Helen Burt



United Kingdom
My confidence certainly took a large upwards leap during my year abroad, and also my communication and interpersonal skills. This will help me in the future as I would like to work in politics with an MP or organisation, and these skills will be vital to this work.

More about Helen

Helen went on a year abroad to Spain as part of her degree.

What made you choose to study at NTU?

“The fact that I didn’t need an A-Level in a specific subject to do the course I wanted. I left school not really knowing what to do and later decided to pursue my interest in languages. Thanks to NTU offering an accelerated course for beginners I was able to study Spanish. I also felt comfortable and at home on the campus when I visited and that was important for me.”

What do you enjoy most about your course?

“I enjoy the range of topics it covers and the way I am able to take a topic and examine it from my own point of view.”

What do you think about the course staff?

“My lecturers have always made themselves easily accessible to us by letting us know when they are available onsite, and always answering emails promptly.”

What do you think about the facilities available to you?

“The Language Centre on Clifton Campus has been useful as they have a large range of items to help support your learning such as books, dictionaries and DVDs in your chosen language. It’s often staffed by language assistants so you can get help if you need it. As a whole, I like the Clifton Campus. The classrooms are always clean, and since the library was renovated I’ve found it much easier to study there.”

Why would you recommend your course / NTU to someone looking to study BA (Hons) Spanish and European Studies?

“I would recommend my course because it allows you to study a broad range of topics – you aren’t tied down to an area of focus. Also, by combining it with a language, you get to study and understand the cultural aspects better.”

What has been your biggest achievement at NTU so far?

“The thing I’m most proud of at NTU is representing the University as a member of the Rowing Club. Going from a non-rower to competing for the University in events like the Henley Women’s Regatta and the Head of the River Race in London have definitely been the highlights of my time here so far.”

Helen exploring Spain during her year abroad
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Helen exploring Spain during her year abroad

Can you tell us more about your year abroad to Spain?

“I studied at the University of Salamanca in Spain for a full academic year. I started my year abroad a little early and went to be an au pair with a family living in Madrid, which gave me a good chance to immerse myself in the culture and improve my Spanish before university began. Once I was at the University, I enrolled on various modules, including Italian, and Spanish literature.”

What was the application process like? What did you have to do?

“I found the application process fairly easy. Firstly, I indicated my first and second choice and then once my placement had been confirmed I was contacted by my host institution. There was a lot of paperwork to deal with before I went, but there was also a lot of support from both institutions.”

What was the most interesting / enjoyable aspect of your time abroad and why?

“The most enjoyable aspect of my time abroad was definitely travelling with the friends I made during the year. I travelled to various cities with my housemates and also travelled during Easter with my course mates. I came home with some great memories.”

What skills have you gained from this experience, and how will these skills enhance your employability for your chosen career?

“My confidence certainly took a large upwards leap during my year abroad, and also my communication and interpersonal skills. This will help me in the future as I would like to work in politics with an MP or organisation, and these skills will be vital to this work.”

What advice would you give to future exchange students?

“Try and talk to people who have gone on a year abroad before, you’ll get a lot of practical advice that you might not get from lecturers. Also, if there’s someone who has gone to the same place as you, they’ll be able to give you more specific information about the place. Attend the events that take place before you go – everyone who can help will be in the same place and it makes it easier for you to ask questions.”

Why would you recommend going on exchange to other students?

“I’d definitely recommending going on exchange – my year abroad was one of the best things I have ever done, it helped me develop as a person and provided me with experiences that I’ll be able to use for the rest of my life.”

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