ten-minute walk in any direction and you are surrounded by nature. We also offer a range of modules that are pretty unique to Sussex.

I'm always proud of my team because I love being a part of a team that is passionate about their work.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

I believe the biggest factor that facilitates success is a passionate team of people that share the same goals.

Everyone at the University of Sussex Summer School is passionate about providing an exceptional experience to students that will stay with them for life. I believe that here at Sussex Summer School we don't just provide a study abroad opportunity: we provide a life-changing experience.