Why I decided to study languages at university

Posted in: Choosing a course, Overseas opportunities - study or exchange

When applying to university, you often get bombarded with questions: “Are you nervous?”, “Can you cook for yourself?” or “Have you got your outfits for Freshers' Week?”. Another very common one is “Why did you choose to study your course?” In this blog, I’m going to share with you a few reasons why I decided to study Modern Languages (French and Spanish) and European Studies at Bath.

"The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.”- Ludwig Wittgenstein

Whilst some peoples' skills lie in solving quadratic equations or conducting experiments, my strengths lie in learning foreign languages so it made sense to study something that I loved at university. I get a thrill out of being able to put my vocabulary and grammar into practice. It is a myth that everyone in the world speaks English. Whilst on my Year Abroad I was often in a situation where, without my knowledge of French or Spanish, I wouldn’t have been able to communicate with people.

Being able to speak foreign languages opens up the world and you don't have to rely on everyone speaking English. For me, there isn’t another feeling like being able to converse with someone in their native language, I love it!

The Year Abroad

The Year Abroad is a big reason why I chose to study languages and it is the pinnacle of a languages degree. This is the year where you get to fully immerse yourself in the languages and cultures of different countries to improve your language skills. As I study both French and Spanish, I split my year between France and Chile.

I picked Bath because of the range of destinations it offers for the Year Abroad. I really wanted to go to South America for the Spanish part of my Year Abroad and Bath offered me the option of studying in Santiago, Chile. Stay tuned for more blog posts on preparing for a Year Abroad!

Rachel standing standing under a green and white sign at the Chilean border which says Republica de Chile. There is also a logo on the sign.
Me standing at the Chilean border!

Languages at Bath

I chose to study languages at Bath because unlike other universities, a lot of the lectures are taught in the target language. Whilst at first, it was challenging to not only understand the language but also the content, my language and listening skills have improved. It’s a great way to tune your ear into the language and pick up phrases and vocabulary from the lecturers.

Also, modern language courses at Bath have a very contemporary focus. I knew I preferred to learn about current political events, rather than analysing mediaeval poetry. Bath specialises in modern topics and lecturers often talk about current affairs in their lectures.

Improve your skillset

By studying languages, it’s not just your foreign language skills that improve, I have found that I have increased in confidence too. If I can handle a situation in a foreign language, I have the confidence to solve a problem in English! I found that after dealing with so many different situations during my Year Abroad, everything seems that bit easier in England.

I also feel that knowing other languages helps improve your interpersonal and intercultural skills. When conversing with people in a foreign language, you become more aware of the cultural differences and similarities. For example, in the French workplace, people talk in a more direct way than in England. Picking up on such nuances helps you widen your view of the world and learn about new cultures, something you may miss out on if you don’t speak a foreign language.

Pretty outside terrace in a French square, filled with parasols and fairy lights and lots of people eating and drinking at restuarant tables.
Food and drink is a big part of French culture

“A different language is a different vision of life.”- Federico Fellini

By speaking a foreign language, you are able to communicate with lots more people around the world. Any undergraduate at Bath can pick up a new language by making full use of the Foreign Language Centre at the University.

The FLC offers courses for all levels in a variety of languages. It provides the ideal opportunity to learn modern languages alongside your main studies and can offer a welcome change for your brain to focus on something other than your degree. So follow this link and sign up, you won’t regret it!

Posted in: Choosing a course, Overseas opportunities - study or exchange

Here are the Modern Languages degree courses at Bath


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