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Local people choose studying over sunbathing

* 8 August 2002 *

Local people choose studying over sunbathing

Local people are amongst thousands choosing to take a week's study break at the University of Sussex rather than jet off abroad.

British Airways Cabin Purser Julie Kilgannon, from Hove, is one of those many students. Although her jet set job may be the envy of many it's right here at Sussex that she's fulfilling her dream.

Julie had never before attended university. She decided, however, to take a Psychology degree with the Open University (OU). Julie says: "I decided to do this course because it really interests me. After the first few years I find my knowledge of psychology useful when it comes to spotting problems with passengers and staff."

For seven weeks approximately 2,500 students come to Sussex to take part in an intensive seven days of studying as part of the OU Summer Residential School programme. Sussex is chosen as a venue because of its wide range of facilities including labs, lecture theatres, accommodation and social spaces.

Brighton resident Lisa Heasman, who works for the Children's Society, relished this intensive studying opportunity, and to take some time out from her job and her own children! "My study group formed a very intense relationship in and ended up socialising together after the day was over", confided Lisa.

The social aspect is an important element of the OU summer schools. The Student Association organise everything from quiz nights to karaoke at venues across the University of Sussex. "I was on a course with a fireman, a policewomen and a media executive," said Lisa. "In October they're all coming down to mine to have a weekend in Brighton!"

And all this extra studying means extra work for local people. Celia Schultz, Catering Manager, said of the Herculean task: "We serve up to 1,500 meals a day. That's 500 servings of breakfast, lunch and dinner. Then we have to take account of those on special diets - vegans, kosher and the like. The only way we can do this is by hiring an extra dozen staff above term time levels."

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