Vikki Brown

German and History BA

The other universities I saw just didn’t compare.

Why did you choose Kent?

The other Universities I saw just didn’t compare. The campus is gorgeous and the accommodation is good. And the course itself was a draw; Kent has a good choice of joint honours degrees.

How is your course going?

This final year is more difficult, but it’s still enjoyable. There’s an intriguing selection of modules. In the first year I loved studying Post-1986 German Cinema, and this term I’m enjoying Wien-Berlin: Tales of Two Cities, where we look at books and films set in these cities and what they can tell us about the culture of these places, which is fascinating. I’m also doing a wild module in beginner’s Spanish.

What’s the teaching like?

Brilliant. The German department is relatively small, so you get a more personal experience; they’re all very approachable. Also, because the classes are smaller they’re more focused and it’s easier to get discussions going. And with History, when you’re working on an essay, lecturers are happy to discuss your essay plan to make sure you’re going in the right direction. You get good feedback too.

Tell us about your year abroad.

I was a British Council language assistant. I was teaching all ages, but got on best with the 10- to 11-year-olds and the 18-year-olds; I think for the ones in between, learning English just wasn’t cool! Sometimes I’d take a class on my own (with the teacher observing), and sometimes I’d be with smaller groups. I also started study groups for the A level students. I was in Thuringia, in the centre of Germany. Very few of the older people could speak English so I had to speak German a lot. It has definitely paid off for my final year, as I’ve noticed I’ve improved a great deal.

How would you describe your fellow students?

Everyone on my course knows each other and gets on very well. We always have three or four Erasmus students and it’s interesting to get their input; for instance, if we’re translating something between German and English I notice that French people find it more difficult, but then they come up with different ways of phrasing things.

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

I thought I wanted to work for a German bank or other large company so I’d be using German every day. But a few weeks ago in Employability Week [a university-wide week of events, showcasing all the ways in which you can get experience and gain skills while studying at the University] one of our lecturers gave a talk on translation work. Translation is my favourite class and I think I’m relatively good at it, and from what she said I decided that’s what I’d like to do. I don’t think it’s that easy to find work, so to give myself an edge I’d like to do a Masters in Translation.

What’s the accommodation like on campus?

I lived in Tyler Court. The size of the rooms and the storage was good, and it was lovely having an en-suite bathroom – no queuing in the morning. The location was good too – it’s very central on the campus.

What are the facilities like on campus?

They’re very good. The library is being refurbished at the moment – it was always nice but now there’s a lot more natural light. There are loads of cheap places to eat; my favourite is Dolche Vita. It’s really good that they take into account that you want good, healthy food but you don’t have a lot of money, and you get a student discount with the KentOne card. It’s great having a cinema on campus at the Gulbenkian.

What do you do in your spare time?

I’m in the German Society, which is more social than academic; we go to the pub, play German board games, and go on trips together, such as to London for the German markets. I also have a part-time job.

Any advice for students coming to Kent?

Apply for accommodation early! Consider wild modules or a joint honours course, because it gives you flexibility, makes the work more enjoyable and makes you more employable – it sets you apart from the crowd.