Lea-Sophie Montjoie

Please tell us a bit about yourself and your background?  

I grew up in a small town in the south of Germany and moved to Berlin when I was a young teenager. I went to international schools from the age of four, which meant that I was privileged to learn the English language from a very young age. When I graduated from high school in Berlin, I knew I wanted an adventure away from the comfort of my family and home country. This fuelled my decision to want to study abroad and to this day, it is the best choice I have ever made. 

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

I loved the fact that my course is taught by many leading academics in the field of media and communication, meaning that I benefit from learning from the best. Furthermore, when I applied, I was not yet sure what specific areas of media and communication I might want to pursue as a career. The Media and Communication course at Leeds has allowed me to explore the different options through a wide range of modules and it has truly helped me figure out what I do and do not enjoy.  

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

I love that communication theory is applicable to many, if not all, areas of life. Learning these theories and then being able to observe these phenomena in real life is immensely rewarding. Interpersonal communication is arguably at the heart of everything we do as humans and studying this field allows me to truly understand how this works.  

What aspects of the course do you enjoy the most? 

I enjoy the communication aspect of my course the most, starting with learning about basic theories as well as studying effective interpersonal communication and even applying these skills to powerful speeches. I love that I can build on basic communication theories learned in the first year of my studies and then apply these to specific subjects such as climate communication or visual communication in later years.  

What would you say about the learning facilities in your School and at the University in general?  

The learning facilities in the School of Media and Communication are very modern, with editing suites, camera equipment, radio and TV studios all available to support your studies. This means that you can access high-tech equipment easily whenever it is needed.  

The staff in our school are also extremely supportive and will gladly help if you need extra time or further help with your assignments. Furthermore, the University provides five different libraries that can all be used as study spaces and are open 24/7 during the exam periods! 

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

As I am currently in the process of writing my dissertation, I am in close contact with my dissertation supervisor who supports me in every way. No questions go unanswered, and I feel completely at ease knowing that I have a point of contact for any queries I might have. Regular office hours allow me to schedule meetings with my supervisor and if this is not possible due to timetabling issues, they are always quick to reply to emails. 

It is also extremely beneficial that my supervisor has written about and researched a similar topic area to my dissertation, so she has been able to suggest relevant readings and theories. This is especially valuable when writing a dissertation, as one often seems lost in a sea of academic articles, not knowing where to start.  

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

The Leeds University Union is known for its hundreds of different societies, meaning there is an opportunity to try out almost every sport or hobby imaginable.  

I was a part of the student newspaper The Gryphon which allowed me to get a real insight into the day-to-day life of journalists. I was also a member of the Women in Leadership society that hosted regular talks by successful businesswomen, which was beyond inspiring.  

Furthermore, every course at the University of Leeds has student leaders who represent the student voice and give feedback to staff members regularly. I applied to this opportunity and have been the student leader of my course for almost three years. Not only is this an extremely rewarding experience, it also allows you to make a difference and develop leadership skills while you’re at it. 

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?  

I have recently accepted a job offer with a global leader in knowledge on-demand. This firm provides investment and business leaders with access to industry knowledge to achieve the best outcomes for these clients. My role will involve a lot of communication with clients, experts, and colleagues, meaning that the skills I have developed in interpersonal communication are hugely beneficial. As this role is also very demanding, the time management skills and perseverance I have learned throughout my degree will also undoubtedly aid my success in this organisation. 

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

If you are looking for an opportunity to explore big ideas, theories and concepts of media and communication then this is the course for you.  

It is important to note that this is a very theoretical course and while there are some practical-based optional modules, the vast majority of the work will involve research and writing. To enjoy and succeed in this course you must be prepared to spend many hours reading academic articles and putting together essays. However, after the first year of introductions to the main concepts of media and communication, you can then choose from a wide range of optional modules which allow you to tailor the course to your interests.