I really liked the way the university presented itself as the gateway to the wider world – Kent is very proud to maintain ties with many different universities and because I’m from Germany that appeals to me. Also, the campus is very nice; it’s very green, with lots of bunnies everywhere, and Canterbury is a beautiful city.
Very early on I was very interested in language, its variation and how different people speak differently and why that might be. I was particularly interested in English because it was my best subject at school and in linguistic terms.
English has some things that make it special. I discovered there was a course in English Language and Linguistics and I knew it was made for me.
I’ve been able to pick and choose the modules I’m interested in. You can choose ‘wild’ modules from other programmes, too, and because I’m interested in sociolinguistics I’ve chosen to do a Sociology module each term.
My very favourite module is Language Variation and Change,which is about the differences in language and why such differences come about – the ‘why’ can be tricky! I’ve also enjoyed History of British English, which is about how English evolved.
In the third year lots of people do a dissertation and that’s been one of my favourite parts as well. My dissertation is on performance poetry. Sociolinguists are like social scientists: they go out and interview people and ask about their lives, and I had lots of useful connections for my research through my involvement with the Creative Writing Society. Because of the nature of the research it’s very personal. Everyone has a story that they don’t tell in public because they don’t want to seem vulnerable so I found it rewarding when you manage to create a connection. I really like people, and their language, so that’s why I enjoyed it.
I think our department is one of the best in terms of how friendly it is. The lecturers are extremely forthcoming and welcoming and always make time for you. They are all active researchers so you get expertise on every aspect of the course, which really shows in the dissertation seminars.
There are many, many student societies here. I’m on the committee of the Creative Writing society and it’s become a huge part of my life. I’ve made my best friends there,
definitely. We meet twice a week, once in a café in town to read our work (and then a lot of us go to the pub) and also on campus for a writing workshop. We also organise local trips and a big annual trip – last time we went to Seville.
Lately I’ve been performing a lot at poetry slams and events. If you know you’re going to be speaking in a room full of people, you put a lot more effort into it!
The library has changed a lot over my time here - they started having it open 22 hours a day which is very convenient and I’ve taken
advantage of that once or twice! The cinema at the Gulbenkian is quite good, there are films which are cheaper to watch here than in town, and there are music performances in the Colyer-Ferguson building.
I’m going to do an MA in Linguistics and I’m also applying for a doctoral traineeship, which would mean I could go straight onto a PhD. It’s very difficult to get a job in academia but I would love to!
Coming to university is a great opportunity to reinvent yourself because nobody has any preconceptions about you and the kind of person you are. Surprise yourself and allow other people to surprise you!