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Modern Languages and LinguisticsPart of HumanitiesUndergraduate study

Ella Dove BA English and French

Ella Dove's Photo

Hi, I'm Ella Dove and I studied BA English and French within Humanities at the University of Southampton.

The staff are extremely approachable, always willing to give up their time and organise extra one-to-one sessions with us if we need help. I think Southampton is unique in terms of student-staff rapport, I have not encountered another university with such a level of friendliness and support.

Where were you born? Where did you grow up?

I was born and raised in Kent.

What made you decide to study a combined honours degree?

Initially, I applied to Southampton for the modern languages degree. However, upon arrival I realised that I really missed my studies of English literature. Fortunately, I had the required grades, so it was relatively easy to move to a combined course. I love the variety within my degree and it is really flexible in terms of module choices, meaning I can study exactly what interests me!

Tell us more about the areas that you are now specialising in

In French this year, I have covered modules in Fiction and Teaching English as a Foreign Language, both of which I have thoroughly enjoyed. The teaching module spurred me on to become a language assistant in two French schools during my year abroad next year. For English, I have studied Children’s Literature, 20th-Century American Drama and Creative Writing, which were all equally fab. I especially loved Creative Writing as I do it a lot in my spare time - so it was great to get a deeper insight into the craft, as well as being taught by an established author. I will definitely be taking the continuation course; Writing the Novel, in my final year!

Are you enjoying your studies? What do you like most about your degree programme?

I absolutely love studying at Southampton. Probably a predictable response, but it couldn’t be truer. The staff are extremely approachable, always willing to give up their time and organise extra one-to-one sessions with us if we need help. I think Southampton is unique in terms of student-staff rapport, I have not encountered another university with such a level of friendliness and support.

What are your plans for your year abroad? How do you think this year will help you in the future?

I am going to Le Havre in the North of France (near Rouen) for my year abroad, to teach English in two secondary schools. I am seriously considering a career in teaching at the moment, so this year will be incredibly beneficial in terms of work experience.

Do you get on well with the academic staff?

As mentioned above, I get on very well with all my tutors. Modern Languages at Southampton has a very personal feel, meaning each student is made to feel valued as an individual. We each have an ‘academic advisor’ with whom regular meetings are organised, so there is always someone to confide in about your studies if you ever have any queries.

What’s the best thing about living and studying in Southampton?

The people, by far. Both staff and fellow students radiate happiness - cheesy but true. It was these vibes of contentment which first attracted me both to the city and University, and I knew at once that I would fit in and Southampton was the place for me.

What has been your favourite moment so far?

If I was going to be geeky I’d say ‘the library’ or something… but university is so much more than that. Obviously it is key that you enjoy what you study - you’re ultimately there to get a degree after all, but Southampton has so much else going on socially. There are so many diverse clubs and societies. I’ve been involved with the Wessex Scene (our uni newspaper), Jazzmanix, SU Singers, Theatre Group and President of the French society this year, just to name a few!

And another ‘favourite moment’ has to be the first time I cooked pasta without it sticking. That was really the pinnacle of my independence right there.

How were the first few weeks at Uni? Was it easy to settle into your studies, make friends etc?

Freshers' Week was amazing. I’ve never said the phrase ‘Hello I’m Ella and I study…’ so much in my life, and probably never will again! But in all seriousness, it’s through this kind of conversation that lifelong friends are made. I made friends in the most bizarre of ways - from being the only one in my halls to accept the offer of a cream cake, to bumping into someone whilst lost on campus with my fresher’s map across my face, to simply saying hello to the person sitting next to me in a lecture!

What are you planning to do after graduating? What steps have you taken towards achieving this?

I am considering careers in two very different fields at the moment - teaching and journalism. In order to help me make a more concrete decision, I have spent the summer undertaking various work experience placements, in schools and at Woman’s Weekly magazine... with the hope that one will outshine the other!

Do you have any advice for people considering studying at Southampton?

APPLY! You definitely won’t regret it :)

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