Joshua shared his memories from his Summer School week – and how it shaped his journey from a small small industrial town near Birmingham, up until his role at the British Embassy overseas. Alongside his role, Joshua is now currently in his final year of a Joint Masters Degree in European Politics and Society. This course gave him the opportunity to study around Europe – having studied in Prague, Krakow and The Netherlands.

“I grew up in a small industrial town near Birmingham, and was brought up by my wonderful mum who works in care. I had been the first in my family to go to sixth form, so to take the extra step to go to university was not something I felt suitable at the time for a person like myself before the Sutton Trust programme…

If I remember correctly, one of my sixth form tutors recommended me to apply after I had told her I was unsure about going to University and didn’t know if it was right for me. Reading about University is a very different experience from living it, especially when you don’t have many people in your life that have taken that path to give you advice.”

“I vividly remember the nerves at the start of the week – I had to turn up a day late to the summer school and was worried it would be difficult to fit in after everyone had already settled. Thankfully everyone was super welcoming and there were no such issues!

I still have quite a lot of the people I met at the Summer School on social media even after six years! It is amazing to see the journeys people have taken since the Sutton Trust programme, and it is great to check in with them from time to time.

“Before I took part in the Summer School, I was fairly sure that I was going to finish my education after sixth form and go into some sort of job. I think it’s fair to say that I had become disillusioned with education and my grades were suffering as a result. After the week of summer school, I had gone from not knowing where to go or what to do, to being determined to get the grades I needed to study at Nottingham. I finally had a goal to aim for which helped me massively.”

“I can quite confidently say that the Sutton Trust summer school changed my life.

It gave me the confidence to pursue opportunities that at one point in time I felt were not for people like me, from my bachelor’s at Nottingham to taking the step to move out of the UK to continue my studies and career.”

Every story we collect from our alumni as part of our 25th celebrations, helps inspire the next generation of students to aim for careers they might never have thought of. If you, like Joshua, want to share your story with us – just get in touch with the alumni team via [email protected].