Student profile
Emily Byfield-Riches

Emily Byfield-Riches

The staff at both my partner University and at the University of Surrey were all incredibly helpful in supporting me throughout the semester and adjusting my learning where possible.


English Literature BA (Hons)

Study abroad location


How have you spent your time during the last few months in lockdown?

In my free time, I have developed a new hobby - restoring an old 1989 Volkswagen Campervan. I have been re-surfacing, painting and treating rusted bodywork to keep myself busy, and this has taught me a lot about working with my hands. I have also renewed my love for watercolour painting and have been painting portraits of my dog, when I have the time.

How have you been coping during the outbreak?

Quarantine has proved the perfect climate for thinking. I find myself thinking, a lot. I think about trivial things: about lunch, Netflix shows, Zoom meetings, dinner. I think about the media and the impact it’s having on our lives, especially during times like these. Particularly, I find myself thinking about the literature I have read, the literature I am reading, the literature I want to read. I’m drawn to texts that describe altered futures, their stories, their characters, the narratives and new landscapes they navigate.

How have you found the move to online teaching?

The move to online teaching was another challenge as I very much enjoy face-to-face lecturing. I found that, initially, I could not stay focused throughout the online lectures, particularly while studying in my home environment. However, online lecturing has also meant that I have had to focus on my self-discipline a lot more and trust my own independent study.

How have you stayed connected?

For the past academic year, I have been lucky enough to have been studying abroad at La Trobe University in Australia, which is a University of Surrey partner university. However, due to the outbreak of Covid-19, I was forced to return home three months early and continue my Australian studies from the United Kingdom.

"The stark difference in time zones meant that this was particularly challenging, however, the staff at both La Trobe University and at the University of Surrey were all incredibly helpful in supporting me throughout the semester and adjusting my learning where possible."

Find out more about online and hybrid learning at Surrey, plus other information for prospective students.

Discover more about our undergraduate English literature and creative writing courses, including our BA (Hons) English Literature course.