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The University of Southampton
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Kostas Kaltsas English/Creative Writing PhD

English/Creative Writing PhD

Kostas Kaltsas's Photo

Hi I am Kostas Kaltsas studying English Creative Writing PHD

I’d lived in Southampton before, and like the city. The department’s reputation played a part too, and the university’s standing as a Russell Group University, but the main reason was my supervisor – I really wanted to work with her.

What is it like studying here?

Studying here is great! My work-life balance is probably not the best, but that’s mostly because I enjoy the work so much. (Plus, the whole mature-students-are-dedicated-and-conscientious thing turns out to be true.) The teaching staff are very approachable and friendly, and I have access to all the resources I need.

How do you rate study facilities at the University, such as the Library?

Even though I’m based at the Avenue campus, which has its own well-stocked library, great study spaces etc., I have a soft spot for the Hartley library at Highfield, and spend way more time in there than is probably necessary.

What have been your Southampton ‘highlights’ (best experiences) so far?

I’m very passionate about my project, and had to work very hard to get an opportunity to work on it, so the whole experience has been a highlight.

What other activities have you taken advantage of while at University?

I’m not involved in any regular extracurricular activities, but there’s always something interesting happening around campus that I end up going to – the various series of evening lectures by guest academics are especially great.

Have you had any exposure to employer involvement or research-led learning during your course?

As a PhD candidate, most of my learning is research-led. Having the freedom to follow the research where it takes you is wonderful – it exposes you to perspectives you would have never considered otherwise.

Do you have the opportunity to study modules outside of your core subject area, and how do you think they are adding to your experience / will affect your future plans?

I’ve had a chance to audit some modules outside my core subject area, as well as participating in a reading group with other PhD candidates across the Humanities. It’s been an eye-opener, and I’ve ended up using a lot of what I’ve learned in my own project.

What networking, employment and work experience opportunities have you undertaken and how have they enhanced your undergraduate experience?

The reading group has been great. Attending conferences and symposia has been a lot of fun and a great way to meet academics and other PhD candidates working in my field (and beyond it). I’ve also contributed to teaching a couple of modules this year, which has been demanding but extremely satisfying. 

Do you have any idea of what you would like to do in the future? Have the opportunities you have taken up while at the University helped you have a clearer idea of what you might like to do?

I would like to remain in academia – the teaching I did this year pretty much confirmed that. There’s other things I could do, but none of them would be half as much fun, I think.

What advice would you offer to potential students?

Enjoy yourselves – it will be over before you know it! Also, make sure your degree is right for you: yes, thinking about a future career is important, but so is studying something you care about – it makes learning much, much less of a chore. 

Do you like living in Southampton? What are the benefits of Southampton as a city? Do you feel safe in the city?

Southampton has the best of both worlds, I guess. It’s not too big and not too small, it’s close to London on the one hand, but close to the New Forest on the other, it’s got more than enough cinemas, restaurants, pubs, etc. that are easily accessible. In terms of safety, it’s like any large-ish/large city  there’s always a couple of places you feel you want to avoid but that’s about it.





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