Please tell us a bit about yourself and your background.
I am a 22-year-old Cypriot student with a BA degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Cyprus (2012-16). Generally, I have been quite active and this has given me the opportunity to work with people coming from various backgrounds and under numerous circumstances. Firstly, I had taken a Modernism course at the University of Edinburgh (2013), when I had my first tangible contact with the English (and other) cultures. Then, as an Erasmus student at the University of Leeds for a whole academic year (2014-15) I met people from different backgrounds and learned to work with people from other cultures.
What motivated you to apply to study your chosen course and why did you chose Leeds?
I have chosen to come back to Leeds mainly because I spent a year as an Erasmus student. This was a valuable experience for me since I got the chance to get to know the English culture more, practise the English language, and of course take advantage of the opportunities provided by the University (resources, events, seminars, webinars). Also, the high ranking of the university was an important reason that made me return to Leeds.
The course I have chosen relates to what I would like to do for a living; namely, to teach English. Through this course, I have been able to gain knowledge relating to classroom management as well as the development of the various language skills. Also, the microteaching sessions organised by our professors enabled us to practise these skills, get some feedback from them as well as from our classmates, and to become better through this experience. This will be extremely helpful when we will, eventually, have to handle a real classroom, with real students.
What do you think of your course, have there been any particular highlights for you?
Generally, I find my course to be very insightful and well-structured since we move from theory, in semester one, into practice, in semester two.
What I like the most is that our professors are people who are experienced in the subject matter and this is something that is evident through their personal contributions to the classes when they share with us some incidents or issues they faced. TESOL Forum, a seminar-like session held weekly, is a highlight since it offers students the chance to meet with colleagues from other MA programmes within the School and share perspectives they might not come across yet.
How would you describe the help and guidance provided by the staff within the School?
The staff within the school are ready to offer help and guidance relating to professional development and generally they organise a lot of events concerning students' progress during and after they get their degrees.
For example, I had the chance to visit the Education Show in Birmingham in March through the School. There, I had the opportunity to see a lot of technical resources employed in classes (from desks to pens and markers) and I also got information that was relevant for English language instruction such as books or programmes.
How would you describe the facilities at the University?
In terms of the facilities, the University of Leeds has a lot to offer with IT facilities such as the VLE or the various programmes making students’ life easier according to discipline. The University is a multidimensional place, constantly changing and being renovated when appropriate, keeping the ‘traditional’ character vivid and adapting to the needs of a modern classroom. The campus offers many places for students to study and do their research because of the numerous libraries.
What is more, I really liked the pop-up fashion bazaars in the Union, but also the fact that you can grab a beer in Old Bar and do so many different things while being there. I also loved the gym which is fully equipped and offers so many classes. Particularly, I have enjoyed attended several Zumba classes.
Have you been involved in extra-curricular activities, such as societies, summer placements etc?
Yes, I am a Course Rep along with two other Chinese colleagues. Therefore, if any classmate has any issues, s/he has to contact us so that we can pass this through to the person responsible. Moreover, I have created a Facebook page where we can all share information such as deadlines, or even interesting articles, and sometimes humorous pictures to let others know that we are all dealing with more or less the same student problems.
Any other comments you would like to make?
Leeds has become a second home for me since I have spent so much time here. Being in this city has shaped my personality in many different ways; for example, I have learned to be more confident and taking up responsibilities for myself as well as for other since now I am a Course Rep in my MA programme. As an Erasmus and postgraduate student here, I met people from different backgrounds, learned to respect the way they think and tried to get into their shoes.