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Student profiles

Language Centre BSc programmes

Students on our BSc Language, Culture and Society; BSc International Relations and Chinese share their experiences and thoughts on the programmes, their studies, LSE and life in London.’ll graduate not just as a linguist but also someone able to undertake social scientific research.

Emily Marks (BSc Language, Culture and Society 2020/21 cohort)

...this programme opens new opportunities to understand global affairs from various perspectives.

Simon Sepesi (BSc International Relations and Chinese 2019/20 cohort)

Kajsa Lenz (BSc Language, Culture and Society 2021/22 cohort)


Hi! My name is Kajsa and I am in my first year studying the BSc Language, Culture and Society.

I remember back when I applied for this course, I was quite uncertain about what to expect. But now, I am beyond happy to have made this decision since my modules have been an absolute pleasure to delve into. 

Currently, I have two sociology modules, of which I am particularly enjoying the one on contemporary sociological issues, as well as one module on intercultural communications which has been eye-opening by quadrupling my horizon on global cultural knowledge.

My chosen language module, Spanish, has also allowed me to gain deeper insights into not only Spain, but also South America, having been assigned one Latin American country as an ‘area of expertise‘ and thus offering me a contemporary outlook on its economics and politics. 

Furthermore, I have taken on the non-degree language course in Korean, which really has been an entirely new experience and thus I am so grateful for this opportunity granted by the language centre which continuously puts effort into accommodating their students the best as possible. They not only offer a variety of language learning classes, such as improvisation sessions and talks with native speakers, but also make an effort to really get to know you as a person, so that there is genuinely always someone to talk to.

What I have enjoyed the most so far would probably be the exciting life in London that never gets boring, but also allows you to establish a very good work-life balance among like-minded people.  

My advice: Don’t think twice! Hope to see you soon :)


Emily Marks (BSc Language, Culture and Society 2020/21 cohort)


I applied to study Russian via BSc Language, Culture and Society because of the unique opportunity that the course gives in allowing you to study a language within a social and political sciences context, which you won’t find on any other course.

This broad study highlights the interdisciplinary nature of LSE as you’ll not only develop language skills, but also study within LSE’s highly influential sociology department – the first of its kind and one that continues to address questions of global importance.

This holistic study of language as a societal institution means you’ll graduate not just as a linguist but also someone able to undertake social scientific research – a skill set invaluable to an ever-globalising world.

The Language Centre at LSE is small and supportive – you’ll get to know everyone on your course and will be assigned an academic mentor to help guide you. I really appreciate how close-knit the department is within what can sometimes be an overwhelming but fascinating institution; one where you can be in a class and people from all over the world will bring their insights.

The diversity of London and proximity to international organisations was also a key factor to why I chose LSE – as a linguist there is no better city in the UK to practice your skills and attend cultural events. 


Simon Sepesi (BSc International Relations and Chinese 2019/20 cohort)


By learning the Chinese language to understand China’s culture, mentality, and lifestyle, I will stand at the crossroads of international debates, understand the causes of things, and formulate my own perspectives. Also, the quickest way to learn the world’s most widely spoken and most challenging language is through this programme.

This course goes beyond the regular International Relations coursework because it specifically engages with China as the rising power, providing in-depth knowledge to navigate the complex setting of foreign affairs.

The Language Centre is the best department as we get dedicated help and support. The multicultural environment ensures unparalleled diversity, and at the regular social events we get to know our peers’ diverse backgrounds and stories. The Language Centre staff and students are one big family that no other Department offers.

LSE connects many different worlds, ideas and perspectives that are all valued, and the innovative practices help find a leader in every student. This programme has the best of two worlds; it offers leading academic staff, stimulating classes with relevant content and active discussions. Besides, the School gives you the sense of community and a home base in the heart of London. LSE is a well-recognised brand with strong links worldwide, and BSc International Relations and Chinese is the unique ticket to that dynamic world of the 21st century. 


Kenya Lawrence (BSc International Relations and Chinese 2019/20 cohort)


LSE is an environment where you are surrounded by like-minded and ambitious individuals - with every person that you meet, there is something that you can learn. The effort that LSE exerts into capturing the multicultural aspect of the university should also be celebrated, as no one is made to feel like they do not have a place here.

I’m doing a joint degree, BSc International Relations and Chinese. I decided to study Mandarin for many reasons. One being that China is a growing global power and knowledge of the language becomes even more useful as China continues to extend its geo-political influence. Therefore, having an understanding of Mandarin, I believe, gives me an edge as a future candidate applying for work in an international environment.

In addition to Mandarin, I also take French as a non-degree language course offered by the Language Centre. For me, it’s a great way to maintain and develop the level of French I already have, alongside my Mandarin studies.

My favourite course this year would have to be LN241 Mandarin for International Relations. I love the fact that I am being encouraged to discuss more thought provoking and IR specific topics in another language. It’s heartening to see how significantly my Mandarin has already improved.

Teaching at the Language centre does a really good job at highlighting the importance of having a cultural understanding and appreciation of the language that you are studying.

Through the Language Centre’s hosting of numerous cultural events and incorporating information on history into class, you leave with an invigorated academic curiosity and stronger connection to your degree language.

Something that I really appreciate about London is its uniqueness.

If you were to ask 5 people of their experiences within London, you would receive 5 very different accounts. 

London is known for its larger tourist attractions like Big Ben or Trafalgar square. But what I treasure the most, are the gems which you discover half hazardously such as  quiet and inconspicuous coffee shops or lively and bustling street vendors in Camden Town.

I’m excited to see what doors Mandarin will open for me in my future.  Studying IR and Chinese has exposed me to new perspectives of looking at the world and I hope this is a stance that I will keep with me as I continue my journey within academia and life after LSE. 


Marlene Leiss (BSc Language, Culture and Society, 2019/20 cohort)


Having grown up in Austria, where I received most of my education, I completed the International Baccalaureate Diploma in Bosnia and Herzegovina at the United World College in Mostar, where I studied social sciences and languages.

What particularly attracted me to the Language Centre and the BSc Language, Culture and Society was the combination of sociology, linguistics, and a language of choice. The opportunity to go abroad, to France, in my third year to perfect my language skills convinced me in the end to apply to LSE.

From our first year on, we have been exposed to big sociological thinkers and complex social theories, which made my terms both interesting and challenging. While I have been enjoying all my courses, I am especially fascinated by gender studies and hope to gain more knowledge in that field in the coming years.

During all the months, the Language Centre has been my second home. The friendliness of the staff and the familiarity amongst students constitute the great atmosphere of academic excellence and exchange. I have been very lucky to find both teachers and mentors at my department.


Hanlin Li (BSc Language, Culture and Society 2020/21 cohort)


I am really impressed by the diversity of LSE. There are so many international students and I really like how you can mix with people from so many different cultures.

I am currently studying French. I chose French as I wanted to understand the French menu and also to learn English better by learning the language which the English language borrows many words from...and of course, to learn more about the French culture and its colonial history.

So far, my favourite course is LN131 French Language and Society as it is fun and relatively manageable to learn a new language at the beginner level as compared to my other courses (sociology and literature) which demand a lot of reading.

I really LOVE the Language Centre because it is without doubt the most close-knit community in LSE due to the small size of the department and student body. The department is like a big family where people know each other.

My literature course (LN250 English Literature and Society) is enriching, informative and well-structured. I am looking forward to improving in French, having more on-campus classes and exploring post-COVID London/UK next year.


Nabil Kalantar (BSc International Relations and Chinese 2020/21 cohort)


What do you like most about LSE?

It’s hard to choose just one thing, as my experience has genuinely been so excellent. The quality of teaching is excellent, and I find myself healthily challenged in almost everything I do. I have to say that my favorite thing has just been learning how to learn: I’ve found that my capacity for reading, critical thinking, and writing have improved so much over the last few months, and while I was pushed out of my comfort zone, I really appreciate being able to think at greater depths about topics that I’m really interested in.

Of course, the community is also so important. Due to the pandemic, I’ve been studying online all year, but I never felt alone, even though many of my peers were in London: whether it was through meetings with my academic mentor, or through the small classes teachers held for me and the other online learners, or through the socials my teachers planned, or through group projects, or through the many texts and chats I had with my classmates – both those who were in London and those who were not – I always felt like I was a part of the LSE community.

What language are you studying and why?

I’m on the BSc International Relations and Chinese course, so I’m studying Chinese. I was basically a total beginner to the language when I started, and I wanted to learn Chinese because I have a love for learning languages, Chinese was different than any language I had ever learned, and of course, Chinese is and will continue to be an extremely useful language to know. Most importantly, though, my wife is from China – so being able to communicate with her family and friends is my main goal.

What is your favorite course this year?

Thus far, my favorite course is probably my Chinese course – LN104. It’s a smaller class – just around eight of us – and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know everyone very well. The class is really intense, but it’s also rewarding to see the progress that my classmates and I are making week after week. The teacher put a lot of effort into making sure that those of us online were able to participate, and it was nice to be able to spend a lot of time each week with a small group of friends: it gave me a strong connection to LSE.

What do you think is best about the teaching in the Language Centre?

I think the best thing about the teaching in the Language Centre is how personalized it is. Every teacher from the centre has been willing to accommodate the needs of any student and reach out to them. When a classmate and I were the only two students still studying online, our teacher met with the two of us for an hour each week to hold a class, just for us. In that same course, on intercultural communication, our teacher always connected what we were learning about to our own cultures, engaged with our own experiences, and was always ready to meet, give advice, and provide feedback as we wrote essays, case studies, and engaged in research. In my other course from the Language Centre, Chinese, I distinctly remember how on the first day of class, he took the time to learn something interesting about each student: and I could tell he wasn’t just asking for fun, but because he really cared. I was having doubts at that point about studying Chinese; but after that first class, I knew it would be an amazing experience. Since then, it has been much the same: he has given personal feedback to everyone, and always is ready to provide advice and assistance if needed.

What excited you most about your studies and the future?

I’m really excited about some of my modules in the coming years. In my last year, I’m excited to be able to take some really specific modules about topics I’m interested in. In second year, I’m really excited for ‘Mandarin and IR’, because it’ll combine the two things I’m studying! And of course, I’m excited for going to Fudan in the coming summer and in my third year, to learn in a different environment and realy develop my Chinese.

What do you wish you had known before you applied to LSE?

I wish I had known how good everything was going to be! Especially since I was studying online, I had a lot of concerns coming into the school year: but they were all unfounded, because everything has genuinely been excellent.