Ciao, Hola, Bonjour, Hallo!
Read on to take a look at a student’s view of Modern Languages at York.
1. The size of the department
The languages section of the Department of Language and Linguistic Science is one of the smaller departments in the UK for Modern Languages, so your classes will be smaller than average. This not only means that you can get more direct contact time with your lecturer but there are also many more opportunities to be speaking in the target language and therefore improving your fluency, which is what you are here for!
2. The range of available modules
One of the great parts of the Modern Languages courses at York is the way that you can tailor the course to your likes and interests. There are compulsory language and society modules which develop your general knowledge of cultures and current issues and after the first year there are a range of module options for each language. You could end up studying anything from European Cinema to Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), Latin-American History or Italian Art.
3. A balance between languages and linguistics
York stands out from other universities because languages are a part of the linguistic science department. If you find yourself loving syntax, phonetics and all the science-based analysis of language in your first year then there are a huge range of linguistics modules available to study alongside, or even in place of your language modules. This could be a huge advantage if, like me, you can’t decide between languages or linguistics (in the end, after experiencing both, I have stuck with more language modules).
4. The great teaching staff
The staff at York are inspiring, approachable and most of all, great at teaching languages. They are experts in their particular fields and some have even written the book! If you ever have a problem they are always ready to help and have dedicated time slots in their weekly schedules for helping students, which are called ‘open hours’. If you have the chance to come and visit the University at an Open day or a Visit Day for Offer-Holders, I would highly recommend it so that you can see first-hand how friendly and willing to help all the staff are.
5. The focus on fluency
Thinking back to my visit day at York, what really impressed me was the focus on fluency in the target languages. Other universities that I visited revolved around lots of literature and English spoken lecturing, but the department at York is focused on life after university. Almost every lecture is 100% in the target languages, which might sound scary, but your listening and speaking skills will quickly develop. There is also a focus on current topics, and how the past has affected society today. This is great preparation for when you visit the countries that you are learning about, as you can understand the cultural differences and one day achieve the ultimate goal, i.e: being mistaken as a native speaker of your chosen language(s).
These 5 points are only the start of the many reasons why you should choose York for Modern Languages, there is also the great preparation available for your third year abroad which you can read about here, as well as a dedicated Modern languages hub in the library and an undeniably beautiful city to study in.