28 Feb Share Your Story – Joanne
My name is Joanne and I am from Liverpool, England. I came to London to go to Bar School and train to be a Barrister which is a kind of specialised Lawyer in England. I first became aware of Lee Abbey when I was an undergraduate and needed somewhere to stay overnight when attending an event on “How to become a Barrister” around 2013. I stayed at Lee Abbey and met plenty of people at the communal dinner hall and straight away I knew that if I was to ever live in London, I wanted it to be at Lee Abbey. The one thing I can recall is how many like-minded people I met even on my first visit. Everyone was there to study hard, get good results and make friends. When I had the opportunity to live at Lee Abbey in 2016 I grabbed it with both hands (that is an English expression meaning I quickly accepted with excitement). I was able to study, concentrate on my Christian faith in a safe environment and I made a lot of friends who I am still in touch with today.
The residential scholarship made a huge difference to my life. I am from a poor working class family and without the scholarship it would not have been possible for me to stay in law school. I applied for the scholarship when I had to leave my job because the demands of law school were too great. I was hugely supported by Lee Abbey and would not have been able to do it without their help.
The location of Lee Abbey is undeniably perfect for any student regardless of where they study. I am really conscious about safety and I really felt safe in and around Lee Abbey. Although a Christian community, I was able to discuss the Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu faiths with my friends who lived there and these opportunities were invaluable because sometimes we often feel uncertain to or feel that these are sensitive topics but instead I learned about other cultures and other ways that help me be sensitive to other people in my everyday life – including my future practice as a lawyer having clients from different backgrounds.
I like that you can be alone or you can be sociable at Lee Abbey and everyone accepts you for the way you are. I don’t really drink or go out that much and I study a lot in the evenings and I found a lot of people were the same unlike some flats with students which are the complete opposite. Lee Abbey is for students who want to come to London, feel at home and work hard to get what they want. I am still in touch with the friends I made and they are all doing really well in professional post-graduate jobs. I couldn’t recommend Lee Abbey enough and feel grateful every day for the opportunity and head start I have been given.