Kathryn Marshall

Kathryn Marshall

BA French and Italian

Summary: First year student Kathryn talks about the sense of community at Leeds and ultimately why she choose Leeds as the place to study Joint Honours French and Italian.


When researching into different language courses around the country, Leeds really struck me as my best choice. Not only was it the course which appealed to me, with its interesting variety of syllabus, active atmosphere and time abroad opportunities, but I loved the sense of community here at Leeds and the sheer volume of opportunities on offer to the students here.

Leeds University Union, located in the middle of the campus, is always buzzing and filled with energy, with so much going on and something to appeal to everyone’s tastes. The University caters for everyone; whether it is through your faculty, through societies and cultural groups, or for the individual, you will never feel alone in Leeds with the support offered to students and staff. All of these aspects are what made me so attracted to my course and to Leeds as a university.

I am passionate about my studies because I love the idea of being able to communicate with people in their own language, and I found the French and Italian cultures so beautiful that I decided to choose these as my area of study. The idea of learning a language (in my case, Italian) from scratch and reaching a level of fluency in four years’ time really grabs me and makes me want to succeed. It is this passion which has driven me towards my language degree at Leeds.

I am a member of the French society & the Joint Honours society and I am currently in the process of forming an Italian society. The aim of the the Italian society would be to create a sense of community amongst Italian students and natives, encouraging participation in activities regarding Italian culture, such as film nights and gastro sessions, or just socialising with our fellow lovers of all things Italian! It is really great that I have the opportunity to form a new society at Leeds.

As a joint honours student  I will be spending a term in France near the end of my second year and the whole of my third year in Italy. The thought of going abroad to live in the culture of the languages I am learning really is exciting. I’ve been told by so many that the best way to learn a language to fluency is to speak and live it, and this is what I hope to do during my time abroad. I believe this is such a great opportunity for language students. Although I don’t have any real preferences on what areas of France and Italy I go for my time abroad, I am ready to take this opportunity with both hands and make the most of my experiences. 

If you are thinking of applying to study languages at Leeds I would say go for it! It was certainly the best choice for me, and I'm sure the School of Modern Languages and Cultures will cater for your needs too. As Joint Honours student in my first year my course is divided evenly between Italian and French. At the beginning of the year, I was able to choose which modules I wished to take for my Italian studies; this was a great way to mould the course according to my interests. The course is really interesting; a balance between the two languages gives me a fulfilling experience of modern langauge study at University.  There are so many opportunities at Leeds and the University has such a strong School of Modern Languages and Cultures. If you’re a lover of languages and cultures, want the opportunity to communicate with a diverse variety of people from across the world and want to follow this passion with a degree program, a degree here is really for you!

When I graduate I would love to go abroad and use my language skills. A language degree opens doors to so many different job areas, so I would really like to travel into Europe or francophone countries and use my languages for those who need it.

Read more about how Kathryn finds her Joint Honours course.