After learning Japanese and French with the Skills Centre, final year MChem student Hannah Glover decided to carry on with German to liven up her degree even further. Find out how Hannah manages it all.

As I progress through my fourth and final year at the university, the talk amongst my friends has turned determinedly to projects, job interviews, and PhD applications. But, as someone who’s always enjoyed language learning alongside my degree, I decided to add one more thing to my to-do list this year – dredging up my A-level German from the depths of my frontal cortex.

How did it all start?

I studied German and French at A-Level, then developed a semi-healthy fixation with Duolingo Japanese during lockdown. This led me to sign up for a Japanese class in my first year.

In my third year, I picked up French again by participating in the Upper Intermediate class and a Virtual Language Exchange.

The combination of chemistry and foreign languages is more complementary than you might think. Not only is it nice to use your brain in different ways, but the reasoning skills and memorisation techniques I've developed while learning different languages are invaluable.

Deciding to learn languages with the Skills Centre was one of the best decisions I’ve made during my studies.

Keeping up with languages

German has been a language close to my heart for over a decade, and I’m enjoying the nostalgia of delving back into the land of my favourite composers, Bach and Beethoven.

The Advanced German class is perfect for students with proficiency at around B1/B2 level. The small class size means that we have ample opportunity to contribute during class and obtain detailed feedback for each assignment we complete.

I wouldn’t have been able to make such progress with my language learning without the Skill Centre’s support.

Language proficiency qualifications

Aiming for an internationally recognised certificate is a worthwhile goal.

The Skills Centre has recently launched new schemes to prepare students for the Goethe-Zertifikat (German) and the DELF examination (French). Both are based on the levels defined by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and are recognised worldwide.

This year, some of my classmates and I will be trialling the scheme by taking the German B1 exam, so watch this space!

The Language Café

While the newly launched exams are exciting, language learning at Bath is much more than just qualifications. The Skills Centre, together with the Students’ Union, organise Language Cafés throughout the year, where students and staff can practise languages without the time commitment of weekly lessons. Plus, crucially, attendees can enjoy free tea, coffee, and biscuits.

At one of the most recent cafés, I was asked to facilitate the French table. Our theme was ‘getting to know one another’, and my group at the Beginner Table made their introductions, discussed how their studies were going, and how they spend their free time.

My experience as a Peer Assisted Learning Leader for my Chemistry course has taught me that it’s never a bad idea to incorporate something a bit ‘out there’ into learning sessions. Hence, the unsuspecting beginner French learners at my table were treated to the surprising joy of Hook-a-Duck. Each number written on the rubber ducks corresponded to a subtopic for us to discuss, but the relaxed atmosphere also allowed us plenty of freedom for the conversation to wander.

The session was lovely from start to finish, and I really enjoyed the easy conversation and sharing of tips and recommendations.

Looking ahead

I can hardly believe my time remaining at university is now measured only in months.

Despite my initial concerns that choosing a STEM degree would impact my ability to continue studying languages, the support I received from the Skills Centre has meant that I’m finishing my degree with good prospects for interviewing with global companies, and a lovely group of international friends that I’m looking forward to visiting in the summer.

Now, what language should I learn next ...

Posted in: employability, foreign languages, intercultural competence, student experience, Uncategorized

Learn a language with the Skills Centre


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