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B2 French or B1 Russian?

I am fluent in English and Italian, and B2 french would realistically be much easier for me to achieve with less work. Russian, on the other hand, I’ve been doing for almost two years now and I find it extremely difficult, but I am nearing the B1 level. It goes without saying that this would require massive amounts of effort. However, Russian is seen as very difficult, so I was wondering if B1 in it would look better than a B2 in French? I need to decide where to focus my energy to yield the best outcome, and the two simultaneously seems challenging.
I was going to work on either one or the other over the summer. I want to know:
1) which one you think is better/ looks better for uni applications
2) which one is more useful in general
3) hence which one you think I should do

To be honest these would just be additional assets, languages are definitely not what I want to study in university and would pretty much just be cool additions to my CV
Original post by lila__
I am fluent in English and Italian, and B2 french would realistically be much easier for me to achieve with less work. Russian, on the other hand, I’ve been doing for almost two years now and I find it extremely difficult, but I am nearing the B1 level. It goes without saying that this would require massive amounts of effort. However, Russian is seen as very difficult, so I was wondering if B1 in it would look better than a B2 in French? I need to decide where to focus my energy to yield the best outcome, and the two simultaneously seems challenging.
I was going to work on either one or the other over the summer. I want to know:
1) which one you think is better/ looks better for uni applications
2) which one is more useful in general
3) hence which one you think I should do
To be honest these would just be additional assets, languages are definitely not what I want to study in university and would pretty much just be cool additions to my CV


Hey lila__,

I study French at uni, and I’ve got friends who do Russian too. Both are great languages that will certainly come in useful, and I wouldn’t say there’s an objective answer. What you might like to consider is what career do you want to do, and which would be the most useful. For example, French is the UN’s second most-used language. My friend who studies Russian is looking at jobs in GCHQ after uni. There’s also quite a wide market for teaching French, if that’s your thing.

Second of all, does one of the languages “call to you” more? Is your heart more in French than it is Russian, for example. I think that’s also very important to consider because if you aren’t feeling a language, I find it makes it harder to learn.

Bottom line is both are great languages, but think about what you might want to do after uni and what would help more in that career.

All the best,

Jen,

University of Exeter student ambassador
Original post by lila__
I am fluent in English and Italian, and B2 french would realistically be much easier for me to achieve with less work. Russian, on the other hand, I’ve been doing for almost two years now and I find it extremely difficult, but I am nearing the B1 level. It goes without saying that this would require massive amounts of effort. However, Russian is seen as very difficult, so I was wondering if B1 in it would look better than a B2 in French? I need to decide where to focus my energy to yield the best outcome, and the two simultaneously seems challenging.
I was going to work on either one or the other over the summer. I want to know:
1) which one you think is better/ looks better for uni applications
2) which one is more useful in general
3) hence which one you think I should do
To be honest these would just be additional assets, languages are definitely not what I want to study in university and would pretty much just be cool additions to my CV

1) For university applications, most of the benefit will derive in relevance to your subject. I can only speak for Cambridge definitively but any extracurriculars not related to your subject will provide no advantage. If you were hoping to study, say, Russian politics, then Russian B1 may be more useful; but if you were hoping to study Mediaeval French literature, French B2 may be more useful.
2) It depends on what you want to do with them. You would need a higher level to do a job that specifically requires them, e.g. translation, interpretation, and perhaps even just living in a country that speaks those languages. Usually C1 is considered to be fluent in everyday life and C2 means understanding the language deeply enough to be able to understand the nuance (though it is more complicated, I grant you).
3) I would advise you to do whichever you prefer unless you have a specific need for one. Do you know if you plan to take any of these languages further or what you want to study? French and Russian are both major international languages and so you won't get a definitive answer about which is more useful. I've studied both and they're both very enjoyable and have their own quirks.

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