- Course: MA TESOL Studies
- Year of graduation: 2022
- Nationality: British
Please tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Sophia, I am 22 years old and originally come from Cardiff in Wales. I am the first person in my family to attend university. I have a Bachelor Degree (BA) in Asia Pacific Studies from the University of Leeds and I am currently completing a Master Degree (MA) in TESOL Studies at Leeds. During my undergraduate degree, I had the opportunity to participate in the Language Exchange Programme run by the Language Zone in the Language Centre. It was during this programme I realised my passion for not only learning about different cultures but also sharing my own with other students.
What made you want to apply to your course and to Leeds?
My motivation for studying for a Master degree at Leeds stemmed from my experience as an undergraduate. Leeds had always felt like home, with the rich diversity of students, beautiful places to visit including the university campus and friendly teachers. Therefore, I did not want to leave. In addition, compared to other universities in the UK, the MA TESOL Studies at Leeds did not require me to have a lot of teaching experience which was a major concern. The course also offered micro-teaching sessions whereby I could plan and organise teaching lessons and implement them in a real-life class situation. Overall, I am so happy that I applied to my course at Leeds as I had a great experience and got to make long-life friends.
What is it that makes you passionate about your area of study?
Teachers play a significant role in educating individuals and this role is especially important when teaching English as a second or foreign language. Teachers profoundly impact the way an individual learns by helping students acquire knowledge and competency. It is this aspect that I find extremely interesting and my time at university has allowed me to further my knowledge of teaching English as a second language which I can apply in my future career. More importantly, I recognise the value of education and how education can change the lives of people for the better.
What do you think of your course so far – what aspects of the course have you enjoyed the most or are looking forward to the most?
MA TESOL Studies offers a range of modules from exploring language teaching to more specialised modules such as Teaching English to Young Learners. It has been insightful but challenging experience. As someone will little teaching experience, I was able to learn new theories about teaching language to foreign students and develop my teaching skills through the micro-teaching sessions. I particularly enjoyed hearing from my classmates who come from diverse backgrounds about teaching English in their home country. Personally, having the opportunity to spend a year with students from around the world and learn from them was something I was most looking forward to.
What would you say about the learning facilities at the University of Leeds?
The facilities at the university provide students will the support they need and highlight the range of opportunities available for students. These include the library services such as Skills@Library that offer students workshops on academic writing and other resources such as ‘The Final Chapter’ website for dissertation writing. I really love the study spaces available to students with three main libraries. I particularly enjoy studying in Brotherton library because it is quiet and relaxing especially during examination times.
How would you describe the student support and community at Leeds? Have you taken part in any co-curricular or social events you would like to mention?
In terms of student support, there is always someone at the university that you can talk to from your personal tutor to course representatives or the student support network in the Leeds University Union (LUU). The university also puts on a lot of co-curricular and social events for students to take part in from day trips to pet therapy. There is an event for everyone, my favourite is the 3-day trip to the Lake District that the School of Education puts on annually for students. It is a great way for students to travel and a good opportunity to spend time with students and staff.
What other activities are available for students to take part in outside of their studies, and which ones have you tried out yourself?
There are many opportunities for students to take part outside of their studies including clubs and societies. I was part of the horse riding and the Japanese society where I made lifelong friends and got to learn a new skill. I also had the opportunity of becoming a Welcome Ambassador whereby I welcome new students arriving at student accommodation. I loved sharing my experience at university, Leeds and living in student accommodation. It was a fulfilling experience to help ease the transition process for new students coming to Leeds.
What do you think about Leeds as a city?
Leeds as a place to live is amazing. There is so much to do and explore from visiting Leeds Dock to taking a short bus ride to Kirkstall Abbey. There is something for everyone whether you prefer quieter and leisure activities or looking to socialise with new people. I personally, loved exploring Leeds and the surrounding area including Harrogate, Otley and Bradford. I recommend anyone moving to Leeds to visit as many places as they can.
What would you say to anyone thinking of applying to your course?
To anyone thinking of applying to the course, I would say go for it. I really enjoyed my time at Leeds but the course itself was insightful and worthwhile. I not only was able to learn a lot but also, meet classmates, teachers and friends who made my study even more enjoyable.
What do you plan to do once you’ve finished your course? What are you career aspirations?
After I finish my course, I hope to get accepted onto the Japanese Exchange and Teaching program (JET) run by the Japanese government and become an English Language assistant teacher in Japan. I hope to utilise the skills and knowledge whilst on MA TESOL Studies for my future career of teaching English abroad.
Any other comment you would like to make?
For students studying at Leeds, I would say to them to take advantage of all that the university has to offer from opportunities such as working as a student ambassador or within the union, utilising the career services and engaging with your university whether that be as a course representative or joining a society.