Jessica Crabbe

American Studies (Literature)

If you have the chance to take the year abroad programme, do it... you have the opportunity to study at some of the most prestigious and exciting locations around the world.

Why did you choose Kent?

I liked the campus, and I love the city of Canterbury. Then I had a one-to-one meeting with the Head of Admissions and it felt very caring – and this feeling was confirmed when I started studying here. I felt like everyone knew me from the moment I arrived.

How is your course going?

Right from the start I’ve loved it. The Introduction to American Studies gave me a broad overview of American history and I still think back to it now and the texts we looked at; it gave a really good grounding in the subject. And it helps you to identify your particular interests, which you can go into in more depth later. You get to take modules in a number of different disciplines – in fact the breadth of subjects the course covers is incredible.

By taking the Literature pathway you read fiction, then learn the context in which it was written, so you get history and literature all rolled into one, which gives so much more meaning to everything. We look at film, popular culture and the media too. And the option of a year studying abroad is a massive bonus. I was at the University of South Carolina, and it was everything I could have imagined.

What is the level of support like in your studies?

I’ve always felt that the Centre [for American Studies] is a very close unit – it’s not a huge department so you get to know everyone. This means the teaching somehow feels very personal and the lecturers are easy to talk to, they’re always available. They really know their subjects and you can get a good dialogue going with them.

How would you describe your fellow students?

Really good fun! Everyone on my course gets on really well, and it’s good getting together with people who are taking the history pathway because we have great discussions about all sorts of different things. I think we reassured each other a lot in the first year – you never felt overwhelmed because of the support of other students.

How was your year abroad?

I got to see a great deal of America. I’d only been to New York before, so the Deep South was completely new to me. It’s one of those places that’s so rich in history, particularly race relations, and has been through so many changes. It really widened my knowledge to see it all first-hand and put me in good stead for my third year. I was well looked after and, although I knew my point of contact back in Canterbury, I had no problems, so didn’t need to contact them. I found the mode of teaching different out there – it was more like being back at school – but the whole year was really enriching.

What are the facilities like on campus?

Workwise, the revamped library is really nice and you’ll always find somewhere to study there, whether you want to be in a quiet area or a social space. Then there’s a good gym, loads of places to eat – and everything’s easy to get to.

What do you do in your spare time?

I work on The Tab, an online student magazine – it’s for a number of universities and I edit the Kent strand. It’s a small team and I started as a writer, then worked my way up. I played Lacrosse for two years as well, which was fun.

What kind of career do you hope to follow when you leave?

I’d like to do something creative involving editorial, or possibly advertising – maybe something in the arts. I’ve had work experience in magazine publishing and at the The Telegraph and enjoyed that. I do like the immediacy of online work too.

Any advice for other students coming to Kent?

Kent has a lot to offer but if you have the chance to take the year abroad programme, do it. If you work hard enough, then, as an American Studies student in particular, you have the opportunity to study at some of the most prestigious and exciting locations around the world.