Birmingham vs Newcastle! Which should I apply to?Watch
I was just wondering if you could help me out here with what is a very tough decision. I am applying to do a BA Modern Languages degree (with deferred entry starting in 2014) consisting of French, Spanish and Mandarin/Portugese from scratch at University. I have received all my offers but I'm having a bit of problem picking my insurance offer. I have received offers from Southampton, UEA, Leeds, Birmingham and Newcastle. I know for definite that I'm choosing Southampton as my firm choice but the insurance choice is up for grabs and it's mainly a competition between Birmingham and Newcastle unis.
*At this point would Birmingham/Newcastle students like to read a bit further please*
I like both Newcastle and Birmingham unis yet they both have their pros and cons. When I went to Birmingham to visit I was really surprised by how much I liked it. I loved the campus, accommodation and I'm a keen swimmer so I thought the sports facilities and swimming team were top all notch plus location-wise Birmingham uni isn't in the city centre (a plus for me as I don't rate the city centre personally) and I want to go to a university that is more in the south for me (I live in Manchester). I'd say the course at Newcastle and Birmingham is very similar yet Newcastle seem to be ahead of Birmingham in most league tables so does this mean their course is better? I liked Newcastle cos it was slap-bang in the centre of town (a much better city centre I may add), the halls were good (I had a look at my parents old halls at Castle Leazes and thought they were good), there's a really active modern languages society at Newcastle, the city is well-known for great night-life and as I mentioned earlier they figure slightly higher in league tables. On the other hand, I didn't like the swimming facilities or the location in general as it's way up north where it is colder than Birmingham! (even I can tell as a Manchester boy that it is colder up north) also part of my wanting to go to the south is that I don't want to become a northern-centric person which is a big con for me going to Newcastle, I'm not originally from Manchester and I pride myself on being different but if I stay in the North for longer I fear I may get a more northern sounding accent (not really my thing, don't mean to offend anyone).
So, where should I go? if you are a Birmingham/Newcastle student or former student then please give me your opinion on my issue. Try and persuade me one way or another any extra info about any of these unis would be a great help to me.
Go ahead, I'm leaning towards Birmingham slightly at the moment. I've got till next tuesday to choose so I need to decide soon. Pitch it to me
Ok - good points. Birmingham itself is a great uni - the campus is gorgeous and only a train ride away from the city centre (cheap and quick - trains are frequent). First year halls are nice, private accommodation is fine and everyone lives close to each other which is great. But I'm sure you know the general stuff already!
The languages department is small and really friendly. I think it's quite well structures - everyone does twenty credits of [each] language and then there's quite a lot of choice for the extra modules. There's a fair bit of emphasis on literature but there are cinema modules too, and I did a business German module last year. The gender studies department is housed in the Modern Languages bit, so you can take interesting modules on feminism as well. There's also a focus on translation all through the years in every language, so basically there's something for everyone. You don't have decide to 'focus' on anything at any point - up until fourth year, you can take modules in literature, translation, cinema, anything, even if you didn't study it in second or first year.
The Birmingham year abroad is unusual because you have to either study or be an English language teaching assistant - you can't 'work'. The reason for this is because they think they can't check thorouhly enough where you would be working, and it's not acceptable to be a waiter or work in a hotel or something, which some unis let you do. Whether or not you think this is a good thing is up to you!
Because one of my languages is from scratch, I was given the choice of spending the whole year in the new country or splitting it evenly. (I wasn't allowed to spend the whole year in my better language country obviously). This was good, and I think spending the whole year in Italy and then doing a summer language course in Germany has been a good decision.
Bad points - well, that year abroad thing, if it's important to you.
Recently, the department has changed - it used to be that each language had its own department but now it's all 'department of modern languages'. Not sure yet whether this is a good or bad thing. It means some cuts have been made - i.e. you can't do Italian as a single honours degree anymore, and I think they're cutting arabic too.
In general, Birmingham is in the black though - it's one of the richer universities I think because the VC is quite savvy about saving money.
League tables wise, well I'm not sure... Brum hasn't been in the top 20 in the last few years which I think is a shame. But it's a redbrick university with a good reputation so I don't think it would disadvantage you jobs-wise. Obviously I don't have any experience of Newcastle but I personally have felt that the education I've got has been good here.
Also, they are building an AMAZING new sports hall at Brum!! But it might not be finished in time for you - I think they're starting this summer. It's going to have a 50m pool!
Anyway, hope that helped - if you have any questions feel free to ask
Hello, sorry to bump such an old thread butttttttt... I'm currently in Year 12 and looking to study French at university starting 2016. I'm pretty much decided on Oxford, St Andrews, Warwick and Exeter but can't decide my final one- either Southampton, Birmingham or Newcastle! Which one did you go to in the end and how are you finding it?
I am nearly at the end of my first year here studying BA Modern Languages (French, Spanish, Portuguese) and I am glad I made the choice. Southampton has a high quality language department and all the teachers are super friendly and helpful when you need them to be. My big tip would be just to put in the same effort you put into your A-Levels and you will get a lot out of the experience. In First year, I've found it hard to focus cos there's so many exciting things to get involved with whether it's going out (cheap nights out guaranteed every day of the week), clubs and societies but as long as you can manage your time effectively then you'll love being at Southampton. Great student city for the south of England which can be pretty expensive for students as a whole.
Anyway, academically it's a great place to be at university however I'd say from what I've seen from my friends, Newcastle would be the place to go in terms of student life as a whole but Southampton's language department is streets ahead
I've applied for Ancient History if that makes a difference.