Summary: Elliot reflects on his time here including realising his passion for translation studies, spending a year working in Spain and making full use of the facilities the University and city have to offer.
I come from a military family background and have lived in a variety of countries over many years, notably Germany and Belgium. These experiences have engrained in me a love of other cultures and languages.
I used to have family that lived in Spain and I would visit them every year, this was fundamentally the reason why I chose Spanish at school. I decided to continue studying Spanish at university because I really enjoyed it and realised that I was not that bad at it, also languages are more and more in demand by employers. I chose English because I am a very enthusiastic reader. The University of Leeds was quite an easy choice for me to make. The University boasts great departments in both subjects and has a really wide selection of modules to choose from.
The university has great facilities too; the School of Languages has some of the finest facilities in the country especially for translation studies. The Brotherton and Edward Boyle libraries are also big enough to get lost in and have all the books you might need.
As part of the language half of my degree I had a year abroad in Spain as a British Council Language Assistant at a secondary school in the northern city of Soria. It was a small place and surprisingly chilly and lacking in beaches for a Spanish city! However, precisely because of its small size, not many people spoke English and this coupled with the fact that I lived with a footballer who didnt speak any English, greatly improved my Spanish. I can also honestly say that I had one of the best years of my life. I only worked 12 hours a week plus a few private classes, so this enabled me to travel all over northern Spain: Barcelona, Madrid, Zaragoza, Bilbao, San Sebastian, Burgos Upon returning from Spain I found life perhaps easier than in my second year, I had certainly grown more confident and participated more in classes.
After my year abroad I have become more enthusiastic about the Spanish side of my degree and especially translation studies. In fact, I have just completed an Extended Essay (a short dissertation) on the translation of the TV series Friends in Spanish, which I thoroughly enjoyed doing and which further demonstrates that you really can mould your studies to whatever you want to do, the University course is very flexible that way.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of my degree is when I can combine my two subjects. I certainly feel that my essay skills obtained from studying English have enabled me to get higher grades in Spanish and recently my study of Don Quixote in English was enhanced by my knowledge of Spanish.
The thing that always surprises people about Leeds is the sheer quantity of students in the city and this certainly surprised me upon arriving. However, this is definitely not a bad thing; it means that Leeds has a great social scene. Leeds as a city is packed full of bars, restaurants, clubs and shops. It has everything a student needs. The University is also handily situated between the city and sports fields, which has enabled me to play football at least twice a week. Students can really do anything here. There are so many societies and sports teams so you can play anything from football to Quidditch, do anything from salsa dancing to darts. The University also provides lots of opportunities for part time work, for instance, I am currently working as a Language Ambassador for the University.
I will graduate soon so I am in the process of applying for an MA in Applied Translation Studies at Leeds with the eventual goal of working for a large international organisation such as the EU or UN.