Isabel Mulligan, English alumn

Isabel Mulligan

Tell us a bit about yourself?

I love travelling, languages, eating out, reading, rock climbing, hiking, and going to gigs. I’m from Reading, went to Leeds between 2018-22, and now rent with friends in North London. I had the absolute best four years in Leeds, and speak about it constantly!

What have you been doing since finishing your studies?

Two months after graduating, I started my job on Tesco’s Business Graduate Scheme. It’s a two year rotating programme where I have the opportunity to work in many different departments.

For the first 12 months, I am in the Group Communications function. I have had the chance to experience Tesco’s community and local media team, internal comms team, corporate comms team, and press office. It’s been a whirlwind of learning new skills, meeting new people, and exploring the world of retail. I have especially liked working in the internal comms team, where I worked on D&I content for our colleagues. It was a fast-paced and creative role, and the content felt valuable and interesting.

Why did you choose to study your particular course and why did you choose the University of Leeds?

In sixth form, I was very unsure of what path I wanted to take for University. I studied English Literature, Maths, and French at A-level, and was keen to continue with that variety at University. I knew I wanted to do a joint-honours course with French, and Leeds offered one of the largest languages schools in the country.

When I visited on one of the open days, I loved the energy on campus, and immediately knew that I wanted to go to Leeds. All of the current students were so friendly and spoke glowingly about the Uni. On top of that, the city itself looked like so much fun (and I was right!)

What aspects of the course do you enjoy the most?

On the English side of my course, I particularly liked my first-year prose module. I had the chance to read many books I had never studied before, along with some of my old favourites. The module covered a wide time period, with many different styles of text. It was a brilliant introduction into studying English at Uni, and set me up well for choosing more niche modules further down the line.

My favourite module I ever did at Leeds was a Jane Austen specialist module, where we read every Jane Austen book. My tutor was so engaging and brilliant, meaning that Jane Austen is now firmly my favourite author.

What activities outside of your studies were you involved in?

At Leeds, I was involved with the Leeds Human Rights Journal. In my second year, I was a peer reviewer, proof-reading submitted essays for our annual journal publication.

In my final year, I became Managing Editor for the LHRJ, with a particular focus on the financial aspect to the journal. I loved working alongside a motivated, passionate team of editors, creating the 2021-22 edition of the journal. I am proud of all of the work I put into the journal, and would recommend anyone to get involved where they can!

What would you say to students thinking about studying your course?

When choosing your course for Uni, genuinely just go for your favourite subject(s). You will enjoy yourself so much more. If English is something you’ve enjoyed studying at school, you enjoy reading/writing and want to deep-dive into your favourite genres/authors- then English will be a dream. The Leeds course is very flexible, with minimal compulsory modules and a huge amount of choice as you go through the years.

What does Leeds as a city have to offer students?

Leeds is the BEST student city you could possibly ask for. Everywhere seems to offer student discount! The evening/night scene is enormous, with endless places to go out with your friends.

During the day, Leeds is surrounded by countryside villages, canals, rivers, woodland, all very accessible by train. Day-tripping to local towns was one of my favourite parts of my Uni experience. As someone who loves seeing live music and attending gigs, Leeds is the best place you could be. The city sees an enormous number of artists touring, as well as lots of festivals in the summer.

Tell us about your year abroad?

As I was studying a degree in joint honours English and French, I had the opportunity to go on a year abroad.

After a challenging time getting over to France due to Covid-19 restrictions, Brexit, and the closure of the channel tunnel, I finally made it to Grenoble in December 2020.

I lived with a Tunisian host family for 6 months while I worked as an English language assistant with the British Council. I absolutely loved working in two schools, helping students with their English speaking, writing, and presentation skills. Grenoble was a wonderful city to live in, surrounded by beautiful mountains where I went hiking and exploring. My French language ability improved greatly, along with my confidence and willingness to step outside of my comfort zone.

I would recommend both studying languages and experiencing a year abroad to anyone, as I now feel like no challenge is too big for me! Teaching was a really valuable use of my time, as I could earn money to support my travel plans and help me explore France.