Kako shintani

Kako Shintani

Please tell us a bit about yourself and your background.

I’m a second-year in BA Education. Prior to this course I did one year of BA Childhood Studies but realised my passion for teaching and chose to change course; I’m very happy with my choice. I come from Japan, but I spent 6 years in my childhood living in North London.

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

Initially, I chose Childhood Studies because I have always wanted to work with children. I had volunteering experience working with children and young people during my high school years, but I wasn’t sure what kind of job I wanted to pursue. I knew I wanted to come to Leeds, though. I liked that it wasn’t too big or too small of a university, not too big or too small of a city, and the campus looked amazing. The university’s efforts in sustainability and diversity also appealed to me. After figuring out that I wanted to change my course, I decided to stay in Leeds because I loved the place, it was only the course that I didn’t enjoy as much. I’m very happy that I stayed because I’m loving the Education course.

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

It’s been great, I love the lecturers we have as they are very passionate about education and are very understanding. They prioritise the best quality learning for students, which I don’t think is paid much attention to in some other schools. During the pandemic, we had pre-recorded lectures and online webinars where we had an opportunity to have synchronous discussions, ask questions and feel connected albeit across a screen. I know others struggled with only having asynchronous (pre-recorded) contact time which made it very hard for their motivation and a challenge to do well. I’m very glad our school and our staff were more supportive and engaging with us.

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

Services for student wellbeing and mental health are amazing, I’d say the best judging from what I hear from students in other universities. Our School’s Student Support Officer is so supportive, they always make time for each one of us whenever we need them, give us great advice and help us succeed.

How would you describe the facilities at the University?

From the gym to the union to green spaces around campus, the facilities at the university are top notch and well-maintained. Even when I didn’t have classes on campus during the pandemic, I still took walks to see all the beautiful spots.

Have you been involved in extra-curricular activities?

I’ve been a member of the Japanese society where I’ve had the chance to connect with so many Japanese students, exchange students and people who are interested in Japan/Japanese culture in general. With a big society like JapSoc, committees take so much time and effort to organise a lot of events, socials and also give information on employability-related opportunities. It’s more than what I imagined a uni society to be like and I’ve enjoyed being a part of it.

I also found out about the Refill scheme through socials somewhere at some point in first-year, and now I run it! Being at uni means there’s loads of people around and that means loads of opportunities to do, or find out, what you’re interested in, and make your CV look good on the way!

Any other comments you would like to make?

I wouldn’t wish to go to any other university. I love Leeds and I love this uni. I love our community.