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Celebrating Success: Rebecca Boyd

21st August 2019

This is the first article in our 2019 news series celebrating high performing Pembroke undergraduate students and recent alumni in their examinations.

Rebecca Boyd (Modern Languages, 2015) recently finished her fourth year at Pembroke as the 10th highest performing student across the University in her course and achieved a first-class degree. We caught up with Rebecca to congratulate her on her recent success, and here she talks about and her highlights of studying Modern Languages and her initial experiences of adjusting to life at university.

“Two weeks into my first term at Oxford, I was struggling so much to keep up that I was beginning to think I would have to change course, if not university. Luckily, I stuck it out for another couple of weeks – and here I am, almost four years later, with a First Class degree under my arm.

One of the most rewarding aspects of the Modern Languages course has been learning Russian from scratch: it’s easy to assess and be proud of your progress when you started off at square one! I also loved the fact that the course was 50% language and 50% literature, especially in my 4th year, when I finally had the opportunity to do my own research into areas I was passionate about.

Even so, it can be hard to feel like you fit in at university, so I also got involved in student drama, both as an actor and a director, and in the Oxford University LGBTQ+ Society. These activities were not only a great deal of fun in their own right, but helped me develop my memory and communication skills.

Of course, I spent a whole quarter of my degree away from Pembroke – I did my year abroad in my 2nd year, when my course mates and I went to do a Russian language course for 8 months in Yaroslavl’. We stayed with Russian host families, so we were immersed in a foreign culture from breakfast until bedtime. It was difficult at times, but my language improved drastically thanks to it, as did my ability to think critically. It made me fall in love with Russian and Russia, and has left me determined to carry on studying both for the rest of my life.”

Rebecca Boyd
Rebecca Boyd