Jan Höhnk

Student spotlight details

Jan was trained as an architect and working as a freelancer in Germany before he undertook the MSc in Sustainable Urban Development. He is now working in Oxford University's sustainability team, helping to reduce the University’s carbon emissions.

'Before I enrolled in the course, I had completed a master’s degree in architecture and was doing freelance work in my local area in Germany. My research interests clustered around social interaction in public spaces, the dynamic systems of cities, and the exploration of placemaking. The course fed these interests and helped nurture them.

'The course was recommended to me by family friends, and since I had always enjoyed studying, it seemed like a great next step. I wanted to solidify knowledge from past courses, broaden my skillset, make new connections, and gain new perspectives. The course gives you access to an abundance of resources including tailored reading lists to indulge in multi directional research. With Oxford’s research databases at your fingertips, there is no end to the number of great things you will find.

'Studying at Oxford is delightful, growth inducing, enriching, inspiring, and so much more. However, like with most things worth pursuing, the course is challenging as well. Admittedly, architecture school had not prepared me to write good essays, or to read, comprehend and analyse complex academic papers. It was a steep learning curve, but honestly, everything turned out fine. The academic team helped me immensely and some might say: The harder it is at first, the greater the reward.

'There are many aspects of the course that completely transformed my life. The friends I made on the course and around Oxford are among the closest I have. It is a very special crowd and the two years as a student there were among the happiest, I can remember. I loved it very, very much.

'In addition to a bunch of new friends and great contacts, the course also transformed how I think, how I speak, how I view the world. One of the aims of the course is to challenge your thinking and I consider that the greatest opportunity to grow. And, spending time in Oxford is a reward in itself. You will be a member of the ancient institution that is the university. It is a magical place… and you will soon see what I mean.

'Having now finished the course, I have no doubt that I have access to opportunities I would not have had beforehand. Oxford is among the top universities and while that does make a difference, its the way we learn to think and the confidence we build that carries the most value for me. As it turns out, I have recently started working for Oxford University’s sustainability team and will help reduce the university’s carbon emissions.

'I highly recommend applying to the course. Give it a shot! I still smile every time I remember the day I got my offer.'

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