Portrait of Lisa marie benson

Lisa Marie Benson

Please tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

Hi, I’m Lisa from Highgate in North London. I have dual British and French citizenship and spent my gap year in Paris studying at the Sorbonne and American University of Paris and working at an international art gallery.

What made you want to apply to your course and to Leeds?

Studying English at University was quite a last-minute decision since I had always thought of pursuing a degree in History. However, I managed to fit in some History at university level during my studies abroad and through my discovery modules at Leeds. Once I decided to study English Literature, Leeds seemed the perfect fit since the numerous staff body allowed for a great amount of flexibility through option and discovery modules, allowing for interdisciplinary areas of research.

What is it that makes you passionate about your area of study?

I love that every text is unique and can be approached through a variety of theories so that every lecture, class and essay is fresh and pushes my ability to adapt and never allows me to be bored. English also lends itself very well to study alongside history and other humanities or even beyond, incorporating fields from linguistics to psychology.

What aspects of the course did you enjoy the most?  

I enjoyed the historical cores, particularly Victorian and Contemporary, and believe that I have enjoyed my studies more each year. From my first year, in which I took English alongside French and History discovery modules to reflect my A-level disciplines I have learnt see the benefit in taking risks, with my Contemporary South African Writing module a particular highlight.

What has been the most surprising thing about coming to Leeds?

I would have to say I did not expect that I would change so much in my late teens and early twenties. Beyond living in a new city and my academic study, I have had many of my opinions on just about everything challenged to the point where I hope I can say that I will leave Leeds with much more than my bachelor’s degree, but a whole new mind-set.

What would you say about the learning facilities in your School and at the University in general?

Having the School of English separated architecturally in its own Victorian terraced houses has helped to create a learning environment in which I have felt at ease. That being said, when it approaches deadline season, you’ll more likely find me in the Brotherton library trying to soak up the studious vibes of the silent researchers. 

What other activities are available for students to take part in outside of their studies, and which ones have you tried out yourself?

I have tried out many of Leeds University Union’s societies from horse riding to yoga, but the most valuable use of my time has been volunteering as a School Representative and collaborating with those from other departments and faculties to enact positive change.

What do you plan to do now you’ve finished your course, and how do you think the skills and knowledge you’ve developed at Leeds will help with these plans?

I have been accepted onto the master’s programme in English Literature at Leeds, so I’ll be finishing a course by starting another. I realised this year as I was waiting for a clear dream career path to hit me that I was already doing what I liked, and gaining knowledge is what drives me. Beyond this, I hope that my analytical and communication skills will set me in good stead of an international career in law or the government.