Why did you choose Bristol?
Choosing Bristol was a very easy decision for me.
As an internationally renowned institution University of Bristol had always caught my eye as a brilliant place to study. But this was confirmed for me when I attended one of the open days.
The School of Modern Languages seemed vibrant, diverse and the course structure intellectually stimulating. All of the staff and students I met were friendly and open and seemed genuinely enthused.
One of the biggest draws was how integrated the University precinct is into the city itself. There are students everywhere, but the University doesn’t feel cut off. Instead it seems to form an integral part of this wonderful city.
What aspect of the course have you found the most useful?
The most beneficial aspect of studying languages at Bristol is the flexibility to combine all of my academic interests in one degree programme.
Not only will I leave Bristol with two concrete skills - the ability to speak German and Spanish at a very high level - but I have also had the chance to study foreign literature, explore the diverse histories and cultures of the countries in which the languages are spoken and develop an interest in linguistics that I did not discover until starting Bristol.
One of the best things about the School of Modern Languages is that the tutors and lecturers all get to know you on a personal basis because the class and lecture sizes are so small. Each tutor knows my name, my strengths, what interests me and will genuinely go out of their way to help me.
How did you spend your year abroad?
My year abroad was, without doubt, the best year of my life so far.
For the first half I took an internship in Munich with a small business that organises gap years for German teenagers. I found the job through an advert on the University of Bristol website, applied and interviewed for the job, which was invaluable experience for future job applications I will do.
The second half of my year abroad was spent doing an Erasmus study semester in the beautiful city of Seville in southern Spain. Studying was a fantastic way to meet plenty of other students (from both Spain and all over the globe) as well as really get to know the city and its culture. Bristol organised this study placement for me, so all I had to do was turn up!
The best way to learn a language is to immerse oneself in it completely and this is exactly what the year abroad provides; I returned with the confidence of knowing that I could deal with any situation I was faced with in the foreign language.
However the value of the year abroad for me goes beyond my improved linguistic ability in that it made me a more open, more adventurous and more confident person, which will no doubt help me in the job market in later life.
It was very comforting to know that Bristol was always there to help me should I need it. As well as having a personal tutor (who I have had from the start of my degree through to the end) I was also assigned a second tutor in the other language for any academic queries I had during that part of my year abroad.
The SWAP team was also a wonderful support network for any general concerns I had about jobs, Erasmus, money or placements.
What plans do you have for when your course has finished?
My current plans after graduating are to spend a few months travelling around South America and hopefully spend a month or two teaching English in one city, so I can really get to know a specific place.
After this I hope to apply to a Master’s programme specialising in Linguistics in Germany. I can’t wait to move back abroad, discover new places and develop the skills that Bristol has helped me to acquire.
Studying languages at Bristol has opened my eyes to the world beyond my home town and given me the confidence and desire to explore what the rest of the world has to offer me.
Anna Collier, BA German and Spanish (2015)
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