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A Week in the Life of a Languages Student

The first thing to mention is that languages at York are actually taught in the language you’re studying (that seems obvious, but it baffles me that so many other unis teach in English)! And you’re in seminar groups of around 15 students. This means you get a lot of speaking practice which is really beneficial.

If you have linguistics modules, you’ll have a lecture (actually in English) and a seminar as well. In our language modules, we tend to learn about practical, current topics, like national identity in French or the impact of the Berlin Wall in German.

Modules

I had 4 modules this term so my weekly timetable looked a bit like this:

Morning Afternoon Evening
Monday German Language and Society III French Language and Society III Netball fitness
Tuesday Modern German Language
Wednesday No classes today, so I’ll work on assignments or do some course reading.

In the evenings, I either go to my friend Adam’s aerobics class or a couple of weeks ago, I went to a free lecture about the Spanish flu, which was really interesting!

Thursday German Language and Society III French Language and Society III Netball training
Friday Translation lecture German Translation seminar
Saturday Course reading for a few hours and I will usually also have a netball match, either in the morning or the afternoon.
Sunday This can depend. Sometimes I’ll have a film night with my friends, or we might go out for a meal. Or I might just stay in a binge watch the Kardashians (don’t judge me!)

French Language

In French at the moment, we’ve been studying the concept of France as a nation and having workshops to improve our level of sophistication. It’s been really useful to practise writing a coherent text.

German Language

In German, we’re discussing memory and how Germany deals with its past. Specifically focusing on the GDR. It’s really interesting seeing the thought processes behind things like the memorial in Berlin and the impact it’s had.

Modern German Language

The Modern German Language module has been really enjoyable because it’s a research module, so you get to pick your own topic, which always makes it more interesting!

Translation

Translation is great because it’s a practical skill. It can be pretty difficult, especially in German. But it’s also a lot of fun and you learn about a lot of different topics whilst you’re translating the texts.

Private study

For my private study, I either go to the library, the Spring Lane Building (which is a new teaching building on Heslington West) or back home. The library is always good because you have a choice of study areas. You can either go to a ‘studious buzz zone’ where you can discuss ideas with people and you can even write on the walls! Or you can go to a silent study area if you really need to concentrate.

Spring Lane is generally the most convenient for me because I have a lot of my seminars there. But if I feel like working by myself or I just fancy going back to bed (those 9ams are no joke), I’ll go home and work there. There are places you can study on Heslington East too, like the Piazza, so I don’t feel like I always have to work in my room. Sometimes it’s good to separate work from home.

Sport

Langwith College netball team
Langwith College netball team

One of the best things I did at uni was to join the Langwith College netball team. It’s been a great way to meet new people and get a bit of fresh air. I think this is really important so you don’t go out of your mind doing uni work! I’ve played for the team every year and was even the 2s Captain in my second year.

On Mondays, I’ve got a fitness session for netball. This involves some drills and then a run around Heslington East campus (where Langwith is). On Thursdays, we have our normal training session which is in the Sports Centre on Heslington West. And Saturdays we have a match against another college.

But if netball doesn’t take your fancy, there are loads of different activities you can get involved in. My friends do everything from Ballroom and Latin to Handball and Swing Dance. There really is something for everyone!

Societies

German Society Christmas meal
German Society Christmas meal

Oh and I mustn’t forget – I’m President of the German Society.

When you’re in York, definitely check out the language societies. It’s a great way to make new friends and practise speaking to actual native speakers (and eat lots of Lebkuchen)!

My friends and I also love pub quizzes. We’ve found a good one in a local pub which we are absolutely smashing. I’m probably the least helpful team member but I’m happy to take the credit for the winning streak!

Careers

On a more serious note, it’s now come to the point where I can’t put it off any longer – I do actually have to get a job! So, I’ve spent a lot of time in Careers this term. As well as going to their Drop-In Sessions, I’ve been to several Job Fairs to talk to potential employers to try and get a feel for what I want to do after finishing my degree.

Don’t worry if you have no idea, or haven’t even thought about it yet, there’s a lot of support here to help you figure something out.


I hope this has been of some use to you, good luck with your exams and we hope to see you in September!

Published by

Hannah

Hi! I'm Hannah, a fourth year student here at the University of York studying French and German. I have had a great time at York these past 4 years. I've mainly spent it studying, playing netball and binge watching Friday Night Dinner with my friends.