Guest Post: What's it like to go and study languages at university?

Today's article comes from Tom, who you guys will hopefully remember since he gave us an insider's perspective on the UK A-Level exams in German and French a few weeks ago. I love this article and what it stands for - the positive feelings, great benefits and excitement of going to university. Plus here is someone who is building on a love for languages which will last him all his life. Let's see how Tom hopes university will feel. 

A new chapter: off to university!

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After two very demanding years of preparing for the A-Level exams, I cannot believe that I have finally come to this point in my life, where I am off to university. I had always assumed that it was years away until I would get to that stage in my own life and I wouldn’t have to think about that just yet. It was in fact 6 years ago that my brother went to university! Now that the time is here, it’s a daunting but extremely exciting prospect. I’m leaving home seriously for the first time in my life, although I have the advantage of knowing what to expect thanks to those older in my family. 

A-Level results day now feels like it is far in the past, yet it was something that occurred very recently, only 2 or so weeks ago. Fortunately for me, I had no issues and I was successful in getting on to my course at my first choice university. Of course I am very pleased, and I look forward to commencing this new chapter in my life. As far as I am concerned, hard work does pay off! And all of the hours I put into doing extra work and revision definitely helped! 

A slight change-up? 

It will be tough and I will have to put in many hours but I know that the up and down battle will be so worth it at the end.

As mentioned in my previous post, it more or less felt natural and obvious for me to apply to study languages at university, but I wanted to do something different, a bit ‘out there’ and I simply wanted a change, so I decided to choose German and ab initio Russian (ab initio means completely from scratch). I had toyed with the idea of doing French and German but I thought that I could maintain and improve my French on my own now at this stage since I am still extremely fond of the French language and culture. For me, the French language and culture will always have a very special place in my heart as it is just so beautiful and it was the first language in which I could communicate with fluidity without having to constantly rack my brain for words or phrases.

Starting a new language will be a challenge, particularly since Russian is quite different from English. I am really looking forward to this challenge. It will be tough and I will have to put in many hours but I know that the up and down battle will be so worth it at the end when I hopefully come out speaking it well and fluently. But let’s wait and see, since I don’t know what the future holds in store for me yet!

Four years full of opportunity and one special year in particular

The highlight, as seems for many language undergraduates is the year abroad, living in one or more of the countries where the target language or languages are spoken. The opportunity to live abroad for a year is a great chance to not only sharpen up linguistic abilities but also get a deeper first hand on experience of the culture. Personally I really look forward to meeting new people from these countries. I hope to benefit as much as I can from what will be a once in a lifetime possibility to live abroad and not have to really worry about too much! By the end of my year abroad and eventually my degree, I would hope to be speaking very fluently. And in my opinion, it’s particularly important in language learning to master the intonation, rhythm and accent, so I hope that these would be of a very high level by the end of my degree.

At a time when the UK is crying out for people who are multilingual there seems to be no better time to be doing foreign languages at uni.

In addition to this, at a time when the UK is crying out for people who are multilingual there seems to be no better time to be doing foreign languages at uni. Not only will you be able to enhance your skills in so many different ways, but it seems the multilingual trait can take you wherever you want in life and whilst doing so, you will see life and the world in many beautiful different coloured spectrums and lights all just as beautiful as another.

To sum up, I feel so excited about this next part in my life, where I will be studying what I love and will be around like-minded individuals with great ideas. If you are off to university, I hope that your time there will be great and I am sure once everyone has finished there will be many awesome memories that will never leave us as we will one day remember our time as undergraduates!

Going to university like Tom?

Leave a comment, say hi and send your best wishes to Tom and all the other millions of students who are ready to start university life.