Theresa Collins

Why did you choose to study Scandinavian Studies in general and at UCL in specific?

Having studied French and Spanish at A Level, I was reluctant to continue with these languages at university level as I felt I had exhausted my enthusiasm for them. Scandinavian Studies seemed the obvious choice for me - I had always had a deep-rooted interest in Scandinavian language and culture, and the mix of language, history and culture offered by the degree programme appealed to me. UCL was my preferred choice, as it was the only university in the UK to offer modules in basic Icelandic and Faroese as part of the Scandinavian Studies programme.

What did you like most about your degree programme?

I particularly liked the varied mix of modules available as part of the programme, which allow the student to tailor the course according to their individual interests. I appreciated the fact that I was able to combine language and history courses with modules in Scandinavian film.

What was it like being a student at the Scandinavian department?

Being a student of Scandinavian Studies is a unique experience, as the small class sizes mean that the department is able to offer its students a standard of teaching that is not widely available on other similar degree programmes. The department is a real melting pot of students from across Europe, offering a unique insight into perspectives of Scandinavia from across the globe. I also appreciated the opportunity to spend one year studying in Arctic Norway, which is not offered as a natural destination for many students of other UK universities. London has numerous links with Scandinavia that can be utilized for the benefit of students - London cinemas often have Scandinavian film seasons, there is a Norwegian church in nearby Rotherhithe and a Scandinavian party is never far away!

How has your degree been of benefit to you since you took your degree?

Since graduating in summer 2005, I spent one year working as an English language assistant at a primary school in Halden, Norway. I then spent over two years working as a Scandinavian translator for an engineering company in Northumberland before opting to study for a PGCE in Primary Teaching, commencing September 2008. Being able to speak another language well has increased my confidence, as well as allowed me to travel to Scandinavian destinations far removed from the typical tourist trail.

Anything else you want to add about your experience at UCL or your career since leaving UCL?

A degree in Scandinavian Studies will certainly make you stand out from the crowd. Mnay people will ask 'why?', but you will never be short of an answer. In fact, I have often found that most people are envious when they hear that I studied something that I genuinely found enjoyable, rather than studying something tedious just for the sake of it. Studying for a degree in Scandinavian Studies has given me access to a variety of unique opportunities - a year of study in North Norway, where I was able to immerse myself in Sami language and culture, the opportunity to work as a translator, and even made me a star of Norwegian television when NRK spent a day filming in the Scandinavian Studies department. I have enver been so surprised in all my life as when I was stopped in the street in Halden by somebody who recognized me, a year after the programme had aired! I found it relatively easy to find work as a translator in the North-East of England, and have generally found that there is a good variety of work available for good language students - although the work may often require a specialist technical vocabulary. I would encourage anyone with an interest in all things Scandinavian to consider studying for a degree in Scandinavian studies - I am sure you will find that these will be the best and most enjoyable four years of your life!

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