Andreia – BA French and Politics

Andreia is currently a third year BA French and Politics student.

Why did you choose your degree?

Since the end of my GCSE’s, I knew I wanted to study French at university because I think it is a beautiful and eloquent language and I love French culture in general. I think it is amazing that I am able to communicate and understand people from around the world. I’ve always enjoyed debating political theory like Marxism and populism and thought it would go really well with French because France is quite a politically driven country.

What is a joint honours degree?

Essentially, a joint honours degree is where your degree is split into two subject areas. The split can be 50/50, it could also be 75/25 and so on. The benefits of choosing this degree is that you’re able to expand your knowledge further. It is hard to get bored by your studies as you’re learning completely different and exciting things. It also opens more doors for you later in life, as you can go into either subject area.

What has been your favourite part of the course so far?

I think one of my favourite modules was a politics one I did in second year, where I learned more about African politics. We had case studies of different countries like Nigeria and Rwanda, and we analysed in detail how the state works in these countries. It was my favourite part of the course because I was never given the chance before academically to learn about other countries beyond Europe. It allowed me to understand a lot about the way the world works today.

What have you found most challenging about university?

I think one of my biggest challenges at university has definitely been managing everything at the same time. I don’t think I have ever been as busy as now. As a university student in their early 20s, there are so many things going on. I have found it quite hard to find a balance between getting my studies done, having a social life, a relationship, family, a job, staying healthy mentally and physically. University isn’t like a job where once you clock out, you’re done. University continues beyond the classroom and finding time for yourself can be hard.

Have you completed a Study Abroad or Industry Placement year?

Yes, last year I had the opportunity to go to the south of France for 6 months. I did an internship at a babysitting agency, where in the mornings, I would work in an office doing administration roles, like creating contracts, payslips, sending out emails and matching babysitters to families that worked with us. Then, in the afternoon, I would babysit too. I took care of three families and it was an amazing job because in the office, I got to practise my French and then when I babysat, I had to only speak English to the children so they could learn it. It was such a great experience; I was able to really impact these children’s lives and they definitely impacted mine. In general, my experience in France was incredible. I really improved my French, and made some amazing memories with some great friends. Toulouse definitely became my home away from home and I can’t wait to go back.

What did you study at school and/or college?

At GCSE level, besides English, Maths and Science, I also studied Physical Education, Religious Education, Portuguese, French and History and then at A-Level, I studied Portuguese, French, Sociology and History. My favourite subjects were definitely History and French. I loved learning about what happened in the past which can explain why things are the way they are today. I found it very useful too because I began to learn how to analyse, as opposed to recount a story, and that skill has been invaluable at university.

Have you been involved in any extra-curricular activities?

During my second year at university, I co-hosted a radio show with a friend of mine at Leeds Student Radio. Every Monday, from 2-3pm, we had our own programme that would play live on the radio. It was such a unique and amazing opportunity to have because it helped me realise how much I enjoyed debating and speaking on socioeconomic and political topics. Since then, I have been involved in making podcasts and writing articles that discuss topics surrounding issues like racism, sexism and xenophobia.

What are your top tips for applying for University?

I would look into your chosen degree in detail, finding out more information about what is taught in every year as although many universities have the same subject areas, the modules differ. But above all, once you are at university, I would say to get involved in every opportunity that is of interest because university is the one place where you are able to rediscover yourself and where you being to understand yourself more. So, I would say to get involved in different societies, field trips, volunteering opportunities and activities on campus, like career fairs.

Sum up your university experience (so far!) in one sentence!

It has been a never ending rollercoaster!