(Original post by maya_fooks)
I am currently in year 12 and i am currently considering taking a degree in arabic and spanish, but no one i know has ever done anything like this so i have a few questions!
1) what level of arabic would you attain after the course with a year abroad in an arabic speaking countries
It's entirely dependent on the amount of work you do. Your course will provide you a solid basis, but you won't be spoon-fed like you are at school, it's much more independent and if you want to improve, most of the work to be done isn't done in class.
2) what dialect would you learn at uni and what are the differences between dialects?
You learn Modern Standard Arabic at university, and depending on where you go, you may be given the chance to study dialectal Arabic, generally Egyptian or Levantine Arabic. MSA is used in formal contexts (the media, politics, etc.) but dialectal Arabic is the one you really need when you go to an Arab country. They can be very different (Moroccans and Palestinians won't understand each other) or very similar (the differences between Syrian and Lebanese Arabic aren't massive.)
3) how useful would this degree be to work in a poltics related area int he future
You could apply for the civil service or work for an NGO (Red Cross is always looking for Arabic speakers), but to be perfectly honest, I haven't seen much where Arabic is a plus. I'm currently doing an MA in international relations and so far people have been asking about my Russian far more than they've been asking about my Arabic. Languages are always good to have, but I think people prefer native speakers of Arabic over foreigners. It doesn't mean you won't find anything, but you'll need to keep your eyes peeled and your mind open.
4) would my a levels: maths, biology, chemistry and spanish, look like a strange choice to then do a languages degree
No. Most students doing languages have very varied backgrounds, and as long as you have the grades, it's perfectly fine. Having an essay-based A-Level might have helped a little though, as you'll be doing a lot of research and writing at university, but your combination isn't particularly strange. I've had coursemates who'd done Dance, General Studies and Spanish at A-Level do a degree in Russian!
5) finally where would be good for this subject? (i have 10 a stars at GCSE and am predicts 4 A's at AS
Not many universities in the UK offer Arabic, so I'd look at St Andrews and Edinburgh if you're interested in Scotland, Durham, Leeds, Manchester, Oxford, Cambridge, SOAS, and Exeter. I'm fairly sure they all offer Arabic and Spanish.
That said, when choosing your degree, pay attention to where you can go during your year abroad, and how you can split your year (some universities will only allow you to spend a summer in a Spanish-speaking country, which could be damaging). Look at the modules on offer to see what you can do or not (St Andrews, Leeds, Manchester and Exeter have politics modules, but you won't get that at Oxford, for example), and try and visit the place, because you want to find a place where you'll enjoy living and studying!