IE: Hey! Tell us a little about yourself. How is it that you were in England?
My name is Julia, I moved to London from Latvia in 2009 at the age of 18 years. The main reason for moving was the desire to live in another country.
IE: what year were you enrolled at Birkbeck, University of London? Was it your first choice University or have you served somewhere else? Why Birkbeck? What attracted you to this University?
On the course of English Philology (BA English) at Birkbeck I did in 2012; it was my first and only choice. In addition to a high level of education, to the University, I had several requirements: first, I wanted to live and study in London, so Oxford, Cambridge and other UK universities outside of London I had not even considered. Secondly, I wanted to go to University, which would have allowed me to successfully combine work and study. Program formal education at Birkbeck was the perfect option. A nice addition was the fact that the Birkbeck campus was in a three-minute walk from my house. Sold!
IE: How did you enter University? Tell us about your experience.
Fill all required for admission of documents was a relatively simple process, although University staff were always willing to help (either by phone or in person). For admission in English Philology I had to pass IELTS, at least 7.0, but after three years of living in London problems with test does not arise.
The final stage in the process of admission to English – interview with one of the teachers of the University in which we discussed my love of graphic novels (aka comics) and Oscar Wilde, the English modernists, American literature of the twentieth century and even the best series in the world of "Mad men". Of course, after such a great conversation, I was immediately offered a place on the course.
IE: if you are Faced with any difficulties when entering University as a foreign student? If so, tell us about it in more detail.
I am a citizen of Latvia and British universities do for the same system as British students. I have no problems arose.
IE: what program are you studying? What are your impressions of the program? Do you have a favorite subject, teacher?
I just finished training in the programme of English Philology (BA English). Officially, the diploma I will receive only autumn, but already know I got First-class degree. Looking back, I realize that admission into Birkbeck and this program was the best decision of my life (joint-first with the decision to move to London). The study of English literature has allowed me to do all my favorite things: read a lot of books and then discuss them with interesting people.
Education at Birkbeck has allowed me incredibly to expand my views on the UK (and in the English-speaking world), understanding of British and American history and culture. For four years in my mind have a clear picture of what happened in the UK over the last two thousand years and how it is reflected in culture. In addition, English Philology I studied not only Shakespeare, Dickens and Woolf, but also contemporary literature – including such genres as science fiction and comics, which in the academic world cause a lot of disputes.
The teachers at Birkbeck hold more progressive views, which allowed me to discover the vast world of science fiction – a genre which, without this course I would never reach.
And of course, in the four years I have improved your English level: I speak fluent, write and even think in English.
IE: Who is learning with you in your program? A lot of foreigners, Russian-speaking students? Were you able to have close friends, and who they are – Russian-speaking foreigners, the British? With whom it is easier to find a common language?
The main advantage Birkbeck, I think, that there are students not only from different countries but of different ages. Formal system of education allows students of all ages to obtain higher education that differs greatly from conventional universities, where students learn about one age with similar life experience. Together with me in English Philology, studied people of different professions, which makes the discussions at our seminars much more interesting.
In my program the majority of students were British, but I think it's the specifics of my program – not all foreigners are so confident in your English level with a head rush into the maelstrom of English Philology. In other programs the number of foreigners is much higher.
A common language was easy to find with all classmates and going to the student bar for a pint after lectures was almost mandatory tradition.
IE: What do you do in your free time at University? Are you in any student clubs? Tell us a little about it.
In my free time I work, teach Spanish, play tennis and go to the gym, so student clubs time left (although they are at University, of course).
IE: Tell us a little bit about the city. What are the pros and cons you see for yourself? Easy to find housing, jobs, convenient transportation, and rich if night life?
London – the best light on the city. The only negative, which is known to everyone is the cost of living here: to rent a good room – not less than £ 700 per month, plus transport – depends on the area in which you live, but on average, people spend 80-120 pounds per month, plus food and entertainment. But having lived in London for at least a few days, you understand, for what pay kind of money. In city there live people of different nationalities, so you can find restaurants of any cuisine here every day there are new exhibitions, installations and performances, there is always somewhere to go and something to do.
In London a great transportation system (particularly when it works ☺), but I still prefer to walk: save money, bring thoughts in order and find out London from unexpected sides.
If money is not the biggest problem for you, the housing is easy to find. If money harder, the housing can also be found, but will have to make a little more effort and see a dozen of rooms and apartments, before you find something suitable.
IE: Tell us where are you working and in what position? Do you think your education at Birkbeck helped you obtain this job?
Over the last years I worked as a journalist for the newspaper "England" is the largest Russian-language newspaper in the UK. I found a job before he enrolled at Birkbeck, but the University helped to develop many of the skills taught to plan his time and not to disrupt the deadlines. A journalist who picks deadlines is the dream of every editor.
IE: What are your plans after graduation? Where would you like to live and work in the future – in England, in Russia or somewhere else?
In the future I want to find a job in the English media, and I hope that my work in the newspaper and received a Birkbeck education will help me to do it. Now I want to live in London with a possible relocation for a couple of years in America or Asia.
IE: Thank you very much for this interview! What would you like to say in closing to our readers?
In four years at Birkbeck , I realized that formal education future. A huge number of people want to continue to learn and gain new education, regardless of age, marital status and career success. A former banker at the age of 70 years may decide to fill the hole in arts education, and people with a master's degree in modern English literature may suddenly take up the study of biology or mathematics. Birkbeck allows students not to limit their interests to develop at any age, combining work with study. It seems to me that this form of education in the coming years will become more and more popular.