Student Profiles, University Life - Study

Esme Farrow – Undergraduate to Postgraduate

Ever wondered what makes our students stay at Cardiff University for postgraduate study after completing their undergraduate degree? Read on to find out what some of our students have to say…

What are you studying at postgraduate level?

MA Language and Linguistics

What did you study at undergraduate?

BA English Language

Did you come directly from UG to PG or take a break?

No, I had a year out in between undergraduate and postgraduate studies.

If not, what did you do in-between?

I did a bit of travelling in Europe, and worked at a local college.

What brought you back?

I felt like there was more I wanted to learn in the subject area and I wanted to develop my skills further.

What do you love about Cardiff?

I love how vibrant and cosmopolitan the city is, the rugby, the music concerts, the shopping centres, the parks. I lived in rural Devon so for me there is always something new and exciting going on in Cardiff, but at the same time it’s a short journey to the Brecon beacons or Barry Island to get away from the city.

Where’s your favourite place in Cardiff and why?

The bay is lovely, day or night, for a drink or meal down on the front, it is a lovey atmosphere and a great place to socialise with friends and family.

Why did you decide to stay at Cardiff for your postgraduate studies?

I knew how approachable, friendly and supportive the lecturers were and also the research-led environment I would be learning in. The city is very welcoming and my course had a lot of variety in terms of module choices, so I could tailor my degree and learning to specific areas of interest.

What are the benefits of studying at postgraduate level?

For me, I wanted to continue learning about the diverse fields which language and linguistics stretches across, so for me personal development of both knowledge and additional transferable skills than those just acquired from undergraduate study. For example, a masters level programme requires more individual self-study, which means I have exercised more independent work than at undergraduate. I saw this, as well as other skills such as leadership, presentations, report writing etc., as being beneficial for my CV. Postgraduate study allows me to further develop my understanding and skills in an area I wish to pursue a career in.

How is postgraduate study different from undergraduate?

I feel on much more of an equal level to lecturers this year, as most postgraduates devote more attention and effort to their subjects and I think this is recognised by lecturers, so they aim to do as much as they can to help you. Also class sizes are smaller so the learning environment is more enjoyable, as we all have the opportunity to discuss our own interests and have a say in the topic structuring and schedule of the course. The smaller size of lectures and seminars allows a more intimate style of learning, allowing students and lecturers to bounce ideas off of each other and there is more opportunity to engage in discussion. Almost everyone has the opportunity to express their viewpoint or critique and thus lectures and seminars are more intellectually stimulating and rewarding.

What support is available at Cardiff as a postgraduate student?

Pastoral and academic support at Cardiff is fantastic. Support ranges from well-being or counselling to academic essay writing workshops to make improvements to your work. The services provided, by both the students union and my academic school has meant that any problems have been picked up on and dealt with before they become an issue. Most issues are dealt with efficiently and effectively.

What/who helped you to make the decision to stay in Cardiff?

I pretty much made the decision myself, although lecturers gave me the information about postgraduate studies, so I could make an informed decision. Although my previous experiences as an undergraduate at Cardiff were what made me decide to stay, postgraduate open days and information fairs where a huge source of information and allowed me to speak to current postgraduates to get a real sense to what to expect.

How do you fund your postgraduate studies?

I receive a government loan to help me with my studies, although some is self-funded through part time work organised through the Student’s Union Job Shop. This means I am able to pick up part-time casual work around my studies, without having to commit to contracted hours.

Looking back at your time as an undergraduate is there anything you’d do differently?

To be honest, I don’t think there is anything I would change about my undergraduate experience, and perhaps if there was I would not be here now. My experience was nothing but enjoyable, both challenging and rewarding. Perhaps the only thing would be that I could have explored the city and surrounding areas more.