Through her degree, Rebecca Preedy (BA Ancient History and Classical Archaeology with Study in Europe, (2021), MA Ancient Visual and Material Culture of Rome, present) has been able to combine her interests in ancient history, archaeology and languages. She talks about her Warwick experience, and the parallels between the ancient and modern worlds.
Why did you choose to study Ancient History and Classical Archaeology at Warwick?
I had an interest in the ancient world from a young age so started looking for universities that offered degrees in ancient history. I settled on Warwick because I wanted a mixture of archaeology, languages and ancient history. Having the chance to study something at university that I’d only ever been able to explore in my spare time was a really freeing experience. I think that’s part of the reason I’ve loved every single aspect of my studies.
You got to travel as part of your studies, where did you go and what did you do?
My course involved the option of a year abroad in an Italian city of my choice. After taking the City of Rome module in my second year, I fell in love with the city’s archaeology and knew I had to study there. I studied at La Sapienza, the top-ranking university for Classics and Ancient History in the world, and it was a daunting experience, but I absolutely loved living in Rome and it quickly became my favourite place. In fact, I’m going back for two months as a part of my MA.
The department also gave me the opportunity to take part in an excavation on a Roman temple site in France. I spent three weeks on the dig and loved every minute of it! It was wonderful to meet like-minded students from another country, and to experience an excavation first-hand; this was definitely one of the highlights of my degree.
What did you enjoy most about your course?
Being able to study Latin and Greek from scratch was amazing. I remember rewatching Monty Python’s Life of Brian during my first year studying Latin and being so happy that I could finally understand the bit where the centurion is correcting his grammar. I will always be so glad that I picked a course that allowed me to study ancient languages as well as the Ancient History and Archaeology that first drew me to the course.
Why is the study of ancient history and classical archaeology important in the modern world?
Almost every terrifying thing that we see in modern news has a parallel in the ancient world. Refugee crises map themselves onto the mass displacement from Pompeii after the eruption of Vesuvius; tyrannical leaders can be seen in the tyrants of Greece or the emperors of Rome. Racism, sexism and homophobia can all be found in just one volume of Roman satire. With every new person that studies the ancient world, I hope there’s one new person who wants to stop them happening in modern world.
Why did you choose to study Classics at Warwick, and to go on to postgraduate studies here?
I was drawn to the opportunity to take a year abroad, and I liked the archaeological elements without it being strictly ‘Archaeology’. Warwick’s course is so much more flexible than many other courses, as you can really shape your degree with the vast choice of modules on offer. I was also really grateful for the introductory style of my first year because I hadn’t done any formal study of Classics before. This really helped me find my footing.
I chose to stay at Warwick for my Masters because I was confident the department would look after me well. The pastoral care at Warwick, and more particularly in the Classics department, has been excellent. I knew I wanted to continue studying languages, and that I wanted to go abroad again.
What’s next after your MA?
My current plan is to take a year out from studying and get a job in the field of my degree. Provided this year goes well academically, my long-term goal is a PhD, so I want to spend time thinking about what I want to research and start contacting prospective supervisors. I know I want to stay in Classics for the foreseeable future, and I’m looking forward to seeing where it takes me.
What advice would you give to a student considering studying Classics at Warwick?
I can’t recommend the Department of Classics and Ancient History enough. It was so welcoming to someone who had never studied the subject before, so I felt at home. Everyone is very friendly and there is a genuine sense of care for every student.
There are many extra-curricular opportunities. I’ve been blogging for the department for the past four years, which has offered me a great chance to get paid experience.. You could also get involved in the Warwick Ancient Drama Festival, ambassador roles and more. If you want a flexible and fun degree in a nurturing environment, Warwick is the place to do it.