Somdutta Sarkar

The University of Leeds has more than 300 societies and clubs, so there really is something for everyone. The societies have ‘Give it a Go’ taster sessions and I tried lots of things. Each was a distinct experience and I wish I could have joined all the societies that interested me, but as postgraduates we’re only here for a year, so I ended up committing to a few.

I was interested in the same issues as the Leeds Women in Leadership Society, so I joined them. I helped to organise their first ‘Empower’ conference. It was difficult and stressful at times but also so much fun and we were still getting positive feedback weeks later! I learnt a lot from the experience too – about organising and marketing an event of that scale, multi-tasking and working with many different people. 

I’m also involved in a scheme called ‘Writing Back’, where University of Leeds students are put in touch with seniors from the Yorkshire area. We exchange letters and there are one or two social events a year where we get to meet ‘our’ seniors. Students from Southwest Jiaotong University – which the University of Leeds has a partnership with – also take part in this initiative.

Some of these students might never come to Leeds, so they want to know more about the University and how life is here. My senior pen pal and I are matched with two students there and once you make a connection the conversation flows. 

I’ve met so many wonderful people at the University and in the city, even in this short time, and these are things that will last me a lifetime. A lot of people say you should live in a different country and it changes your life, but you don’t realise how life-changing it is until you go ahead and do it.

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