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James Wilper

PhD German

'I am currently studying for a PhD German. Birkbeck offered me an international studentship and a college studentship which essentially covers my tuition fees. For a PhD you want to make sure you will be working with people who are leaders in their field and Birkbeck has a very good research profile. I know that I can go to the US or Germany, and wherever I decide to go, my degree will be respected.

'I wanted to study in London after gaining my undergraduate degree in the USA, living in Germany for three years, and then in Scotland.  There is quite a contrast in the differing educational systems, and a lot of advantages to a British education.  I especially like how courses are taught by different lecturers and professors so you get a fantastic synthesis of knowledge and expertise, something that you don’t get in the US or Germany where courses are taught by one lecturer or professor. At Birkbeck you get such diverse views on one course.

'Within the School of Arts the PhD students support one another and have a lot of contact. It’s good to know that you’re not alone, and that other students are facing the same problems that you are. Having that contact with other graduate students was very important. 
I also teach undergraduate classes, and the students always bring so much life experience to the lectures and to the discussions which is something that happens when you have people of different ages, it enriches the classroom experience.

'The advantage of being in London is all of the academic conferences and symposia, all the extra things you have to do to get to know other academics or make a name for yourself. Personally I want to be an expert in my field and I feel that through this College and the people I’ve met, I’m well on my way. Also the city of London is very exciting, having lived here now approaching four years I still haven’t run out of things to do and see.  

'I would definitely recommend Birkbeck, you have a lot of flexibility here that you don’t have at other institutions. Not only are your classes in the evening so you can work, I find that the lecturers and professors are more than happy to make accommodations and to work with you. '

Find out more about our german studies courses.

'I want to be an expert in my field and I feel that through this College I’m well on my way.'