What is it like to study English language and culture? What kind of courses are there and what are the employment possibilities? Our student Elena Kolla answers these and other questions.
What is the Master’s programme in English studies about?
For me, the English studies programme is first of all about English as a language and the knowledge we have about it. Nowadays this is especially important, as English has become so widespread and it is a lingua franca in many international and multilingual communities. When everything is developing so rapidly, it is quite hard to follow. Paraphrasing Lewis Carroll, you need to run fast just to keep up with this rapid language development, and that is what I believe the programme is helping me to accomplish, as studying here at the University of Helsinki I become a better professional in my field every day.
Also, it is about the community, the likeminded people who surround you and who are just as interested in English and its role in the world as you are.
What are the best aspects of this programme?
The best aspect, I believe, is access to knowledge, information and all the resources of the department and the University such as lectures, group projects, and seminars that are parts of the programme. The library is especially wonderful as it allows me to read recent scientific publications to deepen my knowledge, to keep myself updated on the developments in my field of study. And of course, getting a Master’s degree from a reputable European University is a huge boost for my career. These are the benefits of studying at the department, but I also value the ability to meet new people: teachers, local students, and other international students. It is great for a person who didn’t know anyone in Finland before arriving in Helsinki.
What is your study area in this programme?
I am doing my research and writing my Master's thesis in sociolinguistics. I study opinion articles, which are sometimes called 'op-ed' articles in the news media, in particular in the US news media. I'm trying to find out how the authors formulate their opinions in these articles and if the social categories they belong to influence these opinions.
What kind of courses do you have? (Also what kind of classes and teaching methods do you have?)
I have done a number of different courses during my studies now that I’m quite close to graduation. Some of them were literature courses in lecture format, followed by a paper or an examination. Some of them involved interactive lectures where we, students, had brief discussions. On some occasions, we were expected to meet outside of the classroom to do some group work, discuss the material to present it later in class. As a summary, I've had different courses in different formats, but all were very interesting and informative.
Why should someone apply for this programme and what kind of employment opportunities do graduates have?
As I already mentioned, the Master’s degree in English Studies from the University of Helsinki is a very reputable degree and signifies high quality. Thanks to the importance of the English language around the world the alumni from this programme have many different career opportunities, moreover, the department provides career orientation courses to help students decide which career paths they would want to take. With this degree, for example, you can become a teacher of English, provided that you have completed pedagogical studies. It is also possible to become an expert in English language, literature, and the culture of English-speaking countries. There is also a line to become an English language interpreter or translator, and a possibility to become a PhD student and subsequently a researcher.
I am going to apply for the English language teacher's programme and hopefully become a teacher of English as a foreign language. I am grateful to the university and the department for giving me this opportunity.
I am happy that I was accepted into this programme. Studying isn’t easy but I’ve had a great and very productive time here. I've also met new friends and I have new career opportunities, all thanks to the Master’s Programme in English Studies.