Joy Walker

BA Arabic and Spanish

Summary: Joy explains why her year abroad in Cairo was an adventure and the best thing about Leeds University.

Because my degree, Arabic and Spanish, was so rare I was quite limited when choosing which university I wanted to study at. I chose Leeds as it had a great reputation and it meant I would be close to my parents. Coming to university was a huge step and a big challenge but I soon learnt to be independent and loved living away from home.

My top tip for surviving your first year at Leeds is to put your heart into your studies and to separate work from play! The work load at university can be daunting at first so set aside a few hours each day to relax and enjoy yourself.

There are so many occupations open to language graduates at the moment including international business, politics and work with NGOs. After graduation I hope to go into the interpretation field working alongside the British Government.

I spent the second year of my degree in Egypt which has been the highlight of my studies. I attended a language school every morning where we were given intensive courses in grammar, translation, interpretation and prose. The classes were all taken in Arabic which proved a huge challenge but were a great influence on our level of fluency. Living in an Arab country was an eye-opener as I had never experienced such a diverse culture before. I experienced days of homesickness and days where I never wanted to leave. Each day was an adventure in Cairo- haggling for the morning bread, donkeys loose on the highway and taxis blowing up! You may never experience anything like the year abroad again so I really recommend you make the most of it!

For me the best thing about Leeds University is the friendly atmosphere both in uni and in the city. Leeds is filled with diverse young people and studying here gives you loads of opportunities to meet new friends. You’ll meet people you would never normally cross paths with and will find, through the union, interests you never realised you had! Leeds is great for tourists as well as residents and is famous for its nightlife. Studying at Leeds University you will be challenged far beyond anything you have experienced at college, but if you put in the effort you will have the best years of your life here!