- Course: Modern Languages and Politics (previously Arabic and Politics)
- Nationality: Czech
What made you want to study arabic and politics at Leeds?
The course itself looked very appealing. I wanted to study Arabic and also another subject and I also thought that going on my year abroad in second year would be more beneficial than in third year.
What is it that makes you passionate about your degree?
It really became part of who I am now and helps me to understand my own circumstances.
There’s a line from a poem by Tamim Al-Barghouthi: “in the world, they [the powers that be] create the world and I study it...in poetry, I create the world and they have to study it…” I would equate academia to poetry here, it is empowering to understand, analyse and create an alternative to what is being circulated in the mainstream.
What aspects of the course do you enjoy the most?
My highlight was certainly my year abroad in Morocco – it was an unforgettable year and it widened my horizons so much. Another thing is the teaching in the department - you can hardly find more committed, affectionate and understanding tutors and lecturers than who we have in our department.
I have been lucky to have amazing and close working relationships with many members of staff, also through Union and solidarity organising on campus. The experience was always one of professionalism and commitment to excellence.
What other activities are available for students to take part in outside of their studies and which ones have you tried out yourself?
Since my first year, I have been involved with political campaigning societies on campus, namely the Palestine Solidarity Group. We organised wonderful events, powerful campaigns and were able to make a real change at the University level through our activism.
Apart from this, the University supports and facilitates volunteering in the community and in local schools, which is a great opportunity to put your language and other skills into practice. I personally tutored two Syrian boys in a school in the area, helping them with learning English.
What do you plan to do when you’ve finished your arabic and politics course?
I have been offered an MPhil course at the University of Oxford, where I will be studying Hebrew and Modern Middle Eastern Studies.
My level of Arabic is now sufficient to conduct research at the academic level and converse fluently.
I hope to learn Hebrew and use my research, Arabic and other skills in the future while working with international HR and other NGOs, hopefully on the ground in the region.