Ben Kumar

Please tell us a bit about yourself and what made you apply to study History and History and Philosophy of Science.

I am a mature student and graduated from University of Northampton in 2002 in American Studies. I have been working since in the logistics industry within a variety of roles and have been fortunate enough to work all around the world throughout Europe, USA and Asia. I have lived in Leeds for six years and regard the city as my home, but I spent my childhood in Kent before venturing out.

I had become somewhat stagnant in my working life and missed the structure of learning within the university environment. I have always been fascinated by history and philosophy and it felt the right time to pursue this interest. Of course Leeds is my nearest University but I wanted to feel more connected to the city, so choosing to study in what I regard as my home is thrilling.

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

I have a personal interest in the subjects outside of the course helps but it is being able to apply what I am learning to my own life experience. As a mature student, I can synergise the historical and philosophical themes to not only my own life but in the world around me and how this has changed since I was last part of a university. 

The course material is exciting and engaging and I feel it a privilege to be studying at Leeds. Not only am I taught by dynamic and interesting people, I am lucky enough to study alongside and learn from younger students. The lectures are well delivered and I have found the tutorials to be very enjoyable as it is a chance for me to hear other people’s perspectives within a mature and considered environment. I also enjoy the fact we are given more than enough extra material to engage deeper in parts of the modules that we find more interesting.

What are your thoughts on life on campus at Leeds?

Firstly, I'm surprised at how at home I feel within the University of Leeds. I feel there is a sense of belonging and inclusion within the campus. Secondly, I'm surprised at the depth of engagement and maturity from the younger students - it has reminded me to be optimistic about the future!

The libraries on campus are first class. It was not something I had thought about in great depth before applying but working within the libraries and having the chance to navigate around the vast quantity of books excites me on a daily basis. The Special Collections superbly compliments the physical space.

The search facility though the library website for online material is excellent and it is encouraging to see this is being monitored to see how it can be improved. The access to material is overwhelming but in a delightful way. Minerva is also very good in terms of accessing email, module information, assignment submission, general information and exam support.

What would you say to anyone thinking of applying to your course?

I would say: “Do not hesitate”. I can comfortably say this has changed my life and the support given to me at Leeds from not only applying for the course but then experiencing it has been wonderful. The course has depth and covers topics within each module that complement the other modules.   

What do you plan to do when you graduate? 

I still have the reminder of my second year plus my third year but I am certainly considering a Masters at University of Leeds. I feel that being at Leeds has plugged me back in to life and the university buildings, staff and students make studying here as important as the course itself. Ultimately, the University of Leeds will contribute to shaping and preparing students and I believe that the experience has helped reshaped me as an individual for the better.