I’m Kirsten and I study French & German at the University of Glasgow. I am currently in my 5th year and will be graduating in June 2018.
Here’s what you need to know about my degree at the University of Glasgow:
About University of Glasgow
Founded in 1451, University of Glasgow is the fourth oldest university in the English speaking world. It is currently a member of an international network of research universities ( Universitas 21) and the Russell Group. Many influential figures have studied or worked at the University of Glasgow including three British Prime Ministers, the pioneer of television John Logie Baird, and more recently actor Gerard Butler and singer Emeli Sandé.
The university boasts world-class sporting facilities and one of the best libraries in Europe. Moreover, it offers a diverse range of subject disciplines offered at undergraduate and postgraduate level. The University encourages its students to think of themselves as “World Changers” and offers bursaries and scholarships to support students financially along the way.
The university is situated in the fashionable West End of Glasgow. It is just a stone’s throw away from the city center. The West End is home to numerous cafés, pubs, music venues, and vintage shops. It is widely regarded as a sort of ‘hipster paradise.’
National Geographic Traveller voted Glasgow the “coolest city in the UK”. It could be due in part to the impressive selection of music events across a range of genres on show throughout the year. Nevertheless, its reputation for the best shopping outside of London and its lively inhabitants. Glasgow was also voted the friendliest city in the world by readers of Rough guides and Conde Nast Traveler magazine.
French & German
I made the decision to do a joint honors degree combining French and German but it is possible to study either as a single honors subject. This will not have any impact on the length of time your degree takes to complete, as five years is the standard duration of an MA languages degree at the University of Glasgow.
In the first year, the course is structured as a split between language and culture. In the language modules, you will attend written and spoken classes. You can expect weekly translations, grammar homework, and preparation for spoken classes. In the culture modules, you will cover topics such as literature, history, and cinema to introduce you to key aspects of the culture
In the second year, you will expand your linguistic skills as the translation texts and spoken language topics become more complex. You will also study key themes in the society and culture of your chosen language. In your second year, you will be preparing for your year abroad, and it is worth noting that you will have to attain a certain language grade in order to go abroad in your 3rd Year.
3rd Year (Study Abroad)
This year will be spent in the country, or one of the countries, where your chosen language is spoken. Most students either spend this time working for the British council or studying in an Erasmus program at one of University of Glasgow’s partner universities.
I went to France during my year abroad and worked as a teaching assistant in a high school in Paris.
The university expects that during your year abroad you will immerse yourself in the language and culture. You will not have any exams or coursework this year but I would advise that you still regularly check your university emails in case there is anything important that comes up.
When you return from your year abroad you are able to choose your own culture modules based on your interests. There is a range of different options from literature, cinema, and history.
If you are a joint honors student, you will leave to spend at least 3 months in the country, or one of the countries, where your second language subject is spoken. Again, you can choose to do a semester at one of the partner universities or get an internship. In my case, I spent 6 months working in Germany.
It is worth noting that in this year, all your grades for your culture modules count towards your final mark.
This is your final year and is when you write your dissertation.This is your most important year and it is markedly more stressful because this is your last chance to improve your language skills before your final exams. This is why it is very important that you make the most of your time abroad because it will make your 5th year much easier and less stressful! As one of my tutors said, “you can’t cram a language” and unlike other degree subjects, you will not be able to study just for your final exams.
Expectations Vs. Reality
University is enjoyable and I am very grateful for all the opportunities I have had over the course of my degree. However, contrary to how languages degrees are depicted by the media and the pretty photos of exotic places you see on Instagram. A languages degree is not easy and will require a lot of dedication. Perhaps so than other degrees as you will be required to live abroad for a year at least. Saying, that, I certainly do not regret choosing this degree and it was definitely the right choice for me.
If you want to read more about university life outside of studying as well, check out some of our other blogs:
Also, just a heads up: your grammar textbook will be your new best friend.
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