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"How to choose my language degree" Official Thread

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Applying to Uni? Let Universities come to you. Click here to get your perfect place 20-10-2014
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    (Original post by Anatheme)
    Yeah, I want to, but only a mod can
    Ask them! River85 is a nice person I think

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    If you look at my signature, you can see I have 3 offers to study French + Philosophy at Birmingham, Cardiff and Exeter. However I have recently started to think I would rather study French and Russian. I love the language, have begun to teach myself the alphabet and a few words, and TBH philosophy I find difficult enough at this stage (despite my A in RS) so I'm not sure I will be able to continue to do well at it at uni, or enjoy it.
    If I get an offer at Durham this will work out, as I can study lots of subjects under Combined Arts. However I really want to know if I could change my degree at Birmingham or Exeter (Cardiff doesn't do Russian) before I started, or if they wouldn't allow it? Russian is hardly an oversubscribed subject, but I didn't mention it on my personal statement or anything!
    Please help! Anyone got any experience of this, at any but preferably the unis I said! Thanks!
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    (Original post by SpamBa)
    Ask them! River85 is a nice person I think

    ---------------------------

    If you look at my signature, you can see I have 3 offers to study French + Philosophy at Birmingham, Cardiff and Exeter. However I have recently started to think I would rather study French and Russian. I love the language, have begun to teach myself the alphabet and a few words, and TBH philosophy I find difficult enough at this stage (despite my A in RS) so I'm not sure I will be able to continue to do well at it at uni, or enjoy it.
    If I get an offer at Durham this will work out, as I can study lots of subjects under Combined Arts. However I really want to know if I could change my degree at Birmingham or Exeter (Cardiff doesn't do Russian) before I started, or if they wouldn't allow it? Russian is hardly an oversubscribed subject, but I didn't mention it on my personal statement or anything!
    Please help! Anyone got any experience of this, at any but preferably the unis I said! Thanks!
    Yeah I got it requested by another mod
    So you probably know that Russian is difficult and all that shizz, so I won't insist on it. Russian is indeed hardly oversubscribed, and entrance requirements for the course are very low since unis are look for students to study it. If you already have offers from your unis, don't hesitate to call/email them to ask if it's possible to change your course, they probably won't refuse. They will ask you for proof that you have an ability for languages, but if you're doing French, it should be fine. Maybe they'll ask you to write another PS if necessary, but I doubt it, if you are convincing enough over the phone it shouldn't be a problem at all :nah:.
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    (Original post by Anatheme)
    Yeah I got it requested by another mod
    So you probably know that Russian is difficult and all that shizz, so I won't insist on it. Russian is indeed hardly oversubscribed, and entrance requirements for the course are very low since unis are look for students to study it. If you already have offers from your unis, don't hesitate to call/email them to ask if it's possible to change your course, they probably won't refuse. They will ask you for proof that you have an ability for languages, but if you're doing French, it should be fine. Maybe they'll ask you to write another PS if necessary, but I doubt it, if you are convincing enough over the phone it shouldn't be a problem at all :nah:.
    Thankyou! This is the third forum I've had to post in to get a helpful response!

    P.S. I like your sig. I am a fellow grammar nazi. check out the facebook group 'i judge you when you use poor grammar' - immense.
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    (Original post by Anatheme)
    Yeah I got it requested by another mod
    So you probably know that Russian is difficult and all that shizz, so I won't insist on it. Russian is indeed hardly oversubscribed, and entrance requirements for the course are very low since unis are look for students to study it. If you already have offers from your unis, don't hesitate to call/email them to ask if it's possible to change your course, they probably won't refuse. They will ask you for proof that you have an ability for languages, but if you're doing French, it should be fine. Maybe they'll ask you to write another PS if necessary, but I doubt it, if you are convincing enough over the phone it shouldn't be a problem at all :nah:.
    What is especially difficult about Russian (apart from the alaphabet, duh!)? I hear people talking about strange things like genetive cases and I have no idea what this means. I have never studied German, which I understand has a similar structure, so these words make no sense, I only did French and Spanish AS!
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    (Original post by SpamBa)
    What is especially difficult about Russian (apart from the alaphabet, duh!)? I hear people talking about strange things like genetive cases and I have no idea what this means. I have never studied German, which I understand has a similar structure, so these words make no sense, I only did French and Spanish AS!
    The alphabet is easy don't worry, but cases are indeed a piece of work, and not the nicest… The case of a certain word governs is determined by the role it plays in a sentence, and the cases have different declensions, both adjectival and noun declensions. It's quite difficult to understand and a bit of a pain in the a**, tbh, but all you can do is stick to them and learn them correctly because you can speak Russian without them.
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    Oooh if anyone does a French and German one it'd be really helpful! this thread is amazing!
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    Don't kill me about grammar corrections; I know you said you wanted to learn but if it's a case of me being overly pedantic, sorry!
    (Original post by Anatheme)
    Arabic at the University of Manchester

    I - The city


    Manchester is a quite a big city (depending where you come from of course), and it's really easy to find anything you need, from rare books to Halloween suits. Life in Manchester is pretty cheap, the city being full or students, supermarkets, restaurants and shops in general give lots of vouchers and there are lots of bargains for students, making everything cheaper. The campus is not far from the city and you can get a bus from Oxford Road literally every 30sec.

    Manchester has great shopping centers like TheTrafford Center or Arndale, and you can also find lots of little cool shops by randomly walking in the city. The publictransport-(no 's') is quite effective, the number of buses is quite amazing, and you can also get a train, a taxi or a tram(just tram to go anywhere. The city hosted the Commonwealth Games, so the sports facilities are new and excellent, if you like sport, you'll definitely love Manchester.

    The nightlife is amazing, due to the high number of students (from UoM and MMU) in the city. There are plenty of nightclubs, and you can find the one you prefer quite easily. There are often lots of parties, and it becomes almost difficult to choose one! There are plenty of bars and restaurants, all pretty cheap and really cool.

    II - The University


    The University of Manchester was created in 2004, after the fusion of the UMIST and the Victoria University of Manchester. It's the biggest university of the UK, with 36, 000 students (undergrads and postgrads) and it's also the one receveing the biggest number of applications per year. Modern and old buildings are spread all over the campus, offering a great architectural diversity.

    The John Rylands University Library is one of the biggest university libraries in the UK, and is split in two: there is one on campus, and another one in Deansgate, that will certainly remind you of Harry Potter. You can find books on almost every subject that may interest you, and it's definitely a great place to study or even relax (if you're a geek like me).

    Outside of your course, the university offers a wide range of activities, sports and societies to join. Sportno 's's is quite important in Manchester, and you can play in a hockey, football, netball team or go to Wales with the hino 'c'king club, or even gono 't' to France to ski during winter! Every society has something new to offer and there will surely be one you'll want to join.

    I woud re-word this, doesn't quite make sense... I'd say 'Accommodation is based on three campusesAbout accommodationno's', they are based on three campuses (Fallowfield, Victoria Park and City Centre), and you can get anything from a single catered room to an en-suite self-catered one, or even a flat for your family. Choosing your accommodation may vary according to the location, the price and what you want of course, but there is a wide range and be sure you'll find what you want!

    III - The department


    The School of Languages, Linguistics and Cultures is probably the one offering the widest range of languages and combinations in the UK. Indeed, you can study almost any language from Aramaic to Japanese, and you can combine a language with another language like French and Turkish, or with another subject, like Chinese and Business Studies.

    Located in what I think is the nicest building on campus, the department has its own library, and has many links with other universities, such as St Benedict School (St Petersburg) or even the Italian Ministry of Education. Many teachers and member of the school also represent the university on national/international bodies, like Jocelyn Wyburd, chair of SCHML (the Standing Conference of Heads of Modern Languages in Universities).

    The University has the Arab Society, which is a society open to any Arab and Arabic student. They organise a lot of social events, like parties, dinners, film projections and a lot more, but they also have numerous links with Arab countries, and can help you finding a job or a placement in Oman or Lebanon if you need it. They're all very friendly and it's definitely a great experience!

    IV - The course

    • Students

    Surprisingly enough for an ab-initio course, the majority of the students are Muslim, which may be daunting since most of them can already read and pronounce words, however, they will also be willing to help you if you have problems, and you will improve faster and better than you'd think. Depending on the modules, the number of pupils in a class will vary, but the course at Manchester being quite good, there are circa 50 students, split in three groups for the language classes.

    • Teachers

    Most teachers are Arabs or from Arab origins, so you will learn the language and the civilisation with native-speakers and people that lived in these countries, offering a more objective point of view on the language and the situation of these countries. Some of them are PhD students, other taught to universities such as La Sorbonne or Columbia, but they're all very friendly and helpful, very approchable and in general lovely.

    • Organisation

    You have 7 contact hours per week, 3h of language practice class, and 4h of grammar and linguistic. You will have 3 different teachers, which is good because you won't get used to a particular accent (my teachers are from Palestine and Egypt), and you can learn even more about the country.

    The School makes a lot of efforts to offer students to study exactly what they want, and if you have any problem with your timetable, module choice or even your course in general, they are really helpful and efficient. You can easily change your course as long as you have the level/grades required, or any good reason (a friend of mine changed from German and Arabic to Arabic and Persian + Russian evening lessons).

    You will also have one (or more if you have another subject) personal tutor that is here to help you with your studies, and with whom you can talk about the progress you made, what are your weaknesses and your strengths, or any problem you could have outside of your course.

    • The year abroad

    For the moment, only one destination is available: Alexandria, Egypt. However, the teachers said it would probably change during the next couple of year, so you can probably expect to be able to go somewhere else! The year abroad takes place during the 3rd year, which offers you the chance to improve your Arabic as much as you can before going there (and you will need it!). It's also a good thing because you're gonna study MSA for two years, and won't get confusedby dialects when you go back to university. You will study Arabic at school, so you can improve your Arabic by learning it and speaking it with the Egyptians.

    • Drawbacks

    Well, as said before, the number of Muslims int he course may be a bit scary. They know Arabic better than you do at the beginning, they can read and pronounce pretty easily, they understand when the teachers speak in Arabic, well, it's a bit frustrating. But it disappears quite quickly, especially when you start grammar, because no one has a clue about what's going on with grammar. If you've already studied (and I'm sure you have) other languages before, there are sometimes similarities and stuff you can find in other language grammars, so finally, you're as good as them.

    Then, having three teachers is sometimes confusing, because they don't really know what other teachers are doing, so you may learn the same thing twice (which is actually quite good because you learn it even better), but it may be annoying at the beginning. Though, eventually, everything you learn fit with the rest of your knowledge and it's not even a problem anymore.

    V - What you can have in Manchester that other unis don't offer?

    First of all, you have to know that Manchester is (I think) the university with the largest international population, and that includes a lot of students from Arab countries that would like to improve their English and are willing to help you improving your Arabic.

    Manchester has the well-known "Curry Mile", on Wilmslow Road, and there are plenty of Indian, Arab and other Asian restaurant, but also lots of shops, so that you can get some proper Arab food, or even Arab literature, films, music, even clothes! And when you walk down the street, you can of course practise your reading skills by deciphering what's written on the shops and restaurants windows.

    The School also offer the L-PAL programme: Language Partnerships for All. The Language Center host a lot of English courses and lots of Arab students are looking for a partner to improve their English and to help you improving your Arabic. You will have a little brochure with several topics of discussion and the difficulty will increase progressively.

    Finally, the University also organises "PASS courses": basically, students from 2nd and 4th year will help you improving your Arabic by working with you on your weaknesses, so that you don't get lost during a lesson and you can even reach top notch grades!
    Your English is really fantastic, and I wish I was studying something other than bog standard French and German now! Aston only does French German and Spanish; should have gone to Manchester (not that I'm slightly obsessed with Manchester you understand!)
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    Could anyone do a German one please? Or a Chinese(Mandarin)? I'm torn between the two at the moment and this thread is veeeery useful.
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    (Original post by Deutsch_Beth)
    Could anyone do a German one please? Or a Chinese(Mandarin)? I'm torn between the two at the moment and this thread is veeeery useful.
    Why not taking both?
    Idon't study these two languages, but from what I know about them, here is my contribution:

    German: Is spoken in Europe only, is close to English so will be easier to learn. Germany has a an important culture, history (Enlightenment, world wars), and amazing literature, especially in Philosophy, I'd say (Nietzsche, Freud, Kant, etc).

    Chinese: Spoken almost only in China, is very useful for business nowadays. The culture is also really impressive with a much more extensive history than Europe. The language is obviously tougher than German, and will require a lot of commitment and passion to study it. You will probably not have a perfect level and will definitely have to spend some time there to learn the language better, whereas you'll probably be bilingual by the end of your German degree.

    If you consider single honours, then why not considering joint honours? You could do both languages and wouldn't have to make a choice. It would improve your employability and you would study the two subjects you like. Of course you'll have more work and it will require a looot of motivation, but I think it's worth the hassle :yep:. I hope it helped, otherwise, just ask in the forum, there are people doing German, doing Chinese or applying for both and I'm sure they'll be able to help you
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    That did help thanks.
    I'm not sure about a joint degree. I'm motivated enough but if I just do german I won't have much to offer as an interpreter, if i do both I may not be good enough to translate for either and just chinese I would have to do a long course to master it, I've been told.
    Hmmmm thanks though.
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    (Original post by Deutsch_Beth)
    That did help thanks.
    I'm not sure about a joint degree. I'm motivated enough but if I just do german I won't have much to offer as an interpreter, if i do both I may not be good enough to translate for either and just chinese I would have to do a long course to master it, I've been told.
    Hmmmm thanks though.
    The thing is basically, when you're an interpreter, you need three languages, and in your case, I'd say your combination would be:

    A - English (mother tongue)
    B - German (second language, excellent level)
    C - Chinese (third language, level a tiny bit less better)

    And you have to be able to to A-B/B-A translations perfectly, but generally, you'll only be ask to do C-A or maybe C-B translations, however, you won't have A-C or B-C translations. So it's better to have a perfect level at Chinese, but it you feel like you can't handle joint honours in Chinese, then don't go for it :nah:. Btw, when you do joint honours, you lose more on the civilisation side than language side, you have exactly the same language lessons as someone doing single honours (I think?)
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    Ahhhhhhh well that would be doable. And I think you're right about the joint degree thing. I'll check on that. Thanks!
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    Removed the Japanese stuff until this matter with the moderators over my sig gets resolved. I am unwilling to post information on this website that would garner more interest under these circumstances. I hope for all concerned it is resolved quickly.

    I apologise for this, but I am left with no option as I am refusing to back down in this matter.
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    (Original post by SpamBa)
    Thankyou! This is the third forum I've had to post in to get a helpful response!

    P.S. I like your sig. I am a fellow grammar nazi. check out the facebook group 'i judge you when you use poor grammar' - immense.
    Woaaaah, what's this about a Facebook group dedicated to grammar? :eek3: :woo:
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    (Original post by Leggy Lucy)
    Woaaaah, what's this about a Facebook group dedicated to grammar? :eek3: :woo:
    Haha totally. You can even buy T-Shirts (complete with pic of Dubya). My life is complete.
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    (Original post by SpamBa)
    Haha totally. You can even buy T-Shirts (complete with pic of Dubya). My life is complete.
    Oh my god. I think I am in love!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Link me up to it. I also see you're a fellow West Midlander! Which bit are you from?
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    (Original post by Leggy Lucy)
    Oh my god. I think I am in love!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Link me up to it. I also see you're a fellow West Midlander! Which bit are you from?
    wwwDOTfacebookDOTcom/home.php#/group.php?gid=2209553478&ref=ts


    I'm from worcester btw! big it up for the woo! I'm off to uni in brum hopefully, you?
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    (Original post by SpamBa)
    wwwDOTfacebookDOTcom/home.php#/group.php?gid=2209553478&ref=ts


    I'm from worcester btw! big it up for the woo! I'm off to uni in brum hopefully, you?
    Ooooh, Worcester's niiiiiiiice. I'm from Dudlaaaaaaaaaay, hahahaha. Minus the accent, so all's good . Possibly off to Brum, depends on Bristol's decision . I shall join that group now btw!
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    I've applied for a Russian and English joint, with Leeds as a firm, Edinburgh insurance. I only just realised that Leeds' year abroad is the second, rather than third, year and I've been trying to find out how you find somewhere to live when you get back. Do people generally move in with folks from the year abroad, or takes ads out, or what?

    EDIT: What up, West Midlands?
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    (Original post by Dinkydaisy)
    I've applied for a Russian and English joint, with Leeds as a firm, Edinburgh insurance. I only just realised that Leeds' year abroad is the second, rather than third, year and I've been trying to find out how you find somewhere to live when you get back. Do people generally move in with folks from the year abroad, or takes ads out, or what?

    EDIT: What up, West Midlands?
    Generally, people just apply for uni halls because it's the easiest way to get a room when you're abroad, but if you're lucky enough to have friends doing 4 years degrees (Chemist/Mathmos), and that you get on well with them, maybe they could keep you a room in their houses/flats.

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