Sirinda Pairin

Talking about
Studying abroad at Leeds
Wisconsin-Madison University

I’ve always been in love with English culture and consider myself a true Anglophile. Being able to live in England for a whole year was a dream come true. Leeds seemed like the perfect “college town” in size, location, and breadth of study.

My absolute favorite module was Race and Ethnicity with Dr Yasmin Hussain and Angelica Pesarini. As a mixed race person, I hadn’t had the chance of learning about race in an academic setting. I learned so much about myself through that module. I also absolutely loved the Country House Studies module. We learned about the architecture and history surrounding English country houses and even had the opportunity to visit several of them! Learning about and visiting country houses first-hand was also a dream come true.

I lived in Devonshire Hall with three English flatmates. We all got on amazingly well and one of my favorite things to do with them was go for cream tea at Costello’s in Headingley.

My favorite study spot was the Brotherton Library. I loved looking down at the rotunda while I revised and did my work.

While I didn’t commit to any particular club or society, I loved the Give It a Go program the Union offered. It was a wonderful chance to get a taste for all the different clubs and societies. There were so many that suited my interests, I had a hard time attending all the GIAG sessions!

I had about five day trips to York during my year abroad in Leeds. It’s a really easy journey to make in a day and I made sure to try out a different tea house each time I went. Other favorite places included Kirkstall Abbey, Kirkgate Indoor Market in the City Centre, and the Original Oak pub in Headingley.

To this day I am heartbroken from having to move out of Devonshire Hall, which quickly and rather permanently became home in my mind. From afternoons spent studying on the lawn in the courtyard to playing the piano in the practice room to taking mock-Harry Potter photos in our formal dining robes, Dev remains to be the best place I lived as a student.

I currently work as a communications specialist at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. I know for a fact I wouldn’t be able to do my job half as well if I hadn’t learned so much about myself during my year in Leeds. All the experiences I had there, the traveling I did, and the friendships I made taught me what I value, what goals I have, and what my strengths are. By knowing myself better, I am able to be more honest, open, and receptive to all different kinds of people. It’s a bit of a cliché, but studying abroad really is life-changing.