Harry171
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Originally I was going to do languages at a-levels because I really enjoyed them but everybody around me (including teachers!) kinda told me not to and that I should do science and maths instead because they said I can't do anything with languages. I don't mind science and maths and I can do them just fine, but I have no interest in pursuing them after a-levels. I'm so tired of listening to everybody else so I'm looking at language courses in uni but because I'm doing chemistry, physics and maths would I still be able to get onto a course for languages??
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Rabbit2
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(Original post by Harry171)
Originally I was going to do languages at a-levels because I really enjoyed them but everybody around me (including teachers!) kinda told me not to and that I should do science and maths instead because they said I can't do anything with languages. I don't mind science and maths and I can do them just fine, but I have no interest in pursuing them after a-levels. I'm so tired of listening to everybody else so I'm looking at language courses in uni but because I'm doing chemistry, physics and maths would I still be able to get onto a course for languages??
I would presume on that side of the pond, you can take language courses - because you can here. Be careful though. During WW2 a young woman from NY state majored in French in the US. When the war started, her 4 brothers all enlisted. Wanting to contribute herself, she cast about, and got a job with the OSS [CIA predecessor]. She dearly wanted to go to France (occupied of course), because she had majored in French. Instead, in the way of governments everywhere - they sent her to Spain. Of course, she spoke not a word of Spanish when she arrived. They gave her 3 months to learn Spanish, or they were going to ship her home as unsuitable. Desperate to avoid that fate, she acquired a bunch of 'non-english speaking' Spanish friends & practiced strenuously. She 'made the cut' and managed to stay on - later ending up running a fair sized network in Spain. After the war, she met & married a mid-level Spanish nobleman. Her new husband was fluent in 5 languages. He told her, that her French had such a severe American accent, that he could barely understand her - and that many of his French-speaking friends could NOT understand her at all. Had they sent her to France, the Gestapo would have shot her within a month as an obvious implant spy.

This is a true story - every word. Her name was [she died the end of last year] Aline Griffith. [The spelling of the first name is correct - it is "Aline"] Her Spanish name was: Aline, Countess of Ramonones. She has several books out which i find fascinating reading. Personally, i purchased a language course from Berlitz. I was trying to learn Italian, so i could visit a former classmate who then lived in Italy. I practiced faithfully, and finally arrived. I found that the section in the textbook entitled "in the shop" - was NOT how you should talk to a shop employee, but the way an Italian businessman would talk to his mistress!! The rest of the book was full of similar garbage. She wouldn't believe me until i showed her the book [fortunately, i had it with me]. Be careful! "Language" courses are not always what they seem. My approach now, is to get a 'walking dictionary' - i.e. a native speaker, to 'vet' anything i'm taught. Cheers.

The other side is: Do you think you can earn a decent living with a language??? I am an electrical engineer, and i've been told several times "If you need a linguist, we'll hire one for you. They are CHEAP!! Don't waste your time studying a language, study engineering!! That was from several employers - who sent me to a total of 14 countries to do engineering. Soooooo...... Best of Luck!
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umbrellala
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(Original post by Harry171)
Originally I was going to do languages at a-levels because I really enjoyed them but everybody around me (including teachers!) kinda told me not to and that I should do science and maths instead because they said I can't do anything with languages. I don't mind science and maths and I can do them just fine, but I have no interest in pursuing them after a-levels. I'm so tired of listening to everybody else so I'm looking at language courses in uni but because I'm doing chemistry, physics and maths would I still be able to get onto a course for languages??
It depends on the language and the university, but if you look for 'ab-initio' courses (ie. courses that don't require an a-level) then you should be able to find some options. They tend to be most common in languages that aren't always offered at a-level. In terms of whether you should or not, definitely go with what you have an interest in! I did chemistry, biology, and politics at a-level, didn't particularly like my sciences and I'm now doing Korean with absolutely no regrets. I was also told by my teachers and parents that languages would be a bad idea, but I'm so much happier now than I would've been if I'd gone for science or politics. Don't let anyone else tell you what's best for you
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umbrellala
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It's also worth mentioning that just because you do languages doesn't mean you have to be a translator/teacher/interpreter. The job opportunities are so much bigger than you'd imagine, regardless of which language you choose. There are advantages to doing more niche languages and to doing more common languages, so don't let that factor into your decisions too much. Personally I'm interested in going into the foreign office/diplomatic civil service which is 100% possible with a language degree. They're really in demand these days since less people are taking them at uni, and in a lot of ways it's not that different from doing a humanity in terms of employability, apart from the fact that you have the added bonus of your language which will always make your application more appealing
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University of Bath
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(Original post by Harry171)
Originally I was going to do languages at a-levels because I really enjoyed them but everybody around me (including teachers!) kinda told me not to and that I should do science and maths instead because they said I can't do anything with languages. I don't mind science and maths and I can do them just fine, but I have no interest in pursuing them after a-levels. I'm so tired of listening to everybody else so I'm looking at language courses in uni but because I'm doing chemistry, physics and maths would I still be able to get onto a course for languages??
Hi there,

Here at Bath we offer degrees in Politics or International Management in which you can learn Italian ab initio (from beginners). Furthermore, if you did decide to do a science course, we offer courses at various levels in many different languages (including Spanish, French and Mandarin). This way, you would be able to do a science course whilst continuing with your passion for languages.

As a languages student myself, I'm glad I decided to pursue what interests me and what I would look forward to learning. I would say it might've been useful to do a course alongside politics or management, however, I'm very excited to leave uni as a trilinguist!

Let me know if you have any more questions about Bath, or about doing languages at uni!
Katie, 2nd Year Modern Languages student
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Harry171
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(Original post by University of Bath)
Hi there,

Here at Bath we offer degrees in Politics or International Management in which you can learn Italian ab initio (from beginners). Furthermore, if you did decide to do a science course, we offer courses at various levels in many different languages (including Spanish, French and Mandarin). This way, you would be able to do a science course whilst continuing with your passion for languages.

As a languages student myself, I'm glad I decided to pursue what interests me and what I would look forward to learning. I would say it might've been useful to do a course alongside politics or management, however, I'm very excited to leave uni as a trilinguist!

Let me know if you have any more questions about Bath, or about doing languages at uni!
Katie, 2nd Year Modern Languages student
This is actually really useful thanks
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