Summary: Sebastien enjoys the wide range of modules on offer and talks about how the French department has something to offer all of its students!
My decision to choose to study BA French at the University of Leeds was based on league table rankings and my first impressions on the Open Day. I remember there was a really welcoming atmosphere and everyone was so friendly. The University Union was also very impressive and I soon realised that you can have a great night out in there!
From the start of my second year I decided to choose only French modules, but tried to pick a wide variety so that I could see what might interest me for further study or a career. We were given a lot of information about the modules before being asked to decide, so that we could clearly see what each would involve and how it would be assessed. In the end, I chose modules based on my instinctive interest in various subject areas.
I love the wide variety of modules on offer, from Interpreting to Medieval French Literature, and from Cinema right through to History and the Visual Arts, the French department caters to all tastes among Francophiles!
I also have taken part in the study abroad programme and worked as an English Assistant at a Secondary School & College in the north of France. I really enjoyed being part of a foreign workplace and interacting with both students and teachers. This was valuable work experience and I took on responsibilities I've never had before. Because I really integrated myself into the school environment, I was able to accompany school trips to Paris, London and a regional activity camp, sing in the college choir and create lasting friendships with my colleagues.
I chose the English Assistantship because it seemed like a great chance to gain experience as a teacher. It was both rewarding and challenging to have a taste of a teaching career, as well as being a huge help financially. I was responsible for choosing, inventing and delivering my own lessons, which required me to plan ahead and think creatively. I took on a leadership role in class and on school trips, which was equally enjoyable. Being in front of the class and occasionally having to improvise in lessons also improved my public speaking ability no end!
The work load was really manageable as I was only teaching twelve hours a week, giving me a chance to discover the region, and during the (frequent) two week holidays I was able to travel to Italy, Germany and other parts of France. One of the most enjoyable aspects of the year abroad was having the time to experience the culture, which was something that was greatly aided by my colleagues and friends.
The huge student population in Leeds means that cultural venues and vibrant social scenes have sprung up all around the university and in student areas, as well as the city centre. My favourite venues in town are the small motown, soul and jazz clubs, as well as the cosy pubs of Headingley. The annual Leeds Uni vs. Leeds Met varsity rugby game always has an electric atmosphere and is a great way to kick off the year and French socials are also great, but nothing beats a good house party with mates.