So, apparently I need to update this blog more often. Of course, that would imagine something interesting happens more than once a month in my academic life, which, as a PhD student, it doesn’t.
But it’s the start of term now and we have a boatload (literally) of MAs who have just started and also a dozen new PhDs (most of which are not on campus). As well, the English department has taken over our building as they usually do at the start of term, so it’s a bit crowded around my usual haunts!
[Don’t get me started on how busy the centre is lately. You’d think the entire population of the city turned out on Saturday to shop.]
The start of term also means that many of our students who go home for extended periods return, so most of the department is around these days. That’s always fun and it’s lovely to catch up with people I haven’t seen in months (mostly since Research Week). It’s also fun to be a senior student again, as I’ve not been one since I was 24! There is something innately enjoyable about knowing you are in your last year and others are just starting. Of course, that’s less enjoyable for the new students. The downside of an MA is that you are never the senior student, as it’s only a one-year course.
I had an interesting talk with another PhD today, to digress slightly into museums, about the fact that many (many) of our new MAs are from China. Very few are local, which I think must be mostly because of tuition costs and lack of funding. But to have such an increase in Chinese students was a bit surprising. I don’t say this in a bad way. I think it’s a fantastic show that China is starting to develop their museum industry. It also shows that people there are interested in pursuing the *degree* not the *university*. Museum Studies is now considered a useful programme to do, and that’s fantastic to have so many Chinese students here doing just that. We hope that many will go on to PhDs, as we currently only have one Chinese PhD student (hopefully she’s the leader that many others will follow!) I hope, one day soon, to also see many students starting from Japan, which we don’t typically get. Japan also has a fairly new museum industry, but hopefully they will start to wend their way over to the UK for schooling soon. We also have a few North Americans, but that’s because MA Museum Studies programmes are limited and PhD Museum Studies don’t exist in the USA or Canada (something we NA’s aim to change one day!) The UK is about the only place to go, and of course, Leicester is the best known in the UK (and also the largest department so able to take on more students).
It creates a wonderful multicultural atmosphere, which I’ve talked about before. That’s never more apparent than at the start of term. So many new faces (I haven’t known the MAs since I started my PhD, most of them are just friendly faces) to get to know! Our new bunch of PhDs seem very eager and are doing some amazing research. It’s going to be a good year and I know they will be able to carry on when my graduation year finishes in about 12-14 months. Turning it over to the next generation, as it were!