Portrait of Eleanor chambers

Eleanor Chambers

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

I have always loved history but decided on it for my degree subject after studying the Wars of the Roses at Sixth Form College with a particularly inspiring tutor. I applied to several universities but was particularly impressed with Leeds after visiting for an Open Day, and staying for a couple of nights with a friend already studying here. This gave me a good sense of both the academic life in the History Department and a feel for the City, which I fell in love with. 

What is it that makes you passionate about History?

I love being able to relate current issues to events in the past, and find it fascinating trying to unravel and understand why things have occurred in the way that they have. Finding out about other cultures and ways of life has always interested me, and the connections you can feel to people and events long past and in vastly different contexts bring history alive for me. 

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

Since first year, when my Primary Sources module was based on early colonial India and the practice of sati, I have developed a previously unexpected passion for Indian history. In second year I particularly enjoyed the module ‘Company Raj in India 1600-1857’, which explored the role of the East India Company and early colonial India, up to the Great Rebellion of 1857. I also loved ‘Nationalism, Colonialism and Religious Violence in India’ which dealt with the lead-up to and partition of India into India and Pakistan. Both modules were hugely engaging and stimulating, and I particularly liked exploring a vastly different culture and type of history to the British and European history I had studied throughout my school years.

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

I have studied a wide variety of Discovery Modules ranging from a course on Beer Brewing, to Criminology, and several modules with the school of History of Philosophy and Science, including ‘Darwin, Germs, and the Bomb’ and the ‘History of Psychiatry and Mental Illness’. As these topics have been so varied and, in the case of the Beer course in particular, so different to my normal area of study they have given me a taster of very different topics, ways of studying and ideas which I would otherwise not have had access to. 

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

As a History student I have used three of the libraries Leeds University has to offer, and have witnessed not only the completion of the Laidlaw Library but also the refurbishment of the Edward Boyle, which are both brilliant spaces for group work or silent study. The Brotherton has so much to offer, with its Special Collections available for students to make the most of, and there are plenty of IT facilities around the University too.

Please tell us more about your study abroad year. What was the highlight?

I went to Uppsala University (Sweden) for my study abroad year, and it is impossible to pick just one highlight! The courses I studied there were excellent, the town beautiful, and the cultural experience unbeatable. From cycling back home in the snow from the vast student nightlife that Uppsala has to offer, to weekends away in lakeside cabins going on hikes, to co-running a student pub with a group of new Swedish friends, or husky sledding under the Northern Lights – the choice of highlights is endless. 

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

I have been a member of the History, Yoga and Ballet Society since first year, and in my second year was elected President of Ballet Society which gave me a wonderful insight into how things worked at the Union and was a great opportunity to give something back to LUU. The choice of societies are endless and well worth exploring through Give It A Go sessions (GIAGs). I also undertook part-time work in the city centre in my second year, as well as being History Careers Intern for the department which was a fantastic experience.

What would you say about Leeds as a city and how do you think it has helped you make the most of your time here? 

Leeds is a fabulous city with so much to offer everyone, with an endless supply of pubs, bars, clubs, theatre, art and gigs. Living in such a lively city has been complementary to not only my studies, with a huge variety of resources and museums on offer, but also has pushed me to adapt and grow with a vast array of creative opportunities.

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

The pastoral care offered through the History Department is brilliant, and a large number of employability talks and events such as an annual networking dinner are offered which I’ve found really helpful, especially earlier on in my degree when I was unsure of what career path I wanted to take. 

What do you plan to do once 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’m hoping to study a masters after I finish my History BA, and am confident that the skills I’ve developed at Leeds will be an asset to future employment after this.