Lucy's Language Centre experience
Lucy is a third year Physics with Medical Physics MSci student who studied a French module in the Language Centre
"If I hadn't chosen Physics, I might have considered studying a French degree as I did it at A-level and really enjoyed it. I was always more drawn towards the science side and that sort of thing, but also love language learning."
I decided to study a language module at the Language Centre to give me some variety within my studies and to keep my French up as I didn't want to lose the skills I'd gained during my A-levels.
Finding the right level for me
"When I considered doing a year abroad, I discovered the Language Centre on the university website and made my decision to take this module. It was a straightforward process to get booked on, you can pick up a new language or continue one you already speak. The website explains which level is suitable for you, I also contacted a member of staff at the centre and she helped me make sure I'd selected the right level.
I took this module as part of the Nottingham Advantage Award which is a university-wide programme which helps improve your employability. You choose three different 10 credit modules and it is added to your degree certificate when you graduate."
What was is like?
"The academic staff at the Language Centre were always really helpful, I felt like I could email or message my teacher with any questions I had. I was in a group of eight students so and we were often put into breakout groups (due to lockdown we were learning online) in the engagement sessions, so you could chat to them and get to know them, which was really nice. There were students from most faculties.
This module was different to learning a language at school as it had a lot more emphasis on current issues, which I really liked. We spoke about climate change and the environment, which I'm really interested in. And we spoke about wider issues within society. We also discussed culture which was definitely on the A-level syllabus to some extent, but it was nice to have more discussion based conversations around it."
How were you assessed?
"We were assessed through two speaking exams, one of which was a mock phone conversation with our tutor pretending to be the owner of a company. The other was with a partner and we had to ask each other questions about a topic upon which we had pre-prepared. There was also a written exam. I was a little nervous prior to the speaking exams but it was ok."
My favourite French work is libellule, which means dragonfly.
How will you use your language skills?
"I'd love to use my newly improved French skills and hopefully live in France for a fairly prolonged period of time after I've graduated.
I think my language skills will open up opportunities for my future career. I was speaking to an awesome graduate that I met through a careers event who did a internship in Brussels, but speaking French, at a radio station. And I thought that was really cool. There's a lot of opportunities out there that I'm not really aware of, but I think having a language definitely helps.
One of the most challenging aspects of learning a language is maintaining the consistency. With languages you have to always be practising and working on it to keep the skills alive.
I love languages. In the UK, we don't really make the effort to learn languages as much as people from other countries do. I feel like it's definitely a undervalued skill. And it's really rewarding when you can start to see how much you've improved. I think that's a really positive thing."
Lucy's advice for language learners
- It's challenging when you're trying to balance all the other things that you're doing, but it's really rewarding.
- Try to set a time out each week to do some language practice, vocab or the homework that they set after the engagement. Making it into a habit is really useful.