- Course: BA English Literature (International)
- Year of graduation: 2017
- Nationality: British
- Location of year abroad: United States
What made you want to study your course at the University?
Reading and studying literature offers an insight into the way that others think and feel. Experiences that I have not, or could not have are depicted on the page. The reader is offered the chance to empathise with the narrator’s story, whether this is real or imagined. English at Leeds offers a wide range of literary themes and time periods to explore. This is further augmented by opportunities like a study abroad year, and the possibility of taking modules outside of the School of English to complement and expand the course according to every student’s preference. The School is extremely welcoming, and has provided much support and many opportunities for me. Furthermore, Leeds is a busy, diverse and vibrant city, which means there is always something new to do and somewhere new to visit. The University’s reputation, along with its location, made it an easy choice for me.
Describe two aspects of the course that you have enjoyed the most.
I have absolutely loved being a part of the English Society; I was Sports Secretary in my second year, and Secretary in my fourth year. English has few contact hours so volunteering extra time to work with and for my course has helped me to be so much more involved in the course, School, and University in general. The Society offers social, educational, and networking opportunities for its committee and members, which I have certainly made the most of over the past four years.
Participating in the Students as Scholars programme in my second year encouraged me to realise that academia can be a diverse and fascinating working environment beyond lecture halls and seminar rooms. Attending postgraduate-level events brought me out of my comfort zone and challenged me to engage with literature outside of the set syllabus. I was able to pursue my own interests, and meet members of Leeds’ academic community who, while being experts in their fields, were also supportive of my own academic pursuits. This has resulted in my return to Leeds to study MA English Literature (Modern and Contemporary) this coming year.
Please tell us about your residence abroad.
During my study abroad year I completed a second degree, often referred to as a Partner Degree, from Juniata College – a small liberal arts college in the middle of rural Pennsylvania.
I experienced a completely different way of life while I was in the United States of America. Cultural and educational differences led me to question and challenge normal and accepted behaviours both abroad and at home. I had an incredible year visiting new places, meeting new people, and connecting with a community incredibly different to either my home or University life. Being abroad also made me recognise and value aspects of Leeds, the University and my life here. My year abroad helped me to gain clarity and confidence about who I am and what I want to achieve.
Juniata College was a far cry from the University of Leeds. The college had its own traditions that were upheld annually with vigour. Mountain Day was an unexpected day off in the first few weeks of term that was announced at 5am, and followed by the entire college heading to the local lake for a day in the sun. Later in the semester there was Tenting, where groups of students camp in the front quad of the college for a week during November in order to secure tickets to Madrigal – the equivalent of a Christmas Ball. These traditions appeared nonsensical at times, but the atmosphere on campus was so supportive and encouraging of these oddities that we were soon pitching our tents and guessing when Mountain Day would fall.
What are you planning to do once you graduate?
I am returning to Leeds for the MA English Literature (Modern and Contemporary Pathway). I hope to continue in further education for as long as possible, while also dedicating time to my other interests through sports and working in the voluntary sector.