My second week at work was also the first staff training week of this academic year. I was actually quite nervous since I had no idea what to expect. However, it soon turned into excitement as I read through our schedule for the next 7 days. Besides the exclusive campus talks, accommodation tours and regional sessions, we were also attending some of the International Welcome Week’s activities such as the New Students Welcoming Talk, FAQ Panel as well as Tour of Cheltenham and Gloucestershire.
Monday 14th, I was so excited and since I was asked to take some photos of new students for any of our marketing activity in the future, I left home quite early and got on the 94U bus at 8.30am. I felt quite relaxed as the bus was supposed to get to the Park campus at around 8.45am and I still got like 10-15 minutes to help myself a cup of coffee before the first talk at 9. And it WAS the plan.
Until now I still have no idea what happened to the bus driver that day but instead of going straight to the Park as normal, he decided to turn right at Montpellier roundabound and go straight to Gloucester (?!!!). At first I was like “Oh ok there might be some roadworks going on and he has to use a different route”. But then like 5 minutes later, I saw the sign pointing straight to the motorway to Gloucester. “Wait! What?!!” I pressed the button immediately and came to ask the driver what was going on.
“ Uhm… sorry aren’t you supposed to go to the Park first?”
“Yeah I am. But I took the wrong turn at Montpellier and there was no way I can turn back so I will have to go straight to Gloucester now… You just need to wait for the bus to come back there in like 10 minutes…”
Are you kidding me?!!! Out of 365 days why do you have to do it today?!!! It was my second week at work and I was about to be late!!! Well I actually got a lot to say to the driver but I chose to calm down and walked cross the street to wait for the bus to come back to the Park. That was the longest 10 minutes of my life! I tried to call my manger but she had gone to the talk already so I had to leave her an email instead and hoped she will understand.
I finally arrived at the Park at 9.20 and just can’t deny the fact that I was 20 minutes late. I felt so bad when I came to talk to my manager as I knew how silly my excuse was but surprisingly she seemed to understand it and told me it was ok. (Yay!)
I quickly tried to get my mind back and realized there were some unfamiliar faces. They were our new regional manager at IDeC, Becca (who then became my ‘roommate’ 🙂 ), and two country representatives coming from Viet Nam and Malaysia, Hoa and Yong. They were all really lovely. And since we both come from Vietnam, I found myself talk to Hoa a bit more (just a little bit I swear…).
We then followed the new student schedules to the Introduction Talks about Life in the UK, Chaplaincy, IT/ Library Information, Immigration, DegreePlus and Student Achievement at the Park campus. They were really helpful, allowing us to be aware of any updated information that could be used for marketing activities in the future. We also had the tour around Cheltenham town and Gloucester city centre and discovered a lot of interesting places and restaurants.
We also came to the International Students Social at Refectory on Tuesday. I was lots of fun with live music and plenty of snacks, drinks and fresh fruits.
In terms of the training schedule for new staff, we came to all the University of Gloucestershire’s academic schools where we were given quick presentations about each school’s strength and comparative advantages. We also had a tour of each campus’s accommodation and learned more about student’s life on campus.
There were also regional sessions in which we spent time getting to know more about each other and discussing the future marketing plan, including scholarships and digital marketing issues. We were also required to form a team and prepare a 20-minutue-presentation about an academic school allocated and show what we have learned over the last one week. I was teamed up with Ming, our Regional Manager in China, to work on the Business School presentation. Since I’ve studied there for two years, I already got some background information about the faculty and it actually helped me a lot. Ming was really kind and such a great partner with her valuable experience of working at IDeC for almost 10 years (or even longer I’m not so sure …).
After the presentations and wrap-up session, we then headed to Daffodil, a unique restaurant that set in an old cinema with live jazz music in Montpellier district, for dinner. It was really great! The setting and the atmosphere were amazing, as well as the music. I’ve never thought I would enjoy jazz music before but it actually felt really nice and relaxing.
It was also the time to say goodbye to Hoa and Yong as they were going back to Vietnam and Malaysia the day after. It was nice being with them over the last week and I hope to meet them again soon!