studygirl388
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Hi, I have been accepted unconditionally to study BA Modern Languages (French and Spanish) with grades AAA.
However, I'm now unsure of my choice to continue with post A-Level Spanish (with French) rather than swapping it for something more niche like ab-initio Russian. I say this because I know that there are a lot more career prospects that come with it and languages like Russian/Arabic/Mandarin seem to be in much higher demand than modern European ones.

In terms of a career pathway, I'm not sure exactly what I would like to do but possibly a job in the UN as a translator/interpreter (and current vacancies do tend to be for speakers of Arabic, Russian etc.).

I know it's important I have an interest in the language, and I do. I am very interested in the Cyrillic alphabet and Russian phonology. I also know very little in general about Russian culture/literature so would be keen to study this. I just worry that if I were able to alter my course, I may struggle with learning Russian when it comes to it.

Any advice? Thanks!
Last edited by studygirl388; 1 month ago
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cchloepx
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There are plenty of job opportunities for Spanish! It’s a very in-demand language and quite important.

But other than that, it seems like you’re interested in Russian. Usually languages like Russian are beginners so you won’t have to worry about needing an a-level you don’t have since you already have a foreign language a-level.

Can I ask is French also post a-level? Many unis aren’t too keen on people studying two languages from beginners level, especially when it’s paired with a ‘harder’ language to learn like Russian.

Why don’t you see if you can find any information on the russian course and structure at your uni? You could also try and see if they kept any virtual open days on the course? I’ll be studying at Leeds next month and they had all their virtual open days readily available. When I had to change my language application from Italian and German to Italian and Japanese, I watched some of their virtual open days on the languages that were available for me to switch to. Chinese, Russian, Arabic, and Japanese. I eventually decided on Japanese because I liked what the course offers.
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SirNoodles
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As in-demand as Spanish is, you're kind of right about Russian bringing more career opportunities as it's more useful for intelligence and governmental fields as well being better for interpreting as there are plenty of Spanish speakers who can do interpreting jobs at a high quality level but less who can speak Russian at such a level.

Something else that I think is worth having in mind is the fact that, due to its similarities with French, you could study French and Russian at degree level and continue Spanish in your spare time. There are plenty of resources to be learn, practise and become fluent in Spanish in your free time whilst doing French and Russian in your degree. Then, by the end of your degree, you could then take a Spanish DELE exam in C1 and come out of uni speaking 4 languages fluently. That's what I plan on doing with Portuguese instead of Spanish.

Cchloepx has already given good information so I have nothing to add in that respect. However, I'm going to be starting ab-initio Russian in September and I've already been learning it for the past few months with a fairly solid grounding in the basics. I saw you said you were worried that you'd find Russian difficult so if you have any questions about how difficult Russian is or how/where to start I can always try and give some good answers

However, talking about the difficulty of Russian, I feel like it's worth mentioning that Cyrillic is p*ss easy to learn as an alphabet to put it frankly. You probably already know this but I just wanted to mention it because I see a lot of people get slightly put off learning Russian because they find the idea of learning a new writing system daunting haha
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studygirl388
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(Original post by cchloepx)
There are plenty of job opportunities for Spanish! It’s a very in-demand language and quite important.

But other than that, it seems like you’re interested in Russian. Usually languages like Russian are beginners so you won’t have to worry about needing an a-level you don’t have since you already have a foreign language a-level.

Can I ask is French also post a-level? Many unis aren’t too keen on people studying two languages from beginners level, especially when it’s paired with a ‘harder’ language to learn like Russian.

Why don’t you see if you can find any information on the russian course and structure at your uni? You could also try and see if they kept any virtual open days on the course? I’ll be studying at Leeds next month and they had all their virtual open days readily available. When I had to change my language application from Italian and German to Italian and Japanese, I watched some of their virtual open days on the languages that were available for me to switch to. Chinese, Russian, Arabic, and Japanese. I eventually decided on Japanese because I liked what the course offers.
Hi - thanks for your input!

Yes, I will be studying post a-level French. So it would just be ab-initio Russian if I decided to pick that.

I have already had a look at the course modules and like what I see, there's quite a good variety to choose from. The only thing I have to consider is whether I am actually capable of learning Russian. I think the alphabet makes it look very intimidating. It is definitely out of my comfort zone but I have done pretty well with Spanish, French and also another Romance language in my free time so maybe a challenge is what I need?
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studygirl388
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(Original post by SirNoodles)
As in-demand as Spanish is, you're kind of right about Russian bringing more career opportunities as it's more useful for intelligence and governmental fields as well being better for interpreting as there are plenty of Spanish speakers who can do interpreting jobs at a high quality level but less who can speak Russian at such a level.

Something else that I think is worth having in mind is the fact that, due to its similarities with French, you could study French and Russian at degree level and continue Spanish in your spare time. There are plenty of resources to be learn, practise and become fluent in Spanish in your free time whilst doing French and Russian in your degree. Then, by the end of your degree, you could then take a Spanish DELE exam in C1 and come out of uni speaking 4 languages fluently. That's what I plan on doing with Portuguese instead of Spanish.

Cchloepx has already given good information so I have nothing to add in that respect. However, I'm going to be starting ab-initio Russian in September and I've already been learning it for the past few months with a fairly solid grounding in the basics. I saw you said you were worried that you'd find Russian difficult so if you have any questions about how difficult Russian is or how/where to start I can always try and give some good answers

However, talking about the difficulty of Russian, I feel like it's worth mentioning that Cyrillic is p*ss easy to learn as an alphabet to put it frankly. You probably already know this but I just wanted to mention it because I see a lot of people get slightly put off learning Russian because they find the idea of learning a new writing system daunting haha
Yeah I think it would benefit me more in terms of career prospects. My friend who only studied French at A-Level also went on to study French with Russian at university.

If I were to pick Russian, I do think it's a good idea to get a grasp of the basics prior to starting the course. I do already know some of the alphabet and how to write them in the cursive form. I attended a few classes of Russian club in my first year of college so I know some words/pronunciation. But yeah, it does look a bit daunting. If you have any good beginners websites/resource recommendations you could send my way, that would be fab!

I don't even know if I will be allowed to change my language options at this stage, I guess I should contact the uni.

Thanks for your response!
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cchloepx
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(Original post by studygirl388)
Hi - thanks for your input!

Yes, I will be studying post a-level French. So it would just be ab-initio Russian if I decided to pick that.

I have already had a look at the course modules and like what I see, there's quite a good variety to choose from. The only thing I have to consider is whether I am actually capable of learning Russian. I think the alphabet makes it look very intimidating. It is definitely out of my comfort zone but I have done pretty well with Spanish, French and also another Romance language in my free time so maybe a challenge is what I need?
why don’t you have a bash at learning it? There are so many online resources and even beginners textbooks you can find that will help you learn the alphabet and the very basics.

Japanese is a bit daunting for me as well but I purchased a fairly cheap hiragana and katakana textbook from Waterstones that shows you stroke order, pronounciation, and some basic words. It’s really helped me get to know the basics a little that will surely help for my classes.

If you enjoy it, you can just ask to switch. And if not you can continue with Spanish
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studygirl388
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(Original post by cchloepx)
why don’t you have a bash at learning it? There are so many online resources and even beginners textbooks you can find that will help you learn the alphabet and the very basics.

Japanese is a bit daunting for me as well but I purchased a fairly cheap hiragana and katakana textbook from Waterstones that shows you stroke order, pronounciation, and some basic words. It’s really helped me get to know the basics a little that will surely help for my classes.

If you enjoy it, you can just ask to switch. And if not you can continue with Spanish
Yeah, that's a good idea. I definitely see it being an option but obviously I need to think carefully about it.

There is always the option to study 3 languages for the first year, and then choose two of those to carry on with.

Thanks for your help !
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