Gaby Emson

French - BA (Hons)

 I really enjoy the oral seminars too – I have a native French teacher, who is really enthusiastic, really fun.

Why did you choose to study French at Kent?

I came to an open day and I just loved the campus – it was a beautiful sunny day and everyone I met was so happy and friendly. I also came to a Humanities at Kent day, where I did some taster lectures and a taster seminar on French film. I really liked the fact that I would be studying French culture, film and some linguistics, as well as the language. I think that’s different from other courses I looked at and I was really drawn to it.

Can you remember how you felt the day you arrived here?

It was really exciting because I didn’t know who I was going to be living with. I was in Tyler Court C, which is a great location – it only took me five minutes to walk to lectures or the library. Each flat has a big kitchen and on the first day everyone was in there waiting to meet people. I met fantastic people there and it was very sociable.

Has your course lived up to your expectations?

Yes, it has! I’ve loved all my modules. Sociolinguistics has been my favourite – we study the sociological aspects of the French language, regional variations, slang ... I really enjoy the oral seminars too – I have a native French teacher, who is really enthusiastic, really fun.

We have debates, role plays, lots of interactive things. This year I’ve also done an elective module in international relations because I’m planning to study that for a Master’s. It’s great that even in final year you can do electives outside your main subject.

What are your lecturers like?

We have small classes, so we get to know our lecturers really well. Everyone is so willing to help – for instance, I’d meet my film lecturer when I was planning an essay and she’d go over my plan and make sure I was on the right track.

Are all your lessons taught in French?

Yes, pretty much. In first year it’s a mixture: the grammar classes are usually taught in English because it’s complex and you need to be able to understand it. Once you come back from your year abroad you really want to keep speaking French and most of the lectures and presentations are in French.

What did you do for your year abroad?

I wanted to study rather than work as a language assistant because I wanted to find out what a French university would be like. I thought it would be more sociable, and I’d be able to pick up the French that people of my age actually use, rather than textbook French. I went to the University of Montpellier, which is in the south of France. It’s a beautiful city, with a beach right there as well. It was a great opportunity to travel around.

What are you going to do for your dissertation?

I’m looking at the relationship between dialect and film, looking at the regional accents used in three films, how they are used as part of the characterisation and how accurately they are presented. I’m bringing together everything I’ve really enjoyed.

What are the facilities at Kent like?

The library is amazing – when I came back from my year abroad it had been extended and you can always find a place to work there now, and there are lots more books. My favourite place to eat on campus is Dolche Vita, it does some Italian and some Asian food, and there’s a pond in front of it – it’s lovely!

What are your plans for after graduation?

My dream is to work for something like the EU Commission, the UN or an NGO. So I felt it would be best to combine my language with another field. I’d like to do a Master’s in international relations and I’d love to study in Paris because I enjoyed my year abroad so much. The careers service has given me lots of help with my application.

Any advice for a prospective student? 

Focus on language and the grammar stuff because you’ll need it when you’re on your year abroad. Apart from that - enjoy it! Join clubs, join so