Get to know – Sophie Dilley, Director of Summer School

Get to know the Global Opportunities Team and what has inspired us to travel the world and help students to do the same! We also find out why the GO Team love Queen Mary and their top picks to visit in East London.

This week we sat down with Director of Summer School, Sophie Dilley to find out what she would study if she came on the Queen Mary summer school and about her travels to Sri Lanka, Costa Rica and more…

What’s your name and role at QMUL?

I’m Sophie Dilley and I work as the Director of Summer School at Queen Mary.

Have you ever studied/worked abroad?

Sadly not, it’s one of my biggest regrets, although there’s still time, I suppose! I’ve travelled a fair amount though recent trips include Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Burma and Sri Lanka

What’s your ideal weekend in London?

Ideal weekend would be getting brunch at a local East London café, one of my favourites is Rochelle Canteen which is based in a beautiful old Victorian School in Arnold Circus, Shoreditch (pretty close to Queen Mary!). After filling up on delicious food, I’d then grab a coffee to go and go for a long walk along Regent’s canal (eastwards of course), taking in the scenery of all the pretty canal boats and wildlife on the water and probably end up in a canal-side gastro-pub for lunch – good food is a big part of the weekend!

I also love exploring the green spaces in London, at all times of the year. I really appreciate how the landscape and plants change from season to season. I live on the edge of Epping Forest and it’s incredible to be able to have the best city life and country walks all rolled into one place!

Which summer school course would you do and why?

Oh that’s a tough one, I don’t want to seem like I have favourites! However if I had to choose it’d be a flip between International Immigration Law and London Performance Past and Present. Immigration law, because it looks at how communities developed within East London due to the influx of migration and gives a lot of context of how East London became such an amazing melting pot of different cultures. The London Performance Past and Present course because it focusses on performance in the city throughout the ages – we have so many great theatre and performance venues in the city such as Shakespeare’s Globe and the National Theatre, this course really gives you a chance to access them all. But there are so many amazing courses I could do them all really!

What tourist hotspot in London could you visit every day and never get sick of?

Any market! Colombia Road for the vibrancy of the flowers, Borough for the food, Portobello for the vintage finds! I never tire of a bargain!

You have a 1 minute ad during the super bowl to promote the Queen Mary Summer School. What would you say?

It’s a brilliant way to gain a valuable academic experience in a short period of time and have an immersive view of London in a way like no other. Our courses really use the city as a classroom, taking students on field trips to experience the topic they are studying in real life contexts. Be it learning about live art in world famous theatres, international business in the Bank of England or a walking tour of the famous film sets of the city – there’s something for everyone!

If you could live anywhere else in the world where would it be?

That’s a tough one! Either Jamaica for the spirit of the island and wildlife or Sicily for the food!

Sri Lanka Safari 1Sri Lanka Safari 4

What’s your favourite/least favourite British delicacy?

Is a sausage roll a British delicacy? I think it is! I love them, especially made with a Lincolnshire sausage (where I’m from originally and they’re the best). Worst is jellied eel, for reasons that don’t need explaining!

What’s the first thing you’d do if you arrived at QMUL as a summer school student?

I’d probably be hungry, so I’d head straight to Brick Lane for a curry to really start my East London experience off with a bang!

Do you prefer to travel solo or in a group?

In a group definitely, I need company on long bus journeys or else I’ll happily make friends along the way, I’d have the whole bus playing eye-spy with me in no time at all!


Interested in our Summer School? Find out more here.


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