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    Hi guys

    This is the first discussion I have started so I apologise if it is in the incorrect forum.
    But anyway! I am a fifth year pupil in Scotland and I want to apply for French and Spanish this year (2016 entry). However, I cannot decide upon which universities to apply to. So far I want to apply for:

    Aberdeen - European Studies (French/Spanish route)
    University College London - European, Social & Political Studies Dual Degree (Sciences Po)
    King's College London - French & Spanish w/integrated year abroad

    But I do not know where to choose for my fourth and fifth choices! I think I would like one of them to be Oxbridge. However, my problem is that Camrbidge offers French & Spanish but Oxford only offers French & Italian (it does offer Spanish but you need advanced higher for it and I cannot do that course in my area). Italian is definitely a language I hope to learn but I would prefer Spanish as it is used more widely. Yet of the two universities, Oxford appeals more as an institution. So which should I choose? And does anyone have any suggestions of where to select for my fifth choice? None of the other universities in Scotland appeal apart from POSSIBLY Edinburgh. So it has to be English preferably. I considered Royal Holloway and Queen Mary but I want one with good employment prospects. Surrey also appealed largely but it does not seem to be very highly accredited. Whatever happens, I would like a city that is nice and not a 'developing' one, but offers a cultural element.

    Oh, and if it is of any relevance I have 6A's so far in 5 Nat 5's and a higher in French (97%) and this year I am taking:

    Higher English, biology, chemistry, maths, modern studies
    Advanced higher French

    And I am predicted 6 A's again.

    and I have chosen AH chemistry, English and maths for S6, and H Spanish.
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    (Original post by RachelLJ)
    Hi guys

    This is the first discussion I have started so I apologise if it is in the incorrect forum.
    But anyway! I am a fifth year pupil in Scotland and I want to apply for French and Spanish this year (2016 entry). However, I cannot decide upon which universities to apply to. So far I want to apply for:

    Aberdeen - European Studies (French/Spanish route)
    University College London - European, Social & Political Studies Dual Degree (Sciences Po)
    King's College London - French & Spanish w/integrated year abroad

    But I do not know where to choose for my fourth and fifth choices! I think I would like one of them to be Oxbridge. However, my problem is that Camrbidge offers French & Spanish but Oxford only offers French & Italian (it does offer Spanish but you need advanced higher for it and I cannot do that course in my area). Italian is definitely a language I hope to learn but I would prefer Spanish as it is used more widely. Yet of the two universities, Oxford appeals more as an institution. So which should I choose? And does anyone have any suggestions of where to select for my fifth choice? None of the other universities in Scotland appeal apart from POSSIBLY Edinburgh. So it has to be English preferably. I considered Royal Holloway and Queen Mary but I want one with good employment prospects. Surrey also appealed largely but it does not seem to be very highly accredited. Whatever happens, I would like a city that is nice and not a 'developing' one, but offers a cultural element.

    Oh, and if it is of any relevance I have 6A's so far in 5 Nat 5's and a higher in French (97%) and this year I am taking:

    Higher English, biology, chemistry, maths, modern studies
    Advanced higher French

    And I am predicted 6 A's again.

    and I have chosen AH chemistry, English and maths for S6, and H Spanish.
    I notice you mentioned King's has an integrated year abroad.... does that mean your other choices don't? I would definitely not do a languages degree/degree with languages without having a year abroad - the vast majority of languages students will take one, it's a great experience which employers love, and it's kind of expected.

    That said, English universities with good reputations for languages.....

    Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield, Southampton etc etc etc.

    Off the top of my head I'm not sure whether they do ab-initio Spanish though.

    Personal recommendation is Newcastle, seeing as that's where i went.

    A few different degree options for students wanting to do French and ab-initio Spanish - languages alone, or combined with Translation & Interpreting, Business, Linguistics etc.
    You can also do languages on Combined Honours and then there's way more choice for other subject combinations.

    So yeh - lots of options for subjects, well respected uni and course, cheap place to live, flexible year abroad, very student oriented city so lots to do. etc etc etc
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    Durham's supposed to be brilliant for languages, but you are applying to some very competitive unis so maybe a safer option would be better. I've applied for German & Business at Newcastle and got an unconditional (my predicted grades are A*AA, course entry requirements are ABB), so maybe that would be a option. Otherwise Leeds, Southampton and Warwick are all very good unis for languages (I have offers from both Leeds & Warwick & visited them both too, so feel free to ask any questions about then).

    All the best!
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    (Original post by peaaceandl0ve)
    Durham's supposed to be brilliant for languages, but you are applying to some very competitive unis so maybe a safer option would be better. I've applied for German & Business at Newcastle and got an unconditional (my predicted grades are A*AA, course entry requirements are ABB), so maybe that would be a option. Otherwise Leeds, Southampton and Warwick are all very good unis for languages (I have offers from both Leeds & Warwick & visited them both too, so feel free to ask any questions about then).

    All the best!
    Thank you so much! Congratulations on your offers, I wish you the best in your academic career. Have you chosen your firm and insurance yet?
    I think Aberdeen University would be my insurance choice as I am predicted to achieve above the requirements this year, and I still have my sixth year (final year at school) to come. But what is Leeds like? What is the accent comparable to as well? I know this sounds appalling but I don't want to go somewhere that I will find the accent annoying. I am most accustomed to the stereotypical Queen's English accent. I think Durham and Warwick look like lovely universities but personally they are just a tad too confined in the local area for myself. What is Southampton like also? I have heard of it but I have no idea what it is like. Thank you for your help, and the other respondents too. If anyone could add their two cents to my Oxbridge query then that would also be greatly appreciated
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    (Original post by RachelLJ)
    Thank you so much! Congratulations on your offers, I wish you the best in your academic career. Have you chosen your firm and insurance yet?
    I think Aberdeen University would be my insurance choice as I am predicted to achieve above the requirements this year, and I still have my sixth year (final year at school) to come. But what is Leeds like? What is the accent comparable to as well? I know this sounds appalling but I don't want to go somewhere that I will find the accent annoying. I am most accustomed to the stereotypical Queen's English accent. I think Durham and Warwick look like lovely universities but personally they are just a tad too confined in the local area for myself. What is Southampton like also? I have heard of it but I have no idea what it is like. Thank you for your help, and the other respondents too. If anyone could add their two cents to my Oxbridge query then that would also be greatly appreciated
    As someone relatively local to the Leeds area (I grew up near Huddersfield), I can't comment on the accent really. Personally I love the Yorkshire accent and wish mine was broader. One thing to note is, I've spent 3.5 years in Newcastle, and don't get to hear the Geordie accent that much. Sounds a little silly, but with so many students in the city I tend to be surrounded by people who aren't local. I don't know if this is the case in Leeds as i've not really thought about accent when I've been there before, but I guess it's fairly similar for most students that living somewhere doesn't necessarily mean being surrounded by the local accent. Also, you mentioned being used to hearing the Queen's English accent? I'm guessing that's down to your school or friends? Might be a little naive of me, but I find it hard to imagine an area of Scotland where there isn't some kind of regional accent. So I'd guess you're in a situation like mine where you just don't necessarily hear the local accent all the time.

    My opinion on the Oxbridge query, for what it's worth, is don't apply unless you're sure about the uni and course. If you don't really like Cambridge as a uni, and don't really want to do Italian at Oxford, then don't bother. It's 4 years of your life so it's important you choose the place that is right for you.
    The unis you've listed are all well respected unis with good courses and going to Oxbridge isn't the be all and end all.
    That said, I would definitely still visit. As you said, you have another year to go and you might find that you fall in love with Cambridge after a visit etc etc
    And yeh, I'd agree that Spanish is much more useful than Italian, as much as I love the Italian language (I did an ab-initio Italian A Level).
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    (Original post by peaaceandl0ve)
    Durham's supposed to be brilliant for languages, but you are applying to some very competitive unis so maybe a safer option would be better. I've applied for German & Business at Newcastle and got an unconditional (my predicted grades are A*AA, course entry requirements are ABB), so maybe that would be a option. Otherwise Leeds, Southampton and Warwick are all very good unis for languages (I have offers from both Leeds & Warwick & visited them both too, so feel free to ask any questions about then).

    All the best!
    Congrats on your offers!
    I did German as part of my degree at Newcastle (Modern Languages), so let me know if you have any questions
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    (Original post by sophia5892)
    As someone relatively local to the Leeds area (I grew up near Huddersfield), I can't comment on the accent really. Personally I love the Yorkshire accent and wish mine was broader. One thing to note is, I've spent 3.5 years in Newcastle, and don't get to hear the Geordie accent that much. Sounds a little silly, but with so many students in the city I tend to be surrounded by people who aren't local. I don't know if this is the case in Leeds as i've not really thought about accent when I've been there before, but I guess it's fairly similar for most students that living somewhere doesn't necessarily mean being surrounded by the local accent. Also, you mentioned being used to hearing the Queen's English accent? I'm guessing that's down to your school or friends? Might be a little naive of me, but I find it hard to imagine an area of Scotland where there isn't some kind of regional accent. So I'd guess you're in a situation like mine where you just don't necessarily hear the local accent all the time.

    My opinion on the Oxbridge query, for what it's worth, is don't apply unless you're sure about the uni and course. If you don't really like Cambridge as a uni, and don't really want to do Italian at Oxford, then don't bother. It's 4 years of your life so it's important you choose the place that is right for you.
    The unis you've listed are all well respected unis with good courses and going to Oxbridge isn't the be all and end all.
    That said, I would definitely still visit. As you said, you have another year to go and you might find that you fall in love with Cambridge after a visit etc etc
    And yeh, I'd agree that Spanish is much more useful than Italian, as much as I love the Italian language (I did an ab-initio Italian A Level).
    I hear the local Scottish accents plenty, and I have become accustomed to them, but when I hear English accents it is usually from parts of England like Cheshire (that's where I am from ). But thank you for all of your advice, I think I'll see about doing a round-trip of Oxford, Cambridge and London in the Summer with my mum! I have been to London countless times (my dad works in oil so he has been placed there a ridiculous amount of times for business ahah!) but I have never experienced the universities, and I have literally no idea what life is actually like in Cambridge and Oxford! I will also spend some time considering whether it is Italian or Spanish that I want to study. You have really put it into perspective for me, thank you! I am still unsure about where to select for my fifth choice but I have been searching the net and Exeter looks rather nice. Chester looks incredible (near to where I am from) but sadly the university does not seem to be very reputable. What is Newcastle like? I had never really considered it until you spoke about it. Also well done on ab-initio Italian, that must have been challenging!
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    (Original post by RachelLJ)
    I hear the local Scottish accents plenty, and I have become accustomed to them, but when I hear English accents it is usually from parts of England like Cheshire (that's where I am from ). But thank you for all of your advice, I think I'll see about doing a round-trip of Oxford, Cambridge and London in the Summer with my mum! I have been to London countless times (my dad works in oil so he has been placed there a ridiculous amount of times for business ahah!) but I have never experienced the universities, and I have literally no idea what life is actually like in Cambridge and Oxford! I will also spend some time considering whether it is Italian or Spanish that I want to study. You have really put it into perspective for me, thank you! I am still unsure about where to select for my fifth choice but I have been searching the net and Exeter looks rather nice. Chester looks incredible (near to where I am from) but sadly the university does not seem to be very reputable. What is Newcastle like? I had never really considered it until you spoke about it. Also well done on ab-initio Italian, that must have been challenging!
    It was pretty challenging but very fun. I was doing French for A Level too which is of course a big help.

    I've heard good things from other students about Exeter but it's one I never look at myself. I was searching for 3 language degrees which limited my choices a lot!

    I visited both Oxford and Cambridge with my college and got to spend a night there. I was also interviewed at Cambridge and so spent a night at the college I'd applied to for that. That was a really useful experience - I'd loved Cambridge when I visited, and this was at the point where I was undecided whether I wanted to study Japanese, or 3 languages. After spending a night there and meeting some of the other applicants and lecturers, and eating breakfast in the hall etc etc., I decided it was definitely not the place for me!

    Ironically Newcastle didn't make it onto my application initially. I'd applied for Japanese at SOAS and Cambridge and German/Italian/Japanese at Birmingham and Southampton as they were the only 2 unis offering that combination. It was my mum who pushed me to put Newcastle on there as I had that 5th spot free, and I knew I would get an offer as I attended a partner college. So I applied for French, German and Japanese at Newcastle, and when I came to visit the unis for a second time realised that it was actually the best place for me.

    That's why I'd place so much importance on the visits!

    I like Newcastle as the language department is small compared to places like Leeds but not tiny. This means that you really get to know your lecturers and they get to know you, but there's still a wide range of modules on offer. The degrees are also quite flexible. As I mentioned you can combine languages with lots of other subjects if that's your thing. If you want to do just French and ab-initio Spanish you'd apply for Modern Languages. On that programme it would be up to you how you split your credits, and you can change that each year. So for example, you can do 80 credits French and 40 Spanish, or 60/60 depending on what interested you. And you can swap that each year. Additionally, if you wanted to, you could drop Spanish after one or two years and focus on French. In second year you could study a "cultural" module in Beginner's Italian or Catalan. Quechua is also offered to Spanish students (I think that'd be available to you in fourth year due to being a beginner on entry).

    The Year Abroad is very flexible. You can work, study or do a language assistantship. It's up to you how you split the year. There's no pressure at all to split it evenly between your languages. There's plenty of university partnerships in France and Spain, and one partner in Belgium, including partnerships specifically for T&I. If you were combining with Business there's also specific Business partners. You'd also have the option of working in Latin America. There's hope to set up university partnerships in Latin America and Montreal, but I wouldn't rely on this being available as it could take some time.
    I know for French quite a few students do internships at dive centres in Guadeloupe - exotic but part of France and so qualifies for Erasmus funding!

    Language levels are also flexible to an extent. Languages are offered as Levels A, B, C, D. Level B is for students who have an A Level or equiv. So for French you'd do Level B, C, Year Abroad, D. Level D focuses on Translation, Interpreting and Essay Writing.
    For Spanish you'd be expected to do A, B, Year Abroad, C. However, if you progressed enough you could have the option to skip into Level D. I know a couple of students who did that as they chose to spend their Year Abroad mainly in the country of their weaker language in order to progress more. And again this doesn't necessarily disadvantage you in French. I had to spend my Year Abroad studying in Japan (YA less flexible for East Asian langs!), so when I came back to final year in September 2013, I was a little apprehensive about doing Level D French and German when I'd done no German since a 4 week summer course in 2012, and only done 3 weeks of French at a summer school in Montreal the month before returning to uni. But it really wasn't a problem as everyone does such different things anyway. Of course I did have some classmates who'd spent the full year in France/Germany and who sounded scarily fluent, but I had others who'd only been there for 1-3 months or even not at all. And I still got a first at the end of it all!

    As for the city, it's one of the cheaper places to live. The city centre is nice and compact so everything is in walking distance. You've got the coast 25 mins away on the metro, the Metrocentre is about 10 mins by bus if the city centre shops aren't enough. Campus is right next to the city centre, but it is an actual campus. So you have the best of both worlds there. And as there's so many students (both from Newcastle and Northumbria which is equally central), there's lots of things aimed at those students. And I believe we're particularly well-known for our nightlife!

    I'm sure there's loads more I could say, but I've already rambled on a lot! Let me know if there's anything else you'd like to know about
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    Does anyone know whether Oxbridge are biased about private/state school applicants? Coz I'm from a really good school but it isn't private so I don't want to waste an application


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    (Original post by RachelLJ)
    Does anyone know whether Oxbridge are biased about private/state school applicants? Coz I'm from a really good school but it isn't private so I don't want to waste an application


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    They're not going to give an advantage to private school students if that's what you mean, more likely they'd give an advantage to state schools students.
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    (Original post by RachelLJ)
    Does anyone know whether Oxbridge are biased about private/state school applicants? Coz I'm from a really good school but it isn't private so I don't want to waste an application


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    I don't think they're biased... I just think private school students are likely to be much better prepared and therefore more likely to do well in the interviews.

    When I interviewed for Japanese I had no real idea what to expect. I knew it was a beginner's course and I figured my application was fairly strong as I went to a good college, I'd done a lot of background reading, some self-study of the language, and I focused 2 of my GCSE projects around Japan so I had all that to talk about etc etc. When I arrived, I was the only state school applicant there (for Japanese), and I was also the only applicant there who hadn't visited Japan and/or had private Japanese tuition. It very very quickly became apparent that I did not have the depth of knowledge that the other applicants had.

    Fast forward to the interview.... as we weren't to be "tested" on anything Japanese I was given an article thing to read which had no relevance to anything I have ever studied before. I was then quizzed about this in the interview. At one point I was asked where I would go to get more information on the subject matter. I answered that my first point of call would be the library. They then asked me where the library was. Confused, I pointed in the direction of the library - "uh.. it's down that way...?" This was met by lots of tuts and hastily scribbled notes by the interviewers.
    To this day I still have no clue what I was supposed to say to that question

    So... if you do apply, I would definitely spend time talking to applicants who've been through the process and trying to do any practice or preparation you can. I think it was very very naive of me to think that I'd be okay without any special prep - I must have come across like a total idiot in that interview!
 
 
 
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