Cerys Hodson

Please tell us a bit about yourself and your background.

I have just completed my 4 year degree studying BA Arabic and French at the University. I gained my place at the University thanks to the Access to Leeds programme, as I am a first generation student from a low participation neighbourhood and completed secondary education in a low performing high school.  

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

I applied to Leeds as it was a university somewhat close to home and offered places to students like myself that may not achieve the best A-level grades due to circumstances. As well as this, the university was one of few in the country to offer the opportunity to study Arabic alongside another language. I decided to pursue the course I did due to my passion for languages and experiencing other cultures. Further to this, I felt the course at Leeds was right for me as it offered the chance to study abroad in second year which I thought would be a fantastic opportunity to learn a language through immersion not long after starting the course. 

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

I am passionate about my area of study because I love how versatile it is, not only can I learn another language, which is an impressive skill alone, I can also learn about a different culture, society, history, political system, as well as developing vital communication skills which will benefit my career in the future.  

What aspects of the course do you enjoy the most?   

I enjoy being able to explore a wide range of topics and the freedom that allows when it comes to projects such as the final year project where you are able to really focus on something that interests you. 

Have you worked closely with a particular tutor or member or the University’s academic staff? Tell us about that experience.  

I had the opportunity to work alongside Dr Hanem El-Farahaty last summer as part of the business’ schools Q-step summer internship scheme. As a part of that, I played a supporting role in the analysis of gendered nouns occurring in Arabic speaking countries constitutions, as well as helping to expand the corpora of legal texts that Dr Hanem had been working on. This was a fantastic opportunity that allowed me to understand how my languages can be used outside of an educational context and helped me to make the decision to pursue further study particularly in translation.  

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

The university has an incredible selection of clubs and societies to join. During my time here I’ve been involved with Student Action for Refugees and the Bereaved Student Network, where I was also the Social Secretary for the academic year 20/21. As well as this, I have stayed active by joining the modern dance society and more recently the universities boat club where I am now also a member of committee as the Welfare Support Officer for the club.  

What do you plan to do when you’ve finished your course, and how do you think the skills and knowledge you’ve developed so far at Leeds will help with these plans? 

After finishing my course I plan to continue my studies at the University on the MA Applied Translation Studies course. The skills I have developed as a part of my course here will be vital for my future plans as not only will my language skills be incredibly important but the communication, team work and organisational skills will support me in my transition from undergraduate to postgraduate study.   

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

I would say to take every opportunity that you can and enjoy it!