Day-to-day life with two languages
Firstly, you are probably going to realise you have a few more classes and modules than your new housemates. Please do not to get scared or stressed by this! I have found that the number of contact hours in seminars has actually made managing work so much easier. Most teachers set you work that is manageable to get done within the few days between classes. As languages students, we also tend to have fewer lectures and more seminars. This means that it is a lot easier to stay on track and not procrastinate.
Another key part of everyday life is switching between your two chosen languages, a skill that takes a lot of practice, and one I don’t think I will ever fully master! I very often begin my Spanish classes with ‘Ciao’ and end my Italian seminars with ‘Adiós!’ However, there are definitely ways that can help you get into the right mindset before entering the classroom. I find that even just looking over some pre-reading or notes I have made for that class ten minutes prior can help me get my head around the language switch. It is also important to make sure you keep your notes quite separate – maybe even colour code them? This way, your brain hopefully will associate certain folders or colours with that language. At least that is what I have found helped!
My Top Tips
Something I do every day is choosing a random word and looking it up in both Italian and Spanish. I have a little chart where I write them all down and, slowly but surely, it is expanding my vocabulary in both languages.
Make friends on your course who are in the same boat as you! Last year I found it a little difficult at first to meet people due to Covid-19. But as things began to open up, especially now that we have in-person teaching, I have made some amazing friends on my course. It is such a weight off your shoulders being able to talk to others doing the same course as you who have similar interests and workloads.
Take ‘you’ time! Yes, doing two languages can keep you quite busy but there is still plenty of time to explore other hobbies of yours. I am part of multiple sports clubs as well as societies, and I find it is possible to balance socialising and nights out with studying. Sometimes the best way to improve your studies is to make sure you aren’t focusing on them 24 hours a day; having other hobbies makes you enjoy the time you do spend on your course so much more.
Opportunities for Languages Students
There are so many opportunities available for languages students that will be useful for you in the future! Firstly, the most obvious one is the year abroad. Some students may have a year abroad as a part of their degree from the get-go. But if you don’t, it is worth looking into, as it is possible to add it for all eligible students! As a 2nd-Year, I am currently investigating and finalising what I want to do in my year abroad. I have received lots of support and information from my tutors. If you are eligible, you have the opportunity to do work placements, study at university, or even teach in schools abroad.
Here at York, we have societies for many different languages, as well as a general ‘language and linguistics’ society. Some of the exciting socials you can look forward to include movie nights (featuring films in your chosen language), cooking classes and quizzes!
I hope you have found my ideas helpful, and feel excited about starting your journey here at York!