UMASS Blog

Just introducing myself…

Hello!

My name is Helen and I am a third year student studying English Language for Education – don’t worry if you haven’t heard of it, nobody has! I adore my degree subject: it has been a very individual learning experience since day one and has never really been heavily lecture-based.  My course has covered a wide range of topics but my final year has allowed me to shape my learning according to my own interests which include bilingualism, how children learn a language and how to teach bilingual children. I hope to become a teacher after I graduate.

I was born and bred in Manchester and I feel so lucky to have grown up so close to a city that is both modern and historic at the same time. Manchester is very vibrant, diverse and different and I love it. This is one of the reasons why I decided to go to university here. I had one of the best universities in England on my doorstep, it offered me a really interesting course and I didn’t want to leave this city. For me, it was a very simple decision.

Going to university in Manchester means that I still live with my parents. A lot of people ask me what it’s like to live at home during university rather than making the decision to move out and I always answer that it was most difficult in my first year. I didn’t have flatmates and I wasn’t able to make those instant connections with people. In the first few months I felt like I wasn’t able to have the ‘full student experience’ of going out all the time and gaining independence through not having my parents look after me. However, I’ve never regretted the decision. I soon realised that university offers so many ways for you to meet new people and as a result, I’ve made some really great friends here. One benefit of living at home is that around exam time I have much more peace and quiet than my friends with flatmates!

Truthfully, so far my university experience has been a little different to what I expected. I thought there would be a lot of late nights, either in a library or in a bar! I thought I would be surrounded by ridiculously clever people who used words such as ‘antidisestablishmentarianism’ in their everyday vocabulary and I would have to attend about 10 lectures a day. The reality wasn’t quite this extreme, but it was pretty close! What I didn’t expect was all the different opportunities university provides alongside your degree. During Welcome Week, as soon as you walk onto the campus there are fairs, posters, students, staff and much more all telling you about a society/club/team/internship/job that you can get involved in. Being a live-at-home student, these opportunities really helped with my social life and even with making connections for future job prospects.

One of the things I got to do this past summer was an 8-week internship at the University, working for the Student Recruitment and Widening Participation team. The internship was brilliant and was a good insight into an area of the University I had not known much about before. It enabled me to gain further work experience and I met some great people throughout the 8 weeks. After the internship, I became a student ambassador and now I get to attend lots of events and sessions that promote higher education and the University.

I hope this has given you a little insight into my interests and my university experience so far. Keep an eye out for more blogs to come.