Rachel Flannery

Rachel Flannery

BA French and Italian

Summary: As a Joint Honours student Rachel studied in France for her term abroad and spent a further year working as a language assistant.

I applied to study Italian as well as French as I hadn’t had the opportunity to do so before coming to university. Languages has a fantastic reputation at the University and Leeds itself is a great student city with something to suit everyone.

I love learning new languages and experiencing different cultures and studying at the University of Leeds allowed me to spend a term in France and a year in Italy. This is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the language and culture of the languages you study and is the best way to learn and improve. I love that by speaking other languages you can mix with other cultures and create friendships which otherwise might not be possible.

I studied French at L’Université de Bourgogne with other Joint Honours language students from Leeds for my term abroad. For my year abroad I chose to work and found a job with the British Council and worked as an English Language Assistant in two middle schools near Florence. I absolutely loved teaching and although it was challenging at times it was also so rewarding and by working you’re able to experience another aspect of Italian culture. I lived with an Italian family in Fiesole (a small, picturesque city overlooking Florence) and I worked for them as an au-pair in addition to working 12 hours per week as a language assistant. By the end of my year in Italy I’d made friendships that will last a lifetime.

I travelled a lot while I was in Italy because you can easily get the train to so many places for a reasonable price and I was also fortunate enough to have a car provided for me by the family I lived with so my friends and I often drove to new places for the weekend so that we could experience as much of Italy as possible. Living in Florence was an incredible experience, there was always so much to do and I found the people there to be so welcoming and friendly. If you are applying to study a language at Leeds, I would say that a year abroad could be one of the best years of your life and you should do one! There are so many new experiences to be had and friendships to be made and it really helps you to grow in self-confidence.

I will graduate next summer and I can honestly say after having spent my term abroad in France and my year abroad in Italy, I’d love to move back to either of these countries and find work there, perhaps in international communications.