Portrait of Clare Lether

Clare Lether

Please tell us a bit about yourself, your background etc?

I am a fourth-year History student who has just returned to Leeds after completing a year abroad in France. History has always been my favourite subject so was the obvious choice to read at university. 

Did you take part in the Access to Leeds programme?

The Access to Leeds programme was very helpful. I found the idea of having to produce university-level work very daunting but the programme helped to calm my nerves through the help and support it offered. Having early access to the University’s system and libraries alongside the advice I received from my essay feedback meant that when I started at Leeds I was already familiar with how the University operated.

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

More than any other university I had visited, Leeds felt like the right place for me. Academically, Leeds is a very well-established and respected Russell Group University and I liked that I would be encouraged to achieve my best whilst studying here. I felt that this encouragement would be given in a supportive manner through the History Department. 

What is it that makes you passionate about History?

I love that History is so much more than just a textbook subject. It’s a challenging and ever-changing topic that constantly makes you think past what is written in front of you and delve into the heart of a source and debate. 

Which History modules have you particularly enjoyed studying, and why?

I particularly enjoyed one of my second-year modules about Japan. Before starting university, I had mainly studied British and European history so was keen to explore history on a more global level. The module offered a fantastic insight into post-WW2 Japan and I gained a new understanding and appreciation for a country that I previously knew little about. 

Which Discovery Modules have you studied, and how do you feel they have enhanced your time in Leeds?

I have studied a range of Discovery Modules at Leeds from a Chinese language module to Politics modules. I believe they have helped to enhance my degree by broadening my skill base and introducing new approaches to academic writing that I could then use to improve my own history work. 

What would you say about the library and study facilities at the University?

The library and study facilities at the University are fantastic. As a final year student, I have been spending an increasing amount of time in the University’s Special Collections. This is an amazing onsite learning resource which houses hundreds and thousands of sources that range from medieval manuscripts to 21st century artwork, which all students can access.

Please tell us more about your study abroad year.

I studied in Lyon, France for my year abroad and had the most incredible time. Moving abroad to a country where English was not the first language presented me with some obstacles but overcoming them taught me strength and maturity. My favourite part of my year abroad was the travel element. I was very fortunate and managed to explore a lot of Europe and part of Africa whilst away. I challenged myself to say yes to as many travel options as possible which led to many fantastic opportunities that I experienced alongside my international group of friends. 

What activities have you been involved in outside of your course and what have you got out of being involved?

Since my first year at Leeds I have been a member of the History Society and have thoroughly enjoyed myself. Their social events such as the annual trip abroad, Christmas Ball and Otley Run are all great ways to meet new friends and enjoy the non-academic side of being a student at Leeds. 

Do you have any comments about the support you receive from the School of History?

The support I have received from the School of History has been the backbone of my degree. It is very comforting to know that the School is always there for you and will try and help you with any problems you may face whilst at university. My personal tutor was incredibly supportive and helpful regarding my year abroad and kept in regular contact with me whilst I was away. 

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

I would say to anyone thinking of applying to History to go for it! History is an ever-changing subject that will teach you invaluable and adaptable life skills. Each year you will have more control over your degree and the direction of your research, constantly gaining a new understanding of how the world has been shaped by past events to become the one we live in today.