Mark Pollock

Mark Pollock

BA Hons English Literature and Theatre Studies

Summary: Mark reflects on his time studying BA English Literature and Theatre studies and talks about the benefits of doing a study abroad year.

I was first attracted to the English and Theatre Studies course by the vast range modules offered across the three years at Leeds. The course allowed me to combine practical work in the theatre with critical studies of plays, novels, poetry and even cinema. The facilities at Leeds also played a big factor in my decision to apply. Students of English and Theatre were particularly lucky as we had the Workshop Theatre building all to ourselves; a huge converted chapel with three theatre spaces, costume room and editing suites. Having all three years based in one building gives you a real sense of community and you quickly get to know your tutors and students from other years. 

I loved the practical work in my theatre modules as it gave me the chance to explore abstract theories and ideas, which I had studied in seminars, through live performance. The resulting performances often turned out pretty weird but they opened new perspectives and a deeper level of understanding that I could then apply to essays and across other modules.

BA (Hons) English and Theatre is a great course and I would strongly encourage anyone to apply. There is such a great deal of flexibility within the course so you can always find an area of study that suits you. Don’t be afraid to make a fool of yourself if you are devising practical work – some of our best ideas came from improvisation and mistakes!

As I progressed through my years at Leeds, I managed to discover more and more societies. I played Intra-mural football for English all three years and was a member of Folk Soc, the Union Music Library, Theatre Group and Leeds Student Radio.

Erasmus Year Abroad

In my third year I undertook an Erasmus year abroad at the Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU), Munich.
I studied mostly in English with a combination of American Studies and Literature which I found really rewarding.

The whole experience of living in central Europe was great as it gave me a chance to travel and visit friends in different Erasmus cities. Whilst the year didn’t directly contribute to my overall grade, I think it gave me confidence and time to develop more of my own ideas with help of some of the best American and German professors working at the LMU. I studied some cool subjects like Native American Literature and the work of Bob Dylan which I wouldn’t have had access to at Leeds.

My advice to anyone planning a year abroad would be to make sure you take a pre-term language course in your destination city. Regardless of your level of fluency it gives you a great opportunity to meet other international students and gives you a chance to network in the city after just a couple of days.

When I moved back to Leeds I arranged to live in a house with five other ‘returners.’ The students from the year below on my course were really welcoming to the four of us who had come back from various places abroad.

My year abroad was a great cultural experience and has left me with some great friends and memories. Everyone in the international office was really helpful and took care of a lot of bureaucracy on my behalf!