Karim Bhaluani: keeping my options open
Karim studied both his undergraduate and postgraduate degrees with the Classics Department at the University of Reading. Karim says that the flexibility of the courses and the ability to keep his options open were what attracted him to, and kept him at, the University of Reading.
"I started at Reading doing the BA Classical Studies and switched to BA Classics at the end of my first year. It was a really simple process to switch, and the Department is very open about your options and supports you to do what suits you."
"This was perfect for me, as I was able to make an informed decision about my future to match my evolving interests, without compromising my degree."
PERSONALISING MY STUDIES
Karim valued the flexibility of Reading's courses which enabled him to personalise his studies through the wide variety of optional modules available:
"One of the things I loved about Classics at Reading was the flexibility of the course and the wide range of modules on offer. At undergraduate you only have to do two core modules, which gives you 80 credits of optional modules left to select: this means you can choose from a variety of Classics modules - such as ancient drama, literature, or history-based subjects - or modules from outside the Department - for example, I took some Archaeology modules which I found gave context to my classical studies."
"I was able to study a wide range of subjects in the first year of my undergraduate course, thus keeping my options open and experiencing new areas of the ancient world, before focusing my interests as I progressed through my degree."
"I chose to continue my postgraduate studies at Reading due to the flexibility of the course and because the tutors here have a very wide range of research topics: from Egyptology, to Ancient Near Eastern Studies, to Early Christian Studies. I felt this wide range of research topics would allow me the flexibility of focus I wanted for my dissertation."
PROGRESSING TO THE NEXT LEVEL
After completing his undergraduate degree Karim chose to remain at the University of Reading for his master's in Classics and Ancient History:
"Once I'd finished my undergraduate degree at Reading, I wasn't entirely sure what I wanted to do next - but I realised I wasn't done with education and I wanted to carry on. The Classics Department's postgraduate courses offer a good balance between independent work, research work, taught modules and one-on-one supervision.
Doing a master's degree consolidates skills such as essay writing, team-work, independent work, organisational skills and time-management: you learn these skills at undergraduate level, but a master's allows you to take your development one step further."
"Postgraduate study is really beneficial if you're considering an academic career-path, but it also helps with other careers: it teaches you the life skills you wouldn't necessarily have developed on your undergraduate course, and helps you to stand out from the crowd."
Karim moved abroad and to teach English as a foreign language after completing his master's course:
"I did a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) course after I graduated and spent a year in Thailand teaching as an English Language teacher. This was a fantastic and fulfilling experience for me that was greatly supported by my degrees. "
Karim decided on this career-path because he enjoys teaching, and because he loves languages. Studying Latin and Greek during his Classics degrees helped him understand the structure of the English language better and teach the language to a high standard.
"I am now back in England studying for a PGCE in Primary Education. Although the course is school-based, a large portion of it focuses on academic research and completing master's-level assignments. My undergraduate and master's degrees at Reading have helped me unequivocally in this regard. Once qualified, I hope to spend some more time teaching abroad and do what I can to help those in need. "