‘It’s nice to chat with students, and we all like them’
Interview conducted by Michael Angerer
Ellie, from Rome, is known to most students as one of the friendliest faces in hall, which also happens to be one of her favourite places in College. She enjoys reading, going to the cinema, eating out, and drawing; and she is always happy to have a chat with students.
My favourite thing about working at Oriel is that I can meet different people, from first-year students to the Provost; that’s always nice. I work both in hall and in the SCR; it depends on what shift I am on. If I am working for the SCR, it’s interesting because we have to look out for all the details, everything must be very organised, and that’s nice – in hall we can be a bit more ‘casual’, if I can say that, as I work there during daytime as well as for formals.
I like the hall: I like taking my break there; but I also like Third Quad in particular, though I never really go there because I’m working. It’s a bit different from the first two quads, since it has both modern and medieval architecture.
I’m from Italy, from Rome, and have lived here for four years, always in Oxford. I got a degree in tourism and economy in Perugia; then I chose to come to Oxford because there are so many hotels and restaurants. It’s a good place to get a lot of experience; it’s good for my future. I worked for one year in a hotel, in the business area, then one year in a café, and then here. They’re very similar places, but also very different: in hotels, you have coffee stations and buffets, which we also have here in a way; but then, in hotels, the focus on the customers and their individual needs is very different.
What I love about Oxford is that it is full of parks and nature, not like Rome; it’s a very handy city, and I love that it’s multicultural. I plan to stay here for a long time, though it is a bit difficult with Brexit: I applied for pre-settled status and was approved, and will apply next year for permanent status.
I like to read, to go out with my friends, and I love going to the cinema: I love thrillers and mysteries. I also like to eat out when possible. I love Thai food, and I also often go to Indian restaurants. Sometimes I draw, but I’m just a beginner; I mean, I’ve been drawing ever since I was a child, though. I also love taking pictures in Oxford, which is a bit easier.
There are a few challenges about working at Oriel: when there’s a very posh dinner, we have to keep up the best standards of service, even when we are tired. When you work with the public, you always have to show a smiling face; it’s also challenging to do an evening shift and then a morning shift, but then everyone does it – we get used to it.
I always see the students, when they’re working, grumpy, or happy; I’m very friendly with some students, while others can be very reserved; but that’s normal, you know: I think everywhere is the same. It’s nice to chat with students, and we all like them. I’d say, always communicate when possible, although I know time is short; I think it’s very nice.