- School: School of Languages Cultures and Societies (LCS)
- Course: Modern Languages BA (Arabic and Spanish)
- Level of Study: Fourth Year
You can find the full course details here.
What did you study at school and college?
For GCSE I studied the 3 sciences, Maths, English, Geography, French and Spanish. For A-Level; English Literature, Spanish and Maths, dropping Physics at AS-Level. I also did an Extended Project Qualification.
What has been your favourite part of the course so far?
Having had no background in Arabic before, but having studied Spanish since school, I figured university was the perfect, low risk time to start learning a language which had always intrigued and one I knew very little about. By final year, my level in Arabic is the same as my level in Spanish which shows the benefit of the intense language course here and also that not having studied something before needn’t be a barrier if you have that curiosity. What I love most about studying 2 languages is the variety of the course. I have the opportunity to learn about politics, culture, history, literature, economics, international relations, ethics and religion through both the compulsory and optional parts of my degree, which is great as you end up learning about things and becoming genuinely interested in things that I hadn’t even considered before. Oh, and the year and term abroad!
What can you tell me about the Study Abroad placement year?
I studied abroad in Fez, Morocco and also in Leon, Spain. I did a year in Fez in my second year which was incredibly daunting, moving abroad just before my 20th birthday. Living in Morocco was incredible. We arrived just before Eid and had to use our limited Arabic to find a place to live in the 45 degree heat in our first week. The year was incredible, learning so much language in our 4 hours a day study as well as being able to explore the markets and the amazing labyrinthine city of Fez in our afternoons. Weekends and holidays were amazing too, as Fez is well connected by very cheap trains and buses to destinations all over Morocco so we enjoyed cultural breaks in Tangier, surf weekends in Rabat, mountain road trips in the Atlas Mountains and desert adventures in the Sahara. It was an incredible opportunity and an amazing insight into what was a totally foreign culture. Bartering in the markets for my very very fresh food is something I miss doing back in the UK. In the summer term of my 3rd year I did a study placement in Leon, Spain, which was a total contrast with my time in Morocco. Just as relaxed, but one where afternoons were spent hiking and eating the most brilliant tapas and sitting in plazas enjoying the sunshine.
What are your career aspirations and how will your degree help you get there?
I’d love to work for an international Non-Governmental Organisation which helps empower young people in some capacity – what exactly, I’m not sure. The presentation skills taught by the degree and the flexibility, self-confidence and open-mindedness you learn from living abroad has definitely set me up well. Not to mention the resilience and willingness to take risks, which are very important when wanting to move abroad and try something new.
How is studying at university different to school and college?
Study at university is a lot more independent than school and college. You definitely get out what you put in. Fewer contact hours don’t necessarily equate to less study, but there are also more opportunities to engage with the languages you’re learning too. There’s a fantastic Language Zone with films and books to borrow in the target language, and a brilliant exchange programme which matches you with native speakers of your target language who want to improve their English too – you can meet them anywhere to practise – a casual coffee was always enjoyable!
What do you do in your free time?
I’ve tried lots of new things whilst at university. I’ve volunteered with refugees in first year, tried kayaking in second year and worked with international students in my final year! I also use the fantastic swimming pool and gym at The Edge frequently as a way to decompress from my studies and exercise to relax.
What are your experiences of accommodation in Leeds?
Accommodation has mostly been great. My halls were Central Village which was great and fantastic for meeting a good group of people. In Fez I lived in a traditional Moroccan Riad with friends from my course which had the most amazing roof terrace. In my final 2 years I rented from Private Landlords, all UniPol approved and had a great experience, living near Hyde Park Corner and the pubs, restaurants, lively atmosphere and green spaces that the area offers. It is also absolutely brilliant living with friends!