April 18, 2016, by Emily Howard
My UoN highlights: #1 Learning a Language
As third year draws to a reluctant (and panicky) end, more and more I find my nostalgic finalist self wistfully reminiscing upon the highlights of my years at UoN. One of the most fun and most important experiences of my studenthood has been learning Dutch.
We English are famed for only speaking, well… English. And not even as well as most Scandinavian kids. You may think, ‘What’s the point in learning a language when the rest of the world speaks English?’ Think again. Here are some top reasons for learning a language at uni:
- It’s (perhaps) completely different from your degree. A break from your main study is relieving and enriching, and interactive lessons are more fun than monotonous lectures
- If you’ve got a language brain, it’s an easy way to spend those subsidiary credits and get good grades…
- It looks impressive on the CV and you can show off at interviews
- It’s super useful if you’re a travel buff
- You can make new friends from around the world
- It expands your horizons. Suddenly a job in southern France, Mexico or Sweden is actually a possibility!
- As they always say, never waste an opportunity. Why not?!
- You can watch foreign films without subtitles. It’s cool.
- Demonstrate your support for staying in the EU… too tenuous?
Despite doing a BA in History, I managed to bag myself 3 semesters of Dutch lessons, which was awesome when I studied abroad in Amsterdam and could actually talk to the locals. It’s even driven me to do an MA in the Netherlands too, which not only is cheaper but is a fun cultural experience and opens up a whole new potential job market. (Plus I get to call myself – maybe hastily – the sophisticated word ‘polyglot’.)
The Language Centre offers subsidiary modules in French, Spanish, Italian, German, Dutch, Swedish, Polish, Russian, Mandarin, Arabic, Japanese and even Modern Greek. They range from complete beginner to advanced. So if you loved GCSE Spanish but couldn’t take it at A Levels because you needed science for your degree, it’s the perfect opportunity to pick it up again.
If you’re not lucky enough to get to tailor your degree with subsidiary modules, the Language Centre also offers evening classes.
Once you’ve learnt a few words, why not join a language society or pop along to the laidback language cafe in town to practise in a chilled environment and meet new people?