Jacob Singer (King's)

A day in the life

Jacob Singer (King's)

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I was able to do exactly what I’d hoped to do with this degree. I feel I didn’t miss out on anything that either Dal or King’s had to offer. I really was able to take the best classes.

Taking philosophy beyond the classroom

Jacob Singer started out as a student at the University of King’s College, where he did the Foundation Year Program (FYP). After that, “I knew I wanted to do philosophy,” says Jacob, “But I didn’t want to pledge allegiance to one particular department.”

As he found out, he didn’t have to: “European Studies lets you be part of almost any department you want—you have a lot of freedom to choose your courses.”

Being an honours student in European Studies also allows Jacob to combine his love of philosophy with another subject—German. “I love the philosophy studies offered in the German department,” he explains.

He’s enthusiastic about all the courses he took during his European Studies degree: “I was enticed, compelled, intrigued by my classes—I just wanted to get as much out of them as I could.”

But two stand out. “I took an excellent course on Plato. And the one on Hannah Arendt was phenomenal,” he says. “I liked the prof, I’d taken courses with him before. But I really liked going in-depth with one particular thinker.”

“Arendt is challenging and an incredibly articulate political thinker,” he explains. “And the class dynamic helped encourage debate.”

And he’s also found his studies have application outside the classroom. “I find it difficult to separate philosophy from daily life,” Jacob says. “You’re not studying an object separate from yourself, you’re studying a way of living—and if you’re studying that vigorously, you have to get inside it and think with it.”

“Like reading the newspaper,” he elaborates. “After taking the Arendt course, I’ll think about something, like what it means to have refugee status: the philosophical implications, the import, what’s at stake in decisions we make. Or how we look at animals, let’s say. I have a sense of responsibility to take those things seriously and give them their due consideration.”

Honours students in European Studies are required to study abroad for up to a year. Jacob was more than happy to take advantage of this opportunity. He travelled to Dusseldorf, Germany, to immerse himself in the German language. “It was an incredible experience!” he says.