Kirsty Louise Bryden
I’m from a small town called Crook in County Durham and I’m the first person to go to University in my family.
My motivation to study
Leeds appealed to me because it’s a multi-cultural area with lots of teaching opportunities, especially for teaching languages. I applied for the BA ELE course because it ‘opens a lot of doors’ – it allows me to go into various aspects of teaching, whether it be primary school or TEFL.
I have always been interested in learning languages. So far I have studied French, German and Spanish at different levels. My course allows you the opportunity to learn a new language in your third year, so I’m thinking of studying Mandarin Chinese. The ability to speak other languages are highly desired on your CV and are useful if you want to travel or teach abroad.
I have enjoyed looking at aspects of other languages in my course. There are linguistic and phonetic components to this course, where you can look at the pronunciation difficulties of other nationalities when learning English. I have also enjoyed looking at the modules surrounding child development, which are useful if you wanted to go into Primary School teaching.
Learning Facilities and Student Support
The learning facilities at Leeds are useful: I spend a great portion of my time in the Edward Boyle Library (and the Brotherton library if I want to pretend I’m an extra in Harry Potter!).
My course has been great. At first, moving to Leeds was a very daunting prospect and because I was studying a course I hadn’t originally applied for, I was very apprehensive about whether University was really for me. However, the support at Leeds is fantastic – each student is given a personal tutor, who you can talk to about any issues you may have.
Outside of Studying
As part of the BA ELE course, you are given the opportunity to complete the CELTA course in your second year. This course is a certificate in teaching English as a foreign language, which is appropriate if you want to teach abroad, or in private institutions in the UK. This course was paid for by Leeds University, and gave me the opportunity to gain lots of teaching experience and was also a very self-rewarding experience. I taught a multi-lingual adult class, and I loved it. The CELTA course is online, and although demanding when you’re completing your degree, it’s worth it and only lasts 4 months.
Within the University, I am part of SLAPsoc, which is the Spanish, Latin American and Portuguese society and I take part in the Reggaeton dance classes. I am also part of the online magazine HerCampus, which is the leading American women’s student magazine. At the beginning of each term, the societies do taster sessions for students to try out, so I have also tried pole-dancing and running for the Cross Country team. In my first year, I didn’t take part in any societies, and I regret this now. In my second year I’ve tried various societies and it is a great opportunity to make the most out of the facilities offered in Leeds, and gives you the chance to meet new people.
Leeds as a city
Coming from a very small town (one of the ones where everyone knows each other) Leeds is both scary and exciting. There are various opportunities in Leeds that you can take part in, but I tend to stay on Campus.
My Advice to prospective students
I would say to not be put off by its ‘newness’. Although it is a new course, therefore not very well known, you can shape the course to exactly what you want to do in the future. If you want to go into any form of teaching, or you want to travel, this is the course for you.
After I finish my course, I would like to go to Germany for a year to teach English, then come back to Leeds and complete a PGCE and go into teaching English as an Additional language to children.