Portrait of Amelia Barry

Amelia Barry

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

I have a keen interest in languages, music and travel. I have been travelling from a young age and have always been fascinated by different cultures and dialects. Spanish was always my favourite subject at school and I knew I wanted to further my language skills by learning another language alongside it. I chose Portuguese in order to spend my year abroad in Brazil and I immediately fell in love with the language.

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

It is important for me to understand a culture whilst learning a language. Languages allow us to communicate with people with whom we normally wouldn’t be able to and I believe it is so important to be able to learn about the culture of a country and become a more well-rounded person.

What aspects of the course did you enjoy the most?  

During my three years of study here at Leeds I have been offered a wide range of modules. I have tested my translation skills, learnt about Portuguese cinema and studied Business and Economics in a Latin American context. I very much appreciate the variety of choice given on my course. More specifically, I have really enjoyed doing my dissertation, which I am currently writing in Portuguese about Brazilian favela rap music. I have gained lots of skills from working autonomously and it is a piece of work in which I take great pride in. 

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

Leeds offers over 300 societies and I myself am involved in a handful. I have been a member of Snowriders (ski and snowboard society) since my second year, as well as football and SLAPsoc. I was secretary of SLAPsoc in second year and this was a great way to get more involved in my course and learn more about the social side of uni life. Joining a society is one of the most rewarding things you can do whilst at University.

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

Definitely take the risk of learning another language from scratch. The quality of teaching is much higher than that of secondary education and you’ll be amazed at how quickly you pick it up. Also, try to get out of your comfort zone and do a year abroad somewhere completely new. It’ll be hard but definitely worth it!

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 a job lined up as a seasonal holiday rep with a British tourism company in which I will be working abroad in a Spanish speaking country. I am considering a career in travel and tourism and I feel this is a good taster of what is to come. My year abroad and my dissertation have enabled me to acquire skills that I will use for life; I am more independent, motivated, organised and sociable than I was when I was applying for University. 

Any other comment you would like to make?

I was very hesitant to come to university whilst I was doing my A-Levels as I never saw myself as an academic type of person. The most important thing I have learnt during my time at Leeds is that there is so much more to university than just work. I have gained social skills, life-long friendships and travelled to parts of the world that I never thought I would. Leeds has definitely changed my life for the better.