Feedback - Arash Hejazi - Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies Scholarship
Arash Hejazi was awarded this OICPS scholarship, open to international students, in 2008. He writes below about his experiences as an MA Publishing student at Oxford Brookes.
‘Why am I doing this?'
This was the question I kept asking for a few days before I finally clicked on the ‘send' button to forward my application for the MA course in Publishing at Oxford Brookes University. I had already been working in Caravan Books - a prestigious Iranian publishing house - for twelve years and I had progressed to my dream job: editorial director, with an extensive theoretical and practical knowledge and experience in almost all other aspects of publishing such as marketing, finance, rights management, sales, production and design. I had been the editor in chief of two periodicals and the managing director of a publishing journal. Most importantly, I was 37 years old, an age when one doesn't usually think about furthering your studies, especially if you don't have any more ambitions for higher education qualifications, since I already had a PhD in General Medicine. Yet, I was applying to study at this course without having a single reasonable justification. Well, I wanted to gain knowledge about the infrastructure of the British publishing industry as one of the leading countries in the publishing world, and I thought this course might be able to provide this knowledge for me.
Nevertheless, it was a tough decision. There were the fees; I had to think about my wife and my two-year-old son, my responsibilities in Caravan and also the challenges of living in a different country, especially during such a fierce financial climate. However, I did send my application after all and I was fortunate to be admitted on the course. What I did not expect was that this course would lead to such a dramatic change in my life, my professional future and the way I looked at the world generally.
I experienced the most exciting year of my life here. I met the absolutely friendly staff of the OICPS who did their best to make me feel at home and who were there for me whenever I needed any kind of help or advice. I never had a feeling of distance between me and my tutors. Now that the course is almost over, I am convinced that this relationship will not be over and they will still be there for me whenever I need them.
I met 75 other fascinating students from all over the world, among whom I never felt alone. We were all fascinated by books, we talked about books, breathed books, dreamed books, and we also enjoyed an exciting and adventurous time together outside the university which created a bond among us, so strong that we are all sure that it will never be broken. I had the sense of belonging to a community, a new generation of publishers far from all the prejudices in the world and the biases against race, nationality, religion, colour of skin and all the borders that mankind has created to impede the realization of a long dreamt global society. Regardless of our backgrounds, we all belonged to the same tribe that had one passion: the written word.
However, the most unexpected thing for me was what I learned. I learned how to be functional and creative in a team; how to conceive and nurture a new idea and make it viable; how to face the challenges in the age of digitization, financial crisis and environmental hazards and even create new opportunities from these challenges, and how to have the big picture in my mind and at same time pay utmost attention to the smallest details.
I had several opportunities to meet esteemed professionals in the world of publishing and most importantly, I learned about publishing in an international context and developed skills to be efficient in the age of globalization.
It is over now. I have to face the unknown future, in which I am sure I have to face many obstacles. But this course has equipped me with what I need in order to proceed: therefore, I have no fear.
I will wear my Oxford Brookes publishing experience as a medallion for the rest of my life.
No, it is not over.
Posted on 02 Jun 2009 around 10am