German and French at Durham and Durham as a whole - Thoughts from current students?

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    Hi,
    I'm currently in the midst of trying to pick my uni choices to study modern languages. I know for certain that I'm applying to Oxford and Nottingham, but I'm struggling to choose my other three. I'm going to open days for Exeter and Warwick soon so I'll see what I think of those, my real dilemma is whether to apply for Durham or Saint Andrews.

    I attended a Durham open day a couple of months ago. I went with very high expectations and was pretty disappointed. I heard a lot about how the uni as a whole doesn't really care about staff and students and takes every opportunity to increase prices, and the lecturers seemed uninspiring. I felt like they weren't really putting any effort in. However, the uni seems to rank well for student satisfaction (and obviously it's well-ranked academically) plus looking at the course it's very close to being exactly what I want (I especially like the look of the cultural modules taught in the target language) and I really like the collegiate system. So, did I just go to a bad open day (admittedly, I was ill and I'd got up at 4am so that probably didn't help) or are the course and university actually not great? I'd love to hear from students.
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    (Original post by CivilAsAnOrange)
    Hi,
    I'm currently in the midst of trying to pick my uni choices to study modern languages. I know for certain that I'm applying to Oxford and Nottingham, but I'm struggling to choose my other three. I'm going to open days for Exeter and Warwick soon so I'll see what I think of those, my real dilemma is whether to apply for Durham or Saint Andrews.

    I attended a Durham open day a couple of months ago. I went with very high expectations and was pretty disappointed. I heard a lot about how the uni as a whole doesn't really care about staff and students and takes every opportunity to increase prices, and the lecturers seemed uninspiring. I felt like they weren't really putting any effort in. However, the uni seems to rank well for student satisfaction (and obviously it's well-ranked academically) plus looking at the course it's very close to being exactly what I want (I especially like the look of the cultural modules taught in the target language) and I really like the collegiate system. So, did I just go to a bad open day (admittedly, I was ill and I'd got up at 4am so that probably didn't help) or are the course and university actually not great? I'd love to hear from students.
    Hi! I study French and Spanish at Durham so I'll try and give my honest opinions

    What you've heard about increased costs is definitely true. I can't speak for staff, but as a student I know that the university accommodation prices seem to go up every year to high figures (over £7,000 for one academic year of catered accommodation (28/9 weeks), which is what most students have in their first year). There is a self-catered package, but only two of the colleges do that so a lot of people apply to those and it's competitive to get in. Having said that, I'm now living out in my second year in private rented accommodation and whilst I thought I'd be better off, I don't actually think I am. Buying my own food seems to be costing a lot more than I expected, so in a way going for catered accommodation is quite good - also what I like about university halls is that the bills are all included, whereas now I'm privately renting and having to sort all that out as well. So in some respects the high price of college accommodation annoys me, but now I've experienced both living in and living out, it does seem a lot more understandable. It feels less independent living in college and sometimes it's a bit institutionalised, but it's convenient.

    From my experience, the lecturers I've had for my cultural modules have been quite mixed. Some are great at their research and have published loads of stuff, but they're not as good at actually teaching (and a few seem to care a lot more about their own research than teaching students). The French lecturers in particular can seem a bit cold and unapproachable - I've found the Spanish ones on the other hand more upbeat and friendly. As for the languages modules (grammar and oral classes, taught in seminars), the teachers are so friendly and definitely a lot more supportive. Most of them are natives and I always enjoyed those classes. It's a shame that there aren't more of them (you only get 2 hours of language practice per week, for post A-Level languages).

    It's good to know you're interested in the cultural modules though! There's a big focus on literature and film, so sometimes it feels like I'm not actually doing a languages degree (obviously we read the texts in the language but most of the analysis and teaching is done in English). There are a few cultural modules that are taught and examined in the target language, but most are taught in English. It feels at times that an English Literature student could be doing the course. Some people I know find this problematic, but if you're interested in that kind of stuff, Durham is a good choice! There's a wide range of modules particularly in 2nd and final year, so you can cater what you're learning to your interests.

    I hope some of this helped! If you need to know anything else, let me know and I'll respond as soon as I can
 
 
 
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