Why did you choose MA Language, Culture and Communication at the University of Birmingham?

Firstly, I studied English Language and Drama in my undergraduate degree at the University of Birmingham. I really enjoyed the modules I did in English Language throughout my 3 years at the University and was equally impressed by the English Language and Linguistics department. So, I felt it was natural to progress into an English Language degree at a postgraduate level. I decided on the Language, Culture and Communication pathway because I wanted to extend my foundational knowledge of linguistics to specialist areas such as, business communication and discourse, sociolinguistics and intercultural communication. From my undergraduate degree, I knew everyone in the department are responsive and supportive of all the students, which I believed would be reflected in teaching as well.

What has been the highlight of your course?

Seminars were a completely different experience as a postgraduate student because I found it easier to contribute my own thoughts. I believe I retain new information a lot better when I attempt to practice it, so I greatly appreciated any modules where tutors incorporated an interactive element. They did this so consistently!

For instance, sociolinguistic seminars featured student-led presentations where we each researched and read material to feedback to the cohort; almost every module had active discussion boards for us to add our ideas, questions and thoughts from the lecture; and in corpus linguistics I felt following along with practical demonstrations helped me understand how to independently use analytical tools. This level of consideration, especially at a time where bi-modal teaching had just been introduced, definitely stood out.

What have you learnt from your programme?

Without exaggerating, the knowledge I have gained from all the modules in the course has changed my perspective on everything. When I read text posted online on social media sites, I often think of what the emojis and emphatics serve to function. Whenever I read breaking news in the media, I start to question whether there are any underlying ideologies that influence the narrative that I perceive. When I’m on public transport and the announcement, “see it, say it, sorted” comes on, I always think back to a lesson on phonology around sounds and structures of words. I learnt that the theories taught in a lecture and the ideas discussed in a seminar are valued and applicable to real-life situations and may have different meanings, or may need modifying, in various cultures. So, I have developed a greater ability to approach day-to-day interactions as a critical thinker and am more open-minded to a plethora of ideas around the day-to-day interactions we may face.

What is life like as a student at the University of Birmingham?

Academically, there is a lot of independent study involved in doing a postgraduate degree. It has taught me a lot about time management, self-discipline and motivation, and how to achieve a better work-life balance. Life as a student at the University of Birmingham largely depends on your attitude to academia, peers and tutors. I kept myself busy and tried to stay on top of all the work required in each module, and felt even more encouraged by the support of my peers and tutors who recognised the effort I put into each session.

I always knew where to go for support when I needed it and there were loads of non-academic opportunities to get involved in to develop professionally as well. The campus is also gorgeous with outdoor festivals being held in the Green Heart, and it’s a good 40 minute walk around for study breaks.

What have you enjoyed most about living and studying in Birmingham?

There is so much to see and do at the University and in the surrounding areas of the city. I went into my postgraduate degree wanting to make the most of student life, which meant life for me was very busy most of the time because I like to get involved with as much as possible. There will always be an event or attraction to go to, whether it’s a club night or a day out sightseeing and visiting local museums and parks with housemates. So, I felt like a part of a community as a student in Birmingham. Some of my highlights include regular trips to Digbeth Dining Club with my boyfriend, walks along the Birmingham and Worcester canal, and career advice through the Careers Network – who also ran the Postgraduate Professional Development Award that recognises commitment to continued development.

How has your course and your time studying at Birmingham prepared you for your future career?

“In a nutshell, my time at the University of Birmingham allowed me to open myself up to work and volunteering opportunities, which led to securing a full time permanent role that starts in September.

In the assignments I completed for each module, I was able to pursue research that I had a personal interest in. For example, I examined Thai-English code-switching and English nativization processes by native Thai speakers in hotel reviews, which strongly relates to my family background and helped to inspire a section of my final dissertation.

Careers Network helped me to understand how to communicate the key skills developed throughout my course and those involved in the dissertation to employers in a professional manner. I narrowed down my passions through the societies that I was involved in, and can confidently say that you get more than just a degree by studying at a university, and the connections built whilst living and studying in Birmingham will last after graduation.