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Gabriel Pretus

MA History (2002), MPhil History (2012)


After working as a lawyer for almost 30 years and suffering a serious stroke Gabriel decided to change his life and return to university. In 2002 Gabriel completed his MA and undertook an MPhil about humanitarian efforts during the Spanish Civil War. Gabriel is also a Trustee of the Friendly Hand Trust, a Christian charity that supports Royal Holloway’s History students.

"I worked as a lawyer in Barcelona specialising in corporate law until 1990. After recovering from the stroke I decided to change my life and go back to university. In September 2000 I visited Royal Holloway to explore different masters courses and saw a member of the faculty arriving on a bicycle. Suddenly my memories of Cambridge, where I spent two summers in the early 1960s, came back and I decided that this was the place for me. In fact, I never explored any other universities as I was so convinced after visiting.

"I felt very well supported by the department and was always helped by Professors Helen Graham (who researches Spanish Modern History) and Rudolph Muhs. I felt privileged to have one-to-one tutorials with experts in their fields as well as working on projects with the other students. I was one of three mature students on my MA course and we very much felt part of a larger family, despite spending a large amount of time reading and investigating alone. I enjoyed being a student once more and researching such an interesting area of my country’s history, so I decided to continue on that path for an MPhil

"My time at Royal Holloway helped me to discover a new time of my life; my focus was on locating a specific archive or sourcing a particular book from the Library. My fondest memory from my time here was my MA graduation, which my wife and eldest grandson attended. I felt a great pride in my achievements.

"My advice to aspiring historians? It is important to appreciate that History is a science. If you want to continue with postgraduate study you should always focus on subjects and projects that you are passionate about. The historian does not have money as a quest, his quest is a dream, some kind of impossible dream that you, with your research work, can make possible."


      Gabriel Pretus 

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