Sophia Allef

Talking about
Studying abroad at Leeds
Weimar Music Academy

The first time I came to the University of Leeds was as part of an internship I did in 2013 at the School of Music. I was a Musicology and Arts Management student from Germany and luckily, my home university has an Erasmus+ agreement with the University of Leeds, which gave me the opportunity to return to Leeds to complete a semester studying Musicology.

My studies at the School of Music enriched my Leeds experience even more as I had the chance to participate in new and exciting modules such as Film Music, which I couldn’t do at my home university. The other students and lecturers were all incredibly supportive and made me feel part of the course.

After all the positive experiences I made during the Erasmus term, I felt confident enough to apply for a Masters degree. I got great support from all staff and fellow students and as I had already written essays in English and as communication became a proper routine, I couldn’t wait to come back to Leeds again.

I found the vibrancy of Leeds inspiring, as I grew up in the countryside. I loved all the possibilities that being in a big city offered. There were great places on campus where I met students who were in the same boat as me. The openness, kindness and hospitality of everyone I met made it a lot easier to get involved with things.

Nearly every day of term I was at the Leeds University Union: it’s based on campus and provides cafés, shops and organised activities. Through the Union, I ended up involved with activities I never thought I would be. A favourite was archery and Scottish Dancing alongside Italian and Chinese friends from my English Language classes – it was so much fun!

My time in Leeds was special thanks to many different factors. As I lived in the student-friendly area of Headingley, I joined the church choir of St Michaels and All Angels. There I could experience how it is to be part of an English church choir and to learn music I have only read about before I came to England.

As the School of Music and the University also have a great variety of music ensembles, bands, orchestras and choirs, I was lucky to be in a Project Choir at the School of Music. It was wonderful for me to partake in not just the theoretical, but also practical side of England’s long choral tradition. I felt how deeply music can connect people and deepen friendships, regardless of who you are or where you come from.

This year I got a job as an assistant to the head of the museum “Beethoven-Haus” in Bonn which is Ludwig van Beethoven’s birthplace! Having had real working experience in England combined with a long-term development in English language was a great advantage within the application process.

I am very grateful for all the experiences, all I have learnt and all the friends and tutors I have met on the way over the last two years who were just wonderful and always supportive. They have made my time so very special and I already look forward to coming back to visit my ‘English home’ again!