Jack Hughes

Jack is studying at the Manchester Institute of Education (MIE).

On choosing my course

Jack Hughes

I originally began my studies at Manchester in September 2016 studying a completely different degree in Law. After a year I realised that it just wasn’t the course for me, but I knew that university was. I set out looking at other courses Manchester had to offer. On doing so, I stumbled across a course in MIE and couldn’t believe how much it seemed to tick all my boxes.

I had always had an interest in language and how people speak (particularly accents) from a young age and was not aware that this was at all an academic discipline that I could explore further. I chose this course specifically rather than a straight linguistics course as I was unsure at the time about what career I would like specifically and thought that gaining some insight in the academic study of education might be useful if I decided that I wanted to train to teach in the future.

On my work and research experience

Last year, I carried out a placement relating to a possible career in the future. I did mine with the Manchester-based charity CityWise. Each week I went to a local high school and character mentored with a group of Year 7 pupils, fostering the charity’s ethos of resilience, self-control, fairness, and good judgement.

I think this experience has definitely aided my future employability as it has nurtured my communication skills, as well as time management and organisation. I also had the chance to carry out my own research project. This has really helped me grow in confidence in my ability to successfully explore relevant literature and to organise my own interviews for data collection. I think both these opportunities really give you a good grounding for entering the world of work or research post-undergraduate life.

On what I've enjoyed most

I honestly think the highlight of the course was a phonetics course unit with Dr Steve Jones in my first year of the course. It really appealed to that innate love of accents that I had as a child, but now I was validating it from an academic point of view and I am fluent in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) as a result.

Also, even though I don’t find phonetic transcriptions themselves that interesting to do, I found them a really good way to hone this new skill of the IPA and I can imagine whether it’s teaching or speech therapy that you enter a career in, this knowledge will definitely come into good use.

On my experience of Manchester

Moving from a small town in Northern Ireland, I was inevitably nervous about making the move to Manchester. However, when I got here, I soon realised just how friendly a city Manchester is and how great the university is in offering support and many events for students in their first few weeks of beginning their degrees. Now, Manchester is truly a second home to me, and I genuinely love living here; it’s truly the place to be.

I honestly think the best thing about Manchester is that everything is just at your fingertips. It’s a city that is small enough to walk around but is large enough to host loads of great events. It also has such a welcoming vibe – it’s very multicultural, and it’s a place where people of all races, sexualities and backgrounds can feel they belong.

In terms of studying here, I think it’s great that our campus is so central to the city itself with the town being a 10-minute bus ride away, and it is genuinely so pretty (especially the old quadrangle and the New Brunswick Park).