Community profiles

Carmen Villar

Former student
BA in Hispanic Studies, 1997; PhD, 2004

I am a lecturer in Portuguese Studies at the University of Sheffield. My time at Bristol showed me that, with hard work, you can learn not only languages, but about how other cultures think, live, and express themselves. The staff at Bristol were inspirational - especially those academics involved with Portuguese. Looking back now, what we studied as undergraduates in Hispanic Studies had an impressive depth and breadth, but it never felt outside my reach or ability. In my professional life, I aim to emulate the environment in which I learnt, inspiring my undergraduate students to look beyond the obvious, to have a passion to learn and be curious, and to be aware of trends and debates in the Lusophone World.

“The departmental play; learning Latin American history from Professor Costeloe as if he was telling us a nice story; watching in awe how much David Brookshaw seemed to know about anything and everything Lusophone, (whilst making it effortless for us to learn as well); participating in a ground-breaking module called 'Language through theatre' (I think they experimented on us first with this one!); and unmissable grammar lectures, which were anything but boring. There are a lot of good memories.

“I loved the way all the departments were connected, and there was a certain charm at the rabbit-warren aspect of the building. It was surprisingly airy, communal, and light (despite how I have described it). I really enjoyed having classes in what became my PhD supervisor's office; it was wonderful to be surrounded by books and also to be able to hear the seagulls on the roof.”