The average week of a Kent modern languages student

Emily Underwood takes us through her average week as a Modern Languages student at Kent.

Tell us a bit about your weekly life on campus including; lectures, seminars, study time, work or 1:1 with staff.

During the week, I usually get the bus to university for 9am. Even if I don’t have a lecture at 9am or if I don’t have any classes that day, I will still make my way to campus and will still be there at that time since the atmosphere on campus in the morning is lovely. When walking towards the library from the bus stop at Keynes, I always admire the view over the city and of the cathedral. It seems so far away yet it is so near. If you are commuting to university, there are great footpaths that lead up to the university if you don’t want to take the bus. The seminar and lecture groups are quite small for my course, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing since it makes me feel more at ease and more confident, especially if I have to hold a presentation or have to hold a conversation in my target language. After my seminars, I will spend some time in the silent area of the library. These are located on floor 2 and 3 in the library and are quite useful. The library café is a nice place to work as well, but if you get distracted easily like I do, the silent areas are a great place to get some focused work done. Depending on if I have any more lectures or seminars that day, I will grab a coffee from the café and head to my next class with my friends or pay the gym a quick visit in between if I have longer breaks during the day. The Seminar leader and lecturers are very approachable, so if you have a question for example a grammar query or a concern, don’t hesitate to ask them and they will try their best to help you. You also have an academic advisor that will accompany you through the entirety of your course who can also help you with any concerns you may have. The lecturer and seminar leaders have office hours, and you can always pop in to see them during these designated hours. I then usually head home in the evening at about 6pm.

How many contact hours are on your course? Is this easy to manage and balance with your social and work life?

I have about 13 contact hours a week. The rest of my free time I will spend in the library catching up on work and getting my assignments done. I usually have longer breaks during the day, for example I will have a seminar at 9am and then another one at 2pm, and I usually fill in the breaks by going to the silent area or going to the gym with my friends. I would say the work life balance is a good balance. Sure, you have assignments and revision that you need to do, but as long as you stay on top of it, for example doing 20 minutes of vocabulary for you target language or grammar revision a day, you won’t fall behind and it will make the balance more stable and easier to handle.

How many different modules do you cover over the week?

The modules you chose are divided between autumn and spring term. At around this time (March/April, maybe even earlier) you get to do the online module selection. There you will be provided with a list of modules you are able to take, relevant to your course. So, if you want to do literature you can choose literature-based modules or there are modules that a film related available as well. There are core modules, which are the language modules, that you have to take and there are content modules available that are for example about literature written by authors from the country that your target language is spoken in. You can also take wild modules that have absolutely nothing to do with your course, for example you could take a module in law. I couldn’t take a wild module this year, but I know other students who have taken wild modules and they say its really nice to explore something else.

If you’re studying a Joint Honours course, how do you find balancing this across your week? What are the benefits of taking a joint honours course?

I am studying a Joint Honours, French and German, and I am enjoying my course so much. Even though I am doing a full language degree, the difference between the two languages is very refreshing. It is interesting to see the cultural differences between each country and learning about the history at also maybe ties the to country and languages together. You get a different perspective, and it allows you to discover and participate in a range of modules between both subjects that interest you. I thought it would be challenging with learning vocabulary and grammar for two languages, but I have managed to juggle both by organising and planning when I do which language and I put a break in between each revision session so I have a chance to clear my mind in order to take on new information.

How much do you travel to get onto campus?

I get the bus to campus from Ramsgate, which is a little bit further away. It usually takes me about an hour and a half to get to campus in the morning. I like getting the bus in the morning because it is relaxing and gives you time to prepare yourself for the day ahead. Once I get to Canterbury, I can either get one of the Uni buses up to campus, or if I have enough time, I enjoy walking up to campus. There are multiple foot paths that lead up to the university from the city centre and they are very beautiful. It usually takes me 30-40min to walk up to campus and I usually get there with extra time to spare.

What is the social scene like in Canterbury on and off campus?

There are multiple bars and study places you can go to on campus. My favourite place to go and maybe study, or just to hang out with my friends, is the Café Nero on Campus. They have a downstairs area with tables and comfy seating areas which are perfect to study at. There is also a club on campus, Venue, which is very popular. Only students at Kent are allowed to go in the club and you have to show your Kent ID upon entry. There is also Kbar and Woody’s that are very popular among students because they offer fun events that you can go to throughout the year. They are always good to meet new people. All the colleges like Keynes and Darwin have their own restaurants within. I like going to Woody’s with my friends, especially if we have a longer break between Seminars. Canterbury also has lots of clubs in the city centre that offer fun events and are quite popular.

Are you involved with any student societies?

I was a part of the Korea Society during my first year. It was so much fun because I got to meet so many new people who had the same interests as me who I am still in contact with. They organised lots of fun activities and social events that allowed me to learn a little more about Korean culture.

Do you work alongside your studies? If so, what is this like balancing along with your studies? How does it fit into your week?

I work as a student ambassador which is nice because it gives me flexibility within my studies, and I enjoy doing. However, I chose not to have a job outside of my studies and outside of university, apart from my role as a student ambassador, because I wanted to focus on my studies and was worried it would be a distraction to me.

What would be your main advice to prospective students looking to join the community here at Kent?

I would say to just have fun. A lot of the time there is a ‘pressure’ to do university correctly (partying etc.) but everyone’s uni experience is different. Mine is different to what yours will be and there is no such thing as ‘doing it correctly’. I would also say to join societies. They give you an opportunity to meet people that have the same interests as you. You can also join the Modern Language society or the societies relevant to your course like the French or the German Society, but I would say just look on the website of Kent Union because they have so many societies you can join that are maybe in a field you have never tried before. Just have fun and enjoy your university experience the way you want to shape and experience it.

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