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Christopher Lockwood - English and American Literatures student (2009)
Unlike the English &... courses offered by Keele, English & American Literatures is the only one which allows you to concentrate wholly on studying literature. Thus, at Keele it is unique. The relatively small number of people in each year also means that you are able to develop very close friendships which, as I can testify, exist beyond studying, with people who are as committed and enthusiastic about English & American Literature as you are.
The course can be as specific or as generic as you want it to be: for instance, you can study courses based upon a particular theme or time period, or courses that span the whole of American literature from the very earliest writings of the settlers to books published last week! The staff who teach these courses are possibly the most knowledgeable people I've ever met – if you need to find something out, they will know exactly which book to get (and some of them might even know the library reference number!). This sort of dedication from the staff is an absolute god-send in the final, dissertation writing, year and the ability to work through ideas, receive feedback and get advice at any point is really useful.
While Keele is an amazing place to study, it is also possible to spend six months or a year studying abroad in any one of many universities across the U.S.A. I spent a year studying in sub-tropical New Orleans where I was able to put into practice all the knowledge of American Literature I had gained at Keele, by studying lesser-known local texts. Studying abroad also allows you to get a real flavour of the country you spend half your degree studying; it allows you to gain an understanding of the motivations, the history and the culture of the people who live there. If you can, you must study abroad.