BuddingAchiever
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MODERN LANGUAGES

There is no harm in applying to these unis, provided that I get good AS grades, however I obviously don't want to get my hopes up too high but would you say that institutions such as manchester, UCL, nottingham (I don't want to be too far... I'm based in North London)... provide a course that is equally as interesting and intellectually challenging as the Oxbridge unis? I've looked at courses, etc but it would be interesting to hear other people's opinions... after all, don't most people attain near-native fluency during their year abroad, regardless of what uni they go to?
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TheBigJosh
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(Original post by BuddingAchiever)
MODERN LANGUAGES

There is no harm in applying to these unis, provided that I get good AS grades, however I obviously don't want to get my hopes would you say that institutions such as manchester, UCL, nottingham (I don't want to be too far... I'm based in North London)... provide a course that is equally as interesting and intellectually challenging as the Oxbridge unis? I've looked at courses, etc but it would be interesting to hear other people's opinions... after all, don't most people attain near-native fluency during their year abroad, regardless of what uni they go to?
I'm at Leeds and found languages are taught well, with the best and most varied Year Abroad Programmes. I would steer clear of Nottingham, massively overrated and the course, according to my friends who do French and Spanish, is dire to the point they are changing university.
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BuddingAchiever
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(Original post by TheBigJosh)
I'm at Leeds and found languages are taught well, with the best and most varied Year Abroad Programmes. I would steer clear of Nottingham, massively overrated and the course, according to my friends who do French and Spanish, is dire to the point they are changing university.
Thanks for the quick reply! What languages are you doing? And do you feel that there is a broad spectrum of modules to take?
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TheBigJosh
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(Original post by BuddingAchiever)
Thanks for the quick reply! What languages are you doing? And do you feel that there is a broad spectrum of modules to take?
French and Mandarin.
There is a broad spec, though maybe less so if you are more interested in the language side. Until you get to Level 3 (Year 4) you can't really specialise too much, so you have to take history or culture modules, there is a large variety though. So many find something they like.
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Georgie_M
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If you want to be close to london (presumably not in London?) why not have a look at Bristol? Birmingham also has good rail links.

I'm not sure of modern languages at these unis but they are both respected (and RG).
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Paralove
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Some courses will be strongly literature based, such as Oxbridge, while others are way more varied.

I hold an offer for French and Ab initio Spanish for Cambridge, and my insurance is Southampton. Both the courses are VERY different but I like them equally.

Some places will focus less on language than others and it's worth looking at the course content and available modules as well as structure.

Southampton have 7 levels of language with 4 being post-A-Level and 7 near/native fluency, but for their year abroad you may only go to one country not two (if doing two languages).

Exeter have a tutorial system similar to those of Oxbridge, where you get sessions with only 1-3 of you with a teacher who is usually a native speaker of the language.

Southampton also offer a degree where you can do three languages, though you have to do two post A-Level and the third beginners - you can't do two beginners unfortunately. They also offer an integrated Masters in languages too.
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BuddingAchiever
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(Original post by TheBigJosh)
French and Mandarin.
There is a broad spec, though maybe less so if you are more interested in the language side. Until you get to Level 3 (Year 4) you can't really specialise too much, so you have to take history or culture modules, there is a large variety though. So many find something they like.

Wow! Those are the languages I would love to learn... except I also want to maintain spanish... is it possible to learn a third language in the subsequent years? If so, are most people able to achieve a high level in all languages that they learn?
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TheBigJosh
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(Original post by BuddingAchiever)
Wow! Those are the languages I would love to learn... except I also want to maintain spanish... is it possible to learn a third language in the subsequent years? If so, are most people able to achieve a high level in all languages that they learn?
Not at Leeds, no. In Level 3 language is very intensive, with the idea to become somewhere between fluent-native standard. Spanish is very good at Leeds, I must say. It is the department everyone in languages raves about in terms of teaching and social events. French not so much.
I think you should take a look, I personally think a Spanish/Chinese degree could be good for you at Leeds.
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TheBigJosh
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(Original post by Paralove)
Some courses will be strongly literature based, such as Oxbridge, while others are way more varied.

I hold an offer for French and Ab initio Spanish for Cambridge, and my insurance is Southampton. Both the courses are VERY different but I like them equally.

Some places will focus less on language than others and it's worth looking at the course content and available modules as well as structure.

Southampton have 7 levels of language with 4 being post-A-Level and 7 near/native fluency, but for their year abroad you may only go to one country not two (if doing two languages).

Exeter have a tutorial system similar to those of Oxbridge, where you get sessions with only 1-3 of you with a teacher who is usually a native speaker of the language.

Southampton also offer a degree where you can do three languages, though you have to do two post A-Level and the third beginners - you can't do two beginners unfortunately. They also offer an integrated Masters in languages too.
Good advice. I like the idea of a language tutoring system, that would really improve you quickly. I turned down Oxford for Leeds because of the high lit content
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Paralove
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(Original post by TheBigJosh)
Good advice. I like the idea of a language tutoring system, that would really improve you quickly. I turned down Oxford for Leeds because of the high lit content
I was unsure of Cam because of the lit and adored the course at Soton but I didn't really expect an offer from Cam!! I looked at both in great detail and decided Cambridge due to the supervisions and because the course is just so so different to anything you would find elsewhere. Plus much of the contemporary parts of the Soton course, I could go away and learn about of my own accord.

However if I could combine both unis, I so would!
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sophia5892
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(Original post by BuddingAchiever)
MODERN LANGUAGES

There is no harm in applying to these unis, provided that I get good AS grades, however I obviously don't want to get my hopes up too high but would you say that institutions such as manchester, UCL, nottingham (I don't want to be too far... I'm based in North London)... provide a course that is equally as interesting and intellectually challenging as the Oxbridge unis? I've looked at courses, etc but it would be interesting to hear other people's opinions... after all, don't most people attain near-native fluency during their year abroad, regardless of what uni they go to?
I'd definitely recommend Birmingham for the course. Or Southampton. I go to Newcastle but SOTON was my insurance and the course at B'ham was great - I just personally didn't feel the city was for me.

I applied for German, Italian and Japanese at those two (I do French, German and Japanese at Newcastle). So if you're wanting multiple languages, especially Mandarin, they're really worth looking at.

I applied to Cambridge and SOAS for Japanese but I got really put off by the fact I couldn't combine. Plus I didn't like the literature approach to languages. And I stayed at Oxford once and Cambridge twice and both times I just felt massively out of place and like it really wasn't the right environment for me at all. I'm probably one of the few people genuinely pleased to have been rejected from Oxbridge

So really it comes down to what you want. Oxbridge obviously provide great courses, but those courses are only great if they suit your interests. There's plenty of other unis offering good language degrees with more flexibility. And if you are interested in combining 2 or 3, then chances are somewhere else will have a better course for you.

Again, as others have said, Leeds and Manchester are good for languages. Sheffield could also be worth a look, but their East Asian department is separate to the European Langs so i'm not sure how that works combining.
And yeh, definitely look at Bham/SOTON if you're interested in three langs. I'd recommend Newcastle but guessing that's much further than you'd like to go!
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qwertyuiop1993
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(Original post by BuddingAchiever)
MODERN LANGUAGES

There is no harm in applying to these unis, provided that I get good AS grades, however I obviously don't want to get my hopes up too high but would you say that institutions such as manchester, UCL, nottingham (I don't want to be too far... I'm based in North London)... provide a course that is equally as interesting and intellectually challenging as the Oxbridge unis? I've looked at courses, etc but it would be interesting to hear other people's opinions... after all, don't most people attain near-native fluency during their year abroad, regardless of what uni they go to?
Remember that courses can be very different, so talking of 'equally as interesting and intellectually challenging" is hard when you're comparing apples and oranges.

If you want something similar to Oxbridge in terms of actual course focus (i.e. traditional: focus on grammar, translation and literature) then other older universities would be suitable: Durham, Edinburgh, UCL, Bristol pop to mind. Bristol has a cool modern languages department with their own cinema. Warwick, though newer, also seems to have a similar course focus.

As for intellectual challenge in terms of rigour/difficulty - all these universities will be intellectually challenging, but probably won't match 'volume' of work required for Oxbridge (judging from my sis who went to Edinburgh, my colleague who went to Durham and from my tutor's comments about her previous post at UCL). This is either a good thing or a bad thing depending on what you want -> some people enjoy the greater freedom to focus on other things/study fewer things at a slower pace to get more out of it.

And of course, there are intellectually stimulating courses that aren't traditional and have a greater focus on language and culture/politics.

Whatever your choice, a degree is about independent motivation and study, so at any of the 'top' universities you should be able to reach a high level in your foreign language and find intellectual stimulation, whether that is imposed or your own extra effort. You're right that the year abroad seems to be the great-leveller in terms of spoken fluency, where people improve a lot no matter what their university is like (as long as they do something productive and try not to stick with English people all the time, as can be the case).
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