Liane Chester

English Language and Linguistics BA (Hons)

There’s so much support, you always feel like there’s a net to catch you.

Why did you choose Kent?

Kent is only a couple of hours away from home, so my sister said, ‘you might as well have a look’. I did and as soon as I arrived on campus, I fell in love with it; the library was a big plus too and listening to the subject talk, I could see how much the staff loved their subject.

Why linguistics?

I studied languages at GCSE and A level and they fascinated me, so I was thinking about teaching English as a foreign language in the future. One of the pathways into that is to study linguistics at university and when I looked into it, I discovered it was an exciting field to explore.

Did you find it a jump from A level to university study?

I think the change from first to second year is more challenging. I took a year out to work before university and thought it might be hard to get back into studying but it was actually OK. With my course you’re not expected to know everything when you arrive, so the first year is designed to help you build up your understanding as you go along. In your second year, the intensity ramps up as you start to apply the information you’ve learnt in your first year.

Which module have you enjoyed most so far?

Last year I took a sociolinguistics module on language, self and society. It covered the ways we speak and interact in a social setting, the relationship between language and societal structures and values, and accent bias. It demonstrated just how powerful language can be and why it’s so important to study it.

How flexible is your course?

It’s great. I’ve taken modules in Japanese and Spanish. I did Spanish at A level so it was a good refresher for me but you can start at beginners’ level and build your skill level up over the years.

I'm also looking at adding a year in industry to my degree. The British Council run a programme where you can teach English as a foreign language in one of their partner schools abroad. I think it would be good experience for me and give me a chance to see if I’d like to teach in the future. I’m getting support from the Careers Service; they've been very helpful.

Tell us about your lecturers.

They're all brilliant, very supportive and respond quickly to any requests. They have such a passion for their subject that lectures are never boring. They are all specialists in their fields, so whatever area you’re studying there is someone you can talk to.

What about your fellow students?

We’re all fascinated by the subject. Some people are studying linguistics to help with their creative writing, whether that’s as a novelist or a journalist, others are looking at it as a way to teach English as a foreign language. We also have quite a few people from other courses who take linguistics modules, so we get their perspectives too, which is interesting.

Are there any specialist facilities?

There's a linguistics lab which has an eye-tracking device and a recording studio. We also have a study area specifically for linguistics students.

Do you do any extra-curricular activities?

I'm a student ambassador so attend Open Days to speak to prospective students. I’m also an outreach officer and eventually will go into schools to speak to pupils about university and linguistics. I’m looking forward to that. I’m a mentor too. I like helping people and have been able to show my mentee where all the various resources are. I also have a part-time job in the library.

I’m part of the Linguistics Society and have been to some fun events, including pumpkin picking!

Did you live in university accommodation?

In my first year I lived in Tyler Court. It was a nice introduction to uni life and a good way to meet people. The facilities were good with plenty of space for cooking; I love to cook and bake but I’m not very good at it. My disasters did keep my flatmates entertained though!

What are your future plans?

I’m looking at the possibility of teaching English in Spain for a year when I finish my degree. I want to do something where I can make a difference and would eventually like to be a lecturer in linguistics as I've always liked leading group discussions and enjoy sharing knowledge. Right now, that all feels quite far in the future, but it’s definitely an aspiration.

What advice would you give to somebody thinking of coming to Kent?

I don’t know what I would say other than come! Please visit the library because it’s so good, and take a look at the accommodation you want to live in. I would also say look at the university’s values because I did and found they aligned with mine which made me feel comfortable coming here. There’s so much support, you always feel like there’s a net to catch you. Kent really seems to care about making sure that every student matters whatever their socio-economic background. There’s always someone to ask if you need help with mental health or your studies, or anything really.