Olivia Stroobants

Olivia Stroobants

Please tell us a bit about yourself and your background.

I am 21 years old and was born in the Netherlands to an English mother and a Belgian father. I grew up in Germany, but we lived so close to the Dutch border that I went to school in the Netherlands, first to a mainstream primary school and then to an international school (ISM/UWC Maastricht). I was brought up bilingually in Flemish/Dutch and English, but I also speak German and some Spanish. In my free time I enjoy reading, playing tennis, dancing, travelling and speaking and learning languages.

What motivated you to apply to study your chosen course and why did you chose Leeds?

I have really enjoyed the course because it offers the opportunity to study a range of things that I am interested in, including child development, language learning and language teaching. I chose Leeds because I liked that it is a campus-based university located so close to the city centre. It is also a great place in England that allows you to easily access other parts of the country.

What do you think of your course? Have there been any particular highlights for you?

I have really enjoyed my course and especially being able to learn three languages in my three years. I also really like that the School of Education is small, which means that there are a lot of opportunities for personal contact between staff and students. My main highlight was the chance to study abroad and put the language I learned in second year into practice. I spent my Erasmus year in Spain and had the time of my life. It was also great because as an aspiring teacher I was able to compare various education systems.

How would you describe the help and guidance provided by the staff within the School?

The staff in the School are great. They offer a lot of guidance and opportunity for personal supervisions to help each student make the most out of their time at university.

How would you describe the facilities at the University?

The student union is a great place! It is the best student union in the country and that is only something I can support because the facilities available are amazing, from support workers to the shops, to the way the societies are run. The libraries are another great asset to the university and provide a good place to study, with enough resources to carry out homework and other tasks.

Since starting at the university have you been granted any scholarships, or won any awards for example?

I have won an award for my contribution to Students Wellbeing during my first year at university.

Have you had the opportunity to study abroad, or complete a year in industry? If so, please tell us about your experience.

Yes, I studied at Universidad Autonoma de Madrid in Spain. It was a fantastic experience because I got to live in a country I have always dreamed of living in and was also able to experience the education system there. I love learning languages and traveling and this was a great opportunity to improve my Spanish and to travel around the country. It was one of the best experiences of my life, mainly because I got to make friends from all over the world. Also, because I was able to teach English in the residence in which I lived and because I managed to arrange the opportunity to volunteer in a school on the outskirts of Madrid during my final month there.

Have you been involved in extra-curricular activities, such as societies, summer placements etc?

I am currently the course rep for the final year BA ELE students. I was also the UG school rep during my second year at university. Apart from this, I was the media and communications officer for the Education Society and I am currently a Buddy Coordinator for the Erasmus and International Society.