Sara Bell is in the second year of her Art History and French degree.
What attracted you to Kent?
The course at Kent offered a variety of assessment methods, many of which were coursework-based, which suited me. When I came to look around, I liked it and it was far enough from home to give me independence.
Why Art History and French?
I am interested in lots of different things and Art History covers all sorts of areas including politics and sociology and you develop your writing skills. I also wanted to learn a language.
How did you feel when you arrived?
I was scared like everybody else! I lived in Keynes; we were all in the same boat, we just wanted to make friends. I had joined a group chat before I came and we all met up on the first day, which was great. I felt I already had a little network.
How have you found studying a joint honours?
It’s been fine – there’s just more people to meet! There is just one other person who does exactly the same course as me and we have become really good friends.
How would you describe your lecturers?
They really know their stuff – sometimes, in first year, you have to ask them to explain things in more down to earth terms. They are very helpful, I wasn’t sure how to approach my first assignment so I went to see the lecturer and he gave me some advice. They are definitely willing to help and respond quickly to emails.
Have you had a favourite Art History module?
I took a philosophy of art module in my first year which was very interesting. We discussed the value of art and what made it valuable. The discussions were fascinating. I also took a module on art in France. The teacher really pushed us, I learnt so much about French culture and the reading he recommended helped me piece everything together and to see the links between art and literature. I think this understanding will really help me during my year in France.
Generally, everyone is very open to each other’s ideas, nobody is judgemental and we all get a chance to put forward our views. It’s a supportive environment.
What about the French side of your programme?
I had a GCSE in French but started at beginners’ level. In my first year, we just laughed constantly at our own mistakes, our teacher was great and it went very well. This year has been more challenging but the tutor and the other students are very supportive. I spend a year in France next year, hopefully working as an assistant in a school, which is both very exciting and scary.
What are the facilities like on campus?
The academic facilities are good, the library is massive and there are lots of places to work in. Socially, it’s good too; if you are prepared to make an effort you can create lots of memories. Joining societies is a great way to meet new people, I am a member of Kent Dance and last year I joined the RAG society, which is about raising money for charity. I took part in the Prague marathon to raise money for Breast Cancer Now. As part of that I did an internship at the charity.
Have you thought about what you might do next?
I enjoyed my internship with Breast Cancer Now, so working for a charity is one possibility. I am also interested in editorial work, perhaps for an arts magazine, or working in a gallery abroad – that’s an exciting prospect. I think my experience in France will put me in a good position when starting my career.
Any advice for students thinking of coming to Kent?
Be passionate about your subject. If you’re not sure if university is worth the money, I would say if you study something you are interested in it definitely is because through your studies you can make links that will help you in the future. Also, join clubs, do something new. I was very shy before I came here but, as soon as I arrived, I made myself talk to as many people as I could and then, suddenly, I was comfortable doing that. When you graduate, it’s not only a degree you come away with.