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The University of Southampton
Modern Languages and LinguisticsPart of HumanitiesUndergraduate study

Ellena Heywood BA Contemporary Europe with French and Spanish

Ellena Heywood's Photo

Hi, I'm Ellena Heywood and I studied BA Contemporary Europe with French and Spanish within Humanities at the University of Southampton.

The academic staff are more like friends to us now. They have always been easily approachable and willing to help out. In particular, staff in French are so enthusiastic that lessons are never boring or uneventful!

What made you decide to study modern languages?

I had great language teachers throughout school who always encouraged me and made learning French and Spanish fun and exciting. It was natural for me to do a degree involving modern languages.

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

I have loved doing my degree and can definitely say that it has been interesting, fun and suitably challenging. It was great that I could choose modules from different disciplines as well as Humanities, which made my degree more interesting and varied.

What did you do for your year abroad? What have you taken away from it?

I attended the University of Granada in Spain. It was definitely the best year of my life. I could not believe how lucky I was to live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, to experience a new culture and meet new exciting people… and of course, take advantage of the free tapas! I came home feeling more confident in speaking Spanish, more independent and more open-minded.

Do you get on well with the academic staff?

The academic staff are more like friends to us now. They have always been easily approachable and willing to help out. In particular, the staff in French are so enthusiastic that lessons are never boring or uneventful!

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

I’ve always found the University campuses really attractive and comfortable places; either to study in the library or chill out on the grass in summer. The city of Southampton itself is near the coast, so there is no excuse not to get involved with the Uni watersports clubs, particularly windsurfing which organises weekly trips to Poole harbour and other nearby spots.

What has been your favourite moment so far?

Getting involved in the windsurfing club has been endless fun! I joined in my second year and since have been on many trips, including holidays to Egypt, and I’ve taken part in some of the best social events at the Uni. It is such a welcoming club and so easy to make friends, even if like me you are not the natural windsurfer! I just wish I had joined in my first year.

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

Settling in was so easy for me. I remember the first day I moved in: straight away I felt comfortable and welcomed by my new housemates. You’re all in the same boat: it’s your first time away from home and you’re out of your comfort zone - so you naturally look for support from each other.

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

For the next year, I am back home living with my parents in order to save some money. I have worked at an insurance company for the past four summers and they are now offering me a permanent job, which will allow me to gain experience and save up money so that I can go travelling in South America next year.

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

Do it! You will not regret choosing Southampton – there is so much to get involved with outside of studying, you will never be bored or short of friends. Humanities is friendly and welcoming with supportive staff who are always on hand to help and give you advice.

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