Subject: German and French
Student status: Home, Finalist
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Well my main two societies, one was for teaching English, that was the one I set up.  It was an idea of a friend of mine who is in the year above me and so she kind of roped me in and said 'Oh do you want to be Vice President?' and I couldn't say no.  We only really started that this year but it's gone from strength to strength. We've had a lot of support and everybody has been really enthusiastic, which is a really good thing. I thought at the start maybe people wouldn't take it on but loads of people have said you know this is what this university really needs.

My other society is a national one actually; it's the Student Guide Organisation, which is basically sort of Scouts and Girl Guides continuing on.  But it's got a social aspect to it as well and so you meet up once a week and do something fun but you can also do, as I do, I help with Guide unit, which is something I did at home, which really helped me to sort of bridge the gap between here and there.  It was something I'd done there and something I could do here and so it a nice sort of continuity, really.  It's also got a social side to it and it's a lot of fun, yeah.

And so how did you go about setting up a society?

Well as I said my friend had the idea and then we had to go to the Students Union and say 'Right we want to be a society' and they gave us support.  And then we put the word out and said to the students 'Oh do you want to come and help us, we want to teach English to international students' and lots of people responded, which was really lucky.  And then we put out to the international students 'Right, do you want to improve your English? Come to our society.'  And we had to do things like sort of go through training and setting up the society and finance and things like that.  And now we've just held our first elections and so that was a new experience for everyone.  It was quite hard and it was a lot of work but it was worth it in the end, just to see the benefits of what came out of it, really.

And so can you tell me about what you feel you gained from doing these extra curricular things?

Well firstly they have absolutely nothing to do with my degree they were just something that took me away from my studies. You can just totally forget what you're thinking about, if you've got an essay to write, you don't forget about it, but it's nice to have something else to do.  A lot of mine were volunteering I got quite a sense of achievement out of that.  For example with the teaching of English you see somebody who is not very good at English, hasn't got any confidence, and then two weeks later they're a lot more confident and that is really something that's beneficial for me. 

And also I think when I had my job interviews that I've been going to recently they've asked me quite a lot about my societies and the role that I've had in them.  A lot more than they've asked me about what I've been doing in my degree and so I think that was really beneficial in that I had something to talk about that was something a bit extra.  You know everybody on my course does my course but I've got something that's a little bit different that's more me that's unique in a way.  And so it's a real plus and it's a lot of fun as well otherwise I wouldn't do it.