16/04/2019, by CLAS

Work experience in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures

Bienvenue! This week, at the University of Nottingham, we certainly received, as the French would say, an ‘acceuil royal’, during our work experience here in the Faculty of Arts. Thanks to the organisation of Tara Webster-Deakin, we’ve had a brilliantly varied week, all whilst getting an insight into the intricacies of the University of Nottingham machine.

Firstly, as one might expect with ‘work’ experience we got to try our hand at some actual work. Tasks including filling out spreadsheets, which was surprisingly satisfying, subtitling, and working with the prospectus, which gave us a newfound respect for the work that goes on behind the scenes in a University. Through this work, we explored the many possibilities available for students here, learning about the unexpected variety of pathways accessible through courses and societies.

Surprisingly enough, we weren’t the youngest people at the University this week. In fact, we had the opportunity to help out with a number of Primary events, where we got to see the way the University played a crucial role in encouraging the pursuit of further education in young people. By encouraging language development from a young age, these children will certainly be able to say ‘hola’ to a wide range of opportunities in later life.

Our experience here, however, was not limited to work. In exploring the campus, talking to students and even attending lectures, we certainly got a bonne impression of life at University, here and beyond. Charlie, a quality lad from Northern Ireland (we don’t know his last name) spoke to us about the possibilities of studying languages, including the options of joint honours degrees and studying abroad, as well as unveiling to us the truths of student life. This included getting to go to a lecture on Russian art and learning where to buy the cheapest spaghetti (Tesco, 20p).

As French enthusiasts, the opportunity to attend lectures on ‘Entre les Murs’ and French Grammar gave us insight into how French is taught in Higher Education. The lecturer, Jeremy Lane, explored the French education system, providing us with a more well-rounded knowledge of social issues and ideologies in France. We even learnt some Verlan, and are now quite the French gangsters. Tom Godard’s French language lecture taught us about examination styles at degree level French, and tested us on some rather taxing grammar (which thankfully we won’t have to face for quite a few years!).

This week has been enlightening in many ways, but nothing more so than our quality chat with Dr. Paul Smith, Head of French and Francophone Studies section. Through picking his brains on the wider University applications process, we learnt about the reality of languages degrees at different universities, especially in taking a beginner language. Both of us had queries about possibly doing joint honours French with History, and given Dr. Smith’s background in History, he was the perfect person to ask. Access to the language labs in the Self Access Centre allowed us to use resources to help further our search into possible degree options.

We’d like to thank Helen Nicholls for letting us invade her office and for giving us a cracking song to translate. Alongside Jess Lewis, they’ve both been so lovely and welcoming, giving us a real flavour for working in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures, and in a University in general.

Thank you to Tara Webster-Deakin and Dr. Paul Smith for giving us this opportunity, we’d recommend it to anyone.

Nina Drury and Elodie Cavill – A Level students

Posted in CulturesFrench and Francophone StudiesGerman StudiesLanguage CentreLanguages and Area StudiesOutreachRussian and Slavonic StudiesSpanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies