October 31, 2012, by Anne S

From American Studies to… anything

Claire Jermany, 4th year student

The broad range of subjects that fall under the American Studies umbrella is the reason why I chose to study this loveable course. I’ve had to consult a huge range of materials for my lecture and seminar discussions over the years, from 8 Mile to slavery photographs to Muhammad Ali’s poetry. We’ve even watched snippets of The Muppets in a lecture as an example of post-racialism in American society. I now have the ability to analyse seemingly everyday cultural forms in terms of their historical meaning; I’ve developed time management, analytical, group work and presentation skills, as well as cultural awareness of the world’s leading power.

Involvement with AmeriCan Society can add valuable skills of leadership and teamwork. As President of the committee I have had the experience of leading a team and helping to organise events including an election night event.

My year abroad has increased my independence, my zest for life and has given me valuable cultural knowledge for my degree. I’m hoping this experience of not just living, but loving a foreign culture will help me to stand out from other candidates when I reach the real world. I couldn’t imagine studying anything that my heart isn’t in.

John Easom, University alumnus

I loved American Studies. I chose it because it offered the chance to learn in a multi-disciplinary way – literature, history, politics, geography, law, music and even more made up the course. Exploring a wide range of intellectual disciplines captured my imagination, there was always a different way of thinking to discover.

I spent a semester studying at an American college as part of the course, which was the most precious part of my degree.  It sounds odd but the best thing I did at Nottingham was to study somewhere else for a semester! Spending time abroad really enhances your experience as a student, and this could be in a summer camp, in an internship or a study abroad programme.

Very few careers specifically “use” American Studies but the broad approach has enabled me to pursue a varied career where different kinds of knowledge and understanding have proven very valuable. I have worked in sectors related to employment, training, personal development, marketing, international trade development and public relations. The communication skills, knowledge and adaptability nurtured during my degree have helped me to operate successfully in the public sector, the private sector and in the voluntary sector.

I chose the subject out of curiosity and from a desire to broaden rather than narrow my intellectual expertise. I now work in a public relations role in a university – having some awareness of several subjects has helped me to relate to students and colleagues more confidently.


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