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    I'm after personal experiences really. Please don't just come on and say 'Durham' or 'St. Andrews' without explaining why :o:
    These universities seem to be so similar and I'm really struggling to choose between them.

    Differences:
    Durham is collegiate
    St. Andrews is 5 years for my course
    St. Andrews' fees are cheaper
    St. Andrews' course seems more progressive and step by step

    Other things:
    I've heard bad things about St. Andrews' library. :o:
    St. Andrews will be colder :p:

    I've visited both and liked both..

    I can hypothetically have St. Andrews as my firm and Durham as my insurance (AAB including AA in french and spanish and AAB, including at least BB in French and spanish, i do 4 subjects)

    Outside of my degree I'm interested in choirs, musical theatre and laid back concert bands :p:

    PLEASE HELP!
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    anybody? :o:
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    (Original post by annab1684)
    I've heard bad things about St. Andrews' library. :o:
    St. Andrews will be colder :p:
    Don't base your choice on the weather - that's plain ridiculous. The only difference is that St Andrews is by the sea so it can get quite windy. But on the plus side it's by the sea which makes it a great location. I have never heard anything particularly negative about St Andrews for languages or their library. Both are by no means the best in Scotland, but they're respectable enough. The system of outside subjects at St Andrews means you'll leave yourself more flexibility within your degree - as I'm a great believer in flexibility and like the Scottish system I'd recommend that.
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    (Original post by nearlyheadlessian)
    Don't base your choice on the weather - that's plain ridiculous. The only difference is that St Andrews is by the sea so it can get quite windy. But on the plus side it's by the sea which makes it a great location. I have never heard anything particularly negative about St Andrews for languages or their library. Both are by no means the best in Scotland, but they're respectable enough. The system of outside subjects at St Andrews means you'll leave yourself more flexibility within your degree - as I'm a great believer in flexibility and like the Scottish system I'd recommend that.
    I was only joking about the weather thing. :cool:
    Hmm, St. Andrews is in the top 5 for languages whereas Edinburgh is top 20, but thanks anyway.
    Yeah, I'm leaning towards their flexible system. It's so hard to choose!
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    (Original post by annab1684)
    Hmm, St. Andrews is in the top 5 for languages whereas Edinburgh is top 20, but thanks anyway.
    By which ranking system? Bear in mind that any ranking system that takes into account RAE assessments has little bearing on your experience of undergraduate teaching. Likewise, it's common knowledge that the student satisfaction figures from St Andrews are a fix. Don't give credit to the rankings systems because they mean almost nothing* - choose the place that you think will offer you the style of teaching that best suits you and is the place you want to live.

    *Although I hasten to add that if we're going to sling rankings about then Edinburgh is the 20th best university in the world according to the Times
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    (Original post by nearlyheadlessian)
    By which ranking system? Bear in mind that any ranking system that takes into account RAE assessments has little bearing on your experience of undergraduate teaching. Likewise, it's common knowledge that the student satisfaction figures from St Andrews are a fix. Don't give credit to the rankings systems because they mean almost nothing* - choose the place that you think will offer you the style of teaching that best suits you and is the place you want to live.

    *Although I hasten to add that if we're going to sling rankings about then Edinburgh is the 20th best university in the world according to the Times
    All of the ones I've looked at.. I can't remember which ones exactly :p:
    How is it common knowledge that they are a fix? How do they fix them exactly?
    Yeaah, Edinburgh has been struggling with its languages budget though and it was really unwelcoming on the open day, so I decided not to apply there.
    Do you have any insights on Durham while we're at it?
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    (Original post by annab1684)
    All of the ones I've looked at.. I can't remember which ones exactly :p:
    How is it common knowledge that they are a fix? How do they fix them exactly?
    Yeaah, Edinburgh has been struggling with its languages budget though and it was really unwelcoming on the open day, so I decided not to apply there.
    Do you have any insights on Durham while we're at it?
    Well St Andrews has always had very high student satisfaction ratings, which is in itself a little odd, but a few years ago an email from the SA student union president to final year students was leaked, in which he asked them to all mark SA as highly as possible in terms of satisfaction because the university had made it clear that they would not take any notice of low marks in this particular area and consequently the point was made that it would boost SA's position up the league.

    With regard to Edinburgh's language budget, you've been had by the media unfortunately. They plastered reports everywhere when it was suggested there might be cuts. When the issue was resolved internally with almost no alterations to budget (seriously, given the current climate we were very lucky to do so well) and everything was "saved" nobody mentioned it. Equally it was all out of disproportion anyway - languages that are under threat are the little'uns, like Portuguese, Russian and Scandinavian Studies. Languages like French and Spanish will always be in place. Can't comment on open days though - awful long time since I went to one.

    I know people at Durham now who like it. I someone who did languages at Durham who has since graduated, who seems to be happy with their life. To be honest I don't know much about the quality of language teaching at Durham, but I tend to label the university as being slightly overhyped in its reputation. And from what I know there's a lifestyle in the place that I would really not like. So go to St Andrews.
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    (Original post by annab1684)
    I'm after personal experiences really. Please don't just come on and say 'Durham' or 'St. Andrews' without explaining why :o:
    These universities seem to be so similar and I'm really struggling to choose between them.

    Differences:
    Durham is collegiate
    St. Andrews is 5 years for my course
    St. Andrews' fees are cheaper
    St. Andrews' course seems more progressive and step by step

    Other things:
    I've heard bad things about St. Andrews' library. :o:
    St. Andrews will be colder :p:

    I've visited both and liked both..

    I can hypothetically have St. Andrews as my firm and Durham as my insurance (AAB including AA in french and spanish and AAB, including at least BB in French and spanish, i do 4 subjects)

    Outside of my degree I'm interested in choirs, musical theatre and laid back concert bands :p:

    PLEASE HELP!
    what languages do you want to study at st.andrews?
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    (Original post by nearlyheadlessian)
    Well St Andrews has always had very high student satisfaction ratings, which is in itself a little odd, but a few years ago an email from the SA student union president to final year students was leaked, in which he asked them to all mark SA as highly as possible in terms of satisfaction because the university had made it clear that they would not take any notice of low marks in this particular area and consequently the point was made that it would boost SA's position up the league.

    With regard to Edinburgh's language budget, you've been had by the media unfortunately. They plastered reports everywhere when it was suggested there might be cuts. When the issue was resolved internally with almost no alterations to budget (seriously, given the current climate we were very lucky to do so well) and everything was "saved" nobody mentioned it. Equally it was all out of disproportion anyway - languages that are under threat are the little'uns, like Portuguese, Russian and Scandinavian Studies. Languages like French and Spanish will always be in place. Can't comment on open days though - awful long time since I went to one.

    I know people at Durham now who like it. I someone who did languages at Durham who has since graduated, who seems to be happy with their life. To be honest I don't know much about the quality of language teaching at Durham, but I tend to label the university as being slightly overhyped in its reputation. And from what I know there's a lifestyle in the place that I would really not like. So go to St Andrews.
    Hmm, I did e-mail someone at Edinburgh to get a reply about it 'straight from the horses' mouth' so to speak and they were honest with me about the situation. They said class sizes would be on the up and they commented on how good it was that the staff and students were protesting about it but, I don't want to go somewhere where languages aren't valued.
    What do you mean by a 'lifestyle' you wouldn't like? I've been looking at the unis and they seem quite similar in that respect.
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    (Original post by Earthly)
    what languages do you want to study at st.andrews?
    French and Spanish
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    (Original post by annab1684)
    I don't want to go somewhere where languages aren't valued.
    It is at this point fair to point out that the only points where class sizes were going to increase was where it didn't matter anyway (ie in class that were already large enough that adding more people wouldn't be detrimental). You have to understand that Edinburgh does value languages and has done everything it can to keep everything going. Durham and St Andrews won't "value" languages any more, largely because there's no money to be made in languages. With regard to the Durham lifestyle, I just know it wouldn't suit me - I can't really elaborate. But there is quite a difference between a campus, a city and a smaller town. In your case I'd say that St Andrews is the nicer small town.
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    Ouch, what a tough decision to make! Well, the good news is they're both amazing unis so whichever you pick, you'll almost certainly be happy with your choice. That said, I'd pick Durham personally, for a variety of reasons:

    Firstly, St A's course is 5 years long, which bearing in mind student finance will only fund you for 4 years, could get complicated/expensive. Plus you could get your undergrad at Durham and a master's degree/one year's work experience in that time, which would be far more beneficial IMO.

    Durham's course seems more interesting and flexible, for example they'd let you take up another language if you wanted. Also, because you don't have to take up outside subjects you'd be able to focus on just learning languages and would presumably progress quicker.

    I prefer Durham location wise, because it's close to Newcastle (like 15 mins away by train), so you have the best of both worlds - a pretty, quiet town, but then a bustling city nearby. I'm also a fan of the collegiate system. Whereas St A's seems (this may be my geographical ignorance) in the middle of nowhere, without much going on socially.

    Both unis are well regarded academically and have good language departments, so I wouldn't let prestige or anything along those lines influence your decision too much as there's not much difference between them. Things like atmosphere, nightlife, accomodation, the course etc should make it easier for you to decide, and whichever you choose, I'm sure you'll be happy
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    (Original post by xmarilynx)
    Firstly, St A's course is 5 years long, which bearing in mind student finance will only fund you for 4 years, could get complicated/expensive. Plus you could get your undergrad at Durham and a master's degree/one year's work experience in that time, which would be far more beneficial IMO.

    Durham's course seems more interesting and flexible, for example they'd let you take up another language if you wanted. Also, because you don't have to take up outside subjects you'd be able to focus on just learning languages and would presumably progress quicker.
    I think it's important to point out that student finance is calculated by the following formula [Length of course] + [1 year] - [Number of years of study completed]. So there would be full funding for the 5 years available.

    I can't comment on the individual content of courses at either St Andrews or Durham (although in my experience almost all pre honours courses in languages, everywhere, are dull). But I should dispel the idea that not studying outside subjects accelerates your abilities - complete tosh I'm afraid. Equally, by studying something else as an outside subject you're providing cover for yourself in the event that you decide languages aren't for you.
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    (Original post by nearlyheadlessian)
    I think it's important to point out that student finance is calculated by the following formula [Length of course] + [1 year] - [Number of years of study completed]. So there would be full funding for the 5 years available.

    I can't comment on the individual content of courses at either St Andrews or Durham (although in my experience almost all pre honours courses in languages, everywhere, are dull). But I should dispel the idea that not studying outside subjects accelerates your abilities - complete tosh I'm afraid. Equally, by studying something else as an outside subject you're providing cover for yourself in the event that you decide languages aren't for you.
    Ah right, I didn't know that, so thanks for pointing it out.

    I disagree that my other point was 'complete tosh' however - I know personally I'd be able to learn something faster if I was able to concentrate on studying that alone. I do appreciate that it has its advantages, though.
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    I think Durham can be quite flexible in terms of what modules you take as well, and I certainly know it has an excellent reputation for French (I did lots of research on this as I almost applied for French!) You should also probably look at what sort of things people do on their year abroad.
    In terms of extra-curricular, Durham has to win on this one. With the college system, you can take part in your college choir and drama society and whatever else, as well as the university one if you're really good. On top of that, you'll probably get two years in college halls, which is cheaper than renting privately.
    But, as someone mentioned earlier, both are great universities, highly regarded by employers (or so we are told!) for non-subject-specific jobs as well as subject-specific ones.
    (You can probably tell I'm going for Durham here!)
    Have fun choosing, you're in a great position to be able to choose between them xxx
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    (Original post by xmarilynx)
    I disagree that my other point was 'complete tosh' however - I know personally I'd be able to learn something faster if I was able to concentrate on studying that alone. I do appreciate that it has its advantages, though.
    I think the point with multiple areas of study is that you develop more in terms of cross-disciplines, you develop in areas of study you would not have come across otherwise. On a personal level, I would get bored if I studied nothing but one subject. On an academic level, multiple subjects rub along nicely together. The degree doesn't finish any quicker if you learn "faster". By and large I make my assertion though, by the fact that I know people studying languages in Scotland and in England. They're at the same level, but those in Scotland are also well versed in something else, which gives them the edge.
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    (Original post by xmarilynx)
    Whereas St A's seems (this may be my geographical ignorance) in the middle of nowhere, without much going on socially.

    )
    This, is really quite untrue! Fair enough St Andrews seems a bit sheltered due to its location (but there is three beaches!) but its very similar to Durham, in terms of a city nearby (Dundee) and slightly further is Edinburgh. Anyhow, St Andrews has loads going on socially...I suppose a lot comes down to what you like to do most.

    OP, I know a few people doing French and Spanish at St Andrews who are loving it, and really enjoying the extra module to broaden things out. I know basically nothing about languages there, but in terms of the Uni's, I do highly recommend St Andrews - very pretty, reputable, fun, cosy bubble uni
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    (Original post by nearlyheadlessian)
    I think the point with multiple areas of study is that you develop more in terms of cross-disciplines, you develop in areas of study you would not have come across otherwise. On a personal level, I would get bored if I studied nothing but one subject. On an academic level, multiple subjects rub along nicely together. The degree doesn't finish any quicker if you learn "faster". By and large I make my assertion though, by the fact that I know people studying languages in Scotland and in England. They're at the same level, but those in Scotland are also well versed in something else, which gives them the edge.
    Well if Scottish and English students are at the same level, surely the English ones must progress faster if they get to the same level in one less year? And I'm not convinced it would give them as much of an edge as other productive uses of a year would, such as Postgraduate study or work. In a five year degree, considering most degrees are three years long, you'd be two years behind your peers.
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    (Original post by xmarilynx)
    Well if Scottish and English students are at the same level, surely the English ones must progress faster if they get to the same level in one less year? And I'm not convinced it would give them as much of an edge as other productive uses of a year would, such as Postgraduate study or work. In a five year degree, considering most degrees are three years long, you'd be two years behind your peers.
    I think you're confusing degree lengths there. Most language degrees in both England and Scotland last 4 years. Consequently my point is that 4 years spent in Scotland will give you the language skills you would have got in 4 years in England, but you'll also have studied other subjects as well. It certainly does give you an edge, particularly if you were apply to certain postgraduate courses. The fact that I have studied British History at university only counts in my favour if I apply to certain postgraduate courses available to me, because I've demonstrated additional capabilities. You mention being behind your peers, but what exactly do you mean by that? You'll find once you leave schools that your peers don't necessarily have to be the same age as you, and that it doesn't matter anyway. A lot of people I went to school with graduate this year but I don't feel that I'm "behind" and I don't think they would be conceited enough to suggest they were "ahead".
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    Durham.
 
 
 
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