Please tell us a bit about yourself and your background.
I am 22 years old and I am from quite a large town called Northampton, just north of London. When applying to universities, Leeds was always my first and only choice so when my place was confirmed I was ecstatic. I am now in my fourth year at Leeds University, and hopefully will be graduating this summer. My course was only meant to be three years, however I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to study abroad in Madrid for a year, where I was able to further my Spanish proficiency. Overall my time at Leeds has provided me with some great opportunities and experiences and I believe the years I’ve spent here have been truly beneficial as I now feel ready for the next step in life.
What motivated you to apply to study your chosen course and why did you chose Leeds?
The BA English, Language and Education course interested me because of its uniqueness to any other education courses I had looked at. I liked that this course gave a focus to the foreign language teaching of English as this was a career path I was considering to take. I fell in love with Leeds the first time I visited, the City had such a young student vibe and I loved the Leeds Campus because all the students were one big community.
What do you think of your course, have there been any particular highlights for you?
My course has really provided me with the necessary foundations, to now go on and teach English abroad. As well as the relevant modules, in my first year at university the school of Education provided me with the opportunity to gain some teaching experience. This involved me volunteering in Indonesia, where I taught English there to children aged 12-14. In addition, in second year I was able to complete a CELTA qualification alongside my degree which now enables me to officially teach English and is a widely recognised qualification. On top of this throughout my years at Leeds my course has enabled me to pick up both the Spanish and Italian Language and even spend a year in Madrid, which was truly amazing.
How would you describe the help and guidance provided by the staff within the School?
The support both in the School of Education and throughout the University is truly amazing. The staff within my school provide a substantial amount of help and guidance, they are always available for anything you need help with and they always go that extra mile. The School of Education really do create a community for both students and teachers so that you feel very comfortable to approach lecturers and ask those questions you might think are silly. In addition the University as a whole has a vast amount of facilities available to help and guide you in any situation, and I would recommend taking advantage of this.
How would you describe the facilities at the University?
The facilities at the University are brilliant, both academically and socially. There are several large libraries that have an astonishing amount of literature available. The new Laidlaw library offers some great spaces to work and study and the Skills@Library provide some great courses to help guide you with your work. In addition to this the careers centre have been extremely helpful to me with developing my CV and guiding my future career path.
Socially, the union has so much to offer and I feel guilty that I haven’t experienced it all. There is a great student vibe on the campus, there are several shops, cafes and restaurants in and around the university for you and your friends to socialise in. There are loads of societies to join, there is a high tech gym available and the union even offers entertainment in terms of nightlife.
Since starting at the university have you been granted any scholarships, or won any awards for example?
In my second year at Leeds I was awarded the Frank Smith Prize. I was given the award for my academic achievement in my modules and for my additional achievements in my CELTA qualification and my extra-curricular activities. In addition I was recently contacted by Teach First and asked if I wanted to join their Leadership Development Programme, where they were offering to fund my PGCE. However I was also offered a job as an English Teacher in The British International School of Kuala Lumpur and decided that I wanted to take this role instead and gain some more practical experience before I considered a PGCE.
Have you had the opportunity to study abroad, or complete a year in industry? If so, please tell us about your experience.
Fortunately for my third year, I was given the opportunity to study abroad for the year in Madrid. Here I was placed at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, where I studied my current curriculum but in Spanish. Through this experience I was able to further my Spanish proficiency and get a real feel for the culture and the Spanish life. In addition I was able to make lifelong friends from around the globe and even had the opportunity to travel around Spain. This was truly one of the most amazing experiences and something I will never forget and recommend all students to do.
Have you been involved in extra-curricular activities, such as societies, summer placements etc?
I have been involved with many societies offered by the University, as there is so much to choose from. Leeds rag and Leeds action provide some great opportunities to volunteer and gain some great experience. A favourite would be the snow-riders society, where I was able to go on a ski trip with 600 other students, not only did I learn to ski but we had some of the best parties. I also attended a Spanish Summer School in Salamanca, Spain where I was able to practice my Spanish at a beautiful school in a historical town. Again this was an amazing experience going on a trip with several other university students and was a great way to further my proficiency.