Portrait of Robyn Yates

Robyn Yates

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

I applied to the University of Leeds to access their great study abroad andwork abroad opportunities, and I loved the campus and the union. The University has a great student community I wanted to be a part of. History was always my favourite subject at school, and at the University of Leeds the wide variety of topics available meant I could explore areas I’d never touched on before.

What is it that makes you passionate about History?

I love to learn, and with history the learning is limitless. I love that instead of studying the ‘what’ and the ‘when’,  I get to study the ‘how’ and the ‘why’. Understanding and appreciating history is so important to comprehend events that are occurring now in the twenty-first century. 

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

I loved the Crusades and the Crusader States in the 12th Century modules because they were from a period of history I had never studied before. The module Britain and Decolonisation fascinated me too as we drew cultural comparisons between the inter-war years and the present day, and discovered how the Empire can still, in some ways, be seen in modern Britain. 

I also took the Students into Schools module during my second year so spent time on a placement in Bradford, which really gave my weekly timetable some diversity, and gave me an insight into normal working life. I have also taken philosophy and theology Discovery Modules which have helped my way of thinking, as well as being a great opportunity to make friends studying in different schools. 

Please tell us more about your work placement year. Why did you decide to spend the year working abroad? What support did you get from the School and the University for your WPY?

I wanted to work abroad in order to gain some real-life work experience and I was desperate to travel and experience living in a new country- so I decided to work as a Teaching Assistant in a school in Madrid. I found the job using the Careers Centre’s website, as well as them offering me guidance with my CV. I also had a tutor from the Careers Centre who kept in contact whilst I was away to ensure everything was running smoothly. It was an amazing year and something I highly recommend to anyone who wants an adventure!

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

I have been a presenter on Leeds Student Radio, which has enhanced my communication and journalistic skills. Being Social Secretary for the History Society during my second year, I organised events such as charity festivals, cinema nights and the much-anticipated Christmas Ball. This role was great to practice my networking skills as well as learning how much I love planning events. I also play for the History Society’s Netball team against other Schools in the University, which has been a great way to keep fit and make friends. Currently, I am a volunteer at Left Bank, Leeds where I am an events photographer, which has helped me become a real part of the local community. 

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 hope to find a job either in marketing or journalism in or around the city of Leeds- I can’t bear to say goodbye! Leeds both academically and socially has drastically improved my ability to communicate and investigate, as well as given me plenty of opportunities for my creativity to flourish. I have learned so many things both professionally and personally from my time in Leeds that have shaped who I am.  

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

History is a fantastic subject and the lecturers at the University of Leeds are experts in their fields, who challenge you to gather your own evidence and form your own opinions. The course is not only engaging and interesting, but offers you plenty of skills that are applicable to a wide variety of careers.