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What our students say …
In the MFL Department, there is a close-community feeling, whether students are taking French or Spanish as a minor, or just as a one-off module. Here’s what a few of our students had to say about study and life in the Department of Modern Foreign Languages:
Student profile: Francisco Rodrigues (International Relations with French)
I decided to take a minor in French at the University of Buckingham because I wanted to develop a language that I already had some knowledge of. I saw the programme and I thought it was an excellent programme because it did not only focus on the language but also on the civilisation aspect (politics, social issues and economy).
After my graduation I was accepted into an internship at the Portuguese delegation at the OECD in Paris. My French minor was essential to this internship for several reasons. Not only I got to work in an international organization where French, along with English, is the official language but also I got to live in France where speaking French is crucial. Also with the vast background I got from my French classes, I managed to understand French culture and politics easily.
Student profile: Koshu Kunii (Economics with French)
Taking French as a minor was one of the best decisions I made at Buckingham. Starting with a 3-month intensive fast-track French course, I reached French level 6 in only 2 years. Interactive and supportive lectures enabled us to stay motivated throughout the year, and the friendly, accessible faculty helped me with my weaknesses even outside the lecture hours. I especially liked that we learned about different topics each term, in which I could use what I learned in Economics classes. Lecturers put a lot of effort into lecture planning and provide us with detailed feedback, so we respond by participating in classes and doing independent work outside class. I am very glad that I could learn, and enjoy learning, a beautiful language in such encouraging community, which is what Buckingham is all about. I am now living in Geneva, Switzerland, applying French I learned at Buckingham in everyday life, from chitchats on the street to my internship at a hedge fund here.
Student profile: Claudia di Loreto (International Studies with French)
In today’s world being able to speak one or more foreign languages boosts one’s chances of finding a good job, especially for those who have a degree like International Studies. It is for this reason (as well as personal interest) that I chose to take French as a minor and Spanish as an option.
I am very happy with my choice. Not only are my language skills rapidly improving, but I am also learning about the economic and political aspects of French and Spanish speaking countries. The topics and activities are interesting and vary according to the level. Reading and commenting on recent news is one of my favourite activities. All lecturers are very friendly and professional. The MFL department is lively and familiar, with a vibrant social scene; sometimes we watch movies or have drinks with other students. If you decide to study languages at the University of Buckingham you will not be disappointed!
Student profile: Nityam Dabee (Law with French)
Having combined French language with my Law degree has turned out to be utterly beneficial to me.
I left my bilingual country (English / French) a few years back to come study in the UK. This caused me to lose touch with the language of love. However, backed by committed, friendly, helpful and very accessible teachers as well as the small size of the classes, I managed to get back and considerably improve both my oral and writing skills, eventually obtaining perfect results at the exams. Furthermore, as I intend to pursue a career in law in the near future, this will be of enormous help to me in the law courts of my country where the jurisdiction is largely “en français”.
I would firmly recommend studying a foreign language at Buckingham!
Student profile: Sarah Kerrison (International Studies with Spanish)
I studied International Studies and Spanish at Buckingham University; to learn another language can be invaluable whether professionally or for pleasure. Spanish is at the moment the fourth most spoken language in the world and growing in numbers, so I thought to be able to combine learning another language with my degree subjects would be perfect.
In my experience I have found that the university is committed to helping you achieve your potential and best possible grades and this is reflected in the dedicated hard work of the lecturers. The department offers you the chance to begin at a level that suits you if you have had previous experience of learning the language or to start from the beginning – like I did. The classes in Spanish are small numbers and this means you get the attention of the lecturers that you otherwise may lack from a larger university; lecturers also reassure you that they are always available to assist even outside of lesson times, which is especially helpful near exam time!
I have totally enjoyed my course at the University of Buckingham and would definitely recommend learning another language!
Student profile: Viresh Jansari (International Studies with French)
The only two factors necessary for learning any language are motivation and a good learning method. So the motivated amongst you are indeed lucky: Buckingham sports a wonderful language department with very friendly teachers. I was lucky enough to study both French and Spanish and, thanks to the efforts of my tutors, I achieved excellent results in both.
Why study a language as part of your degree? Two reasons. Firstly, knowledge of a foreign language gives you a clear advantage in an increasingly competitive and globalised job market. Second, and perhaps most crucially, it gives one a certain je ne sais quoi, a particular charm which can be most favourable when engaging in courtship rituals with your fellow lady or gentleman. Think James Bond.
Student profile: Anastasiya Ostapchuk (International Studies with Spanish)
When I found out that the University of Buckingham offers Spanish classes, I thought to myself that I shall definitely do those as part of my degree – International Studies. The first reason for that is because I like the Spanish language itself and I always wanted to learn it. The second and the most important reason is that there are so many Spanish-speaking countries in the world, hence I think the knowledge of Spanish is very important when you are working with different nations and even continents in the area of international relations. Spanish already helps me to communicate with different Spanish-speaking people, and I am sure that this knowledge will be useful when building my career in the future. I also would like to mention the staff of the Department, whose excellent knowledge, teaching approach and enthusiasm have made studying Spanish an unforgettable experience for me.
Student profile: Ummi Khalthum Umaru (Business Economics)
I’ve always been fascinated and slightly in love with French; the language, the food, the culture, the people … and by choosing to continue my pursuit of French fluency in Buckingham I was not disappointed. The main factor that wooed me was the option of taking it as a volunteer before I could have free choice options in my degree. In addition, the Department’s cohesive nature, flexibility and friendly and supportive staff had a bearing as well. And when I finally did start studying it, the small class sizes were an added bonus, a real treasure. All in all, I am completely satisfied with the outcome of my decision and my French is not so bad either!
Student profile: Sharmaigne Shives (Law with Spanish)
I decided to include Spanish as part of my Law degree for several reasons; first and foremost, to get a leg up on the competition as far as employability. In my country, the United States, a sizable and growing section of the population speaks Spanish as their mother tongue so it can go a long way toward securing that ever so important 1st job. Second, I thought (correctly I might add) that studying a language would break up the heavy reading load that a Law degree entails … some mental / linguistic gymnastics for the brain to keep the work interesting. The third and most important reason, I wanted to be able to sit around the dinner table with my friends in Estepona and have a real conversation … I’m almost there!
Student profile: Adrian Hunt (Law with Spanish)
A key factor in my decision to study at Buckingham was the opportunity to study a foreign language as a minor subject to my programme. This was important to me as my career goals include working internationally. At Buckingham, I was able to greatly improve both my verbal and written skills in the Spanish language. The course structure was especially helpful as it focussed on different aspects of Spanish culture which made learning the language more interesting and enjoyable. Additionally, the language department’s resources like the satellite room and foreign literature allowed for convenient independent learning that reinforced the material learnt from the lecture hours. The confidence I gained to express myself in Spanish as a result has been a very rewarding personal accomplishment that in addition to helping my career prospects has inspired an appreciation of the language.
Student profile: Patricia Prada (International Studies with French)
I should have listened to my mother’s advice before! It often happens that we don’t always pay much attention to what our parents say unless they say what we want to hear! Right? She always thought I would enjoy studying French. She often told me what a wonderful and interesting language it was and what possibilities it would bring for my future career.
When I came to Buckingham I chose to do International Studies and French. I am convinced that it was a very good decision. I have learned another language that will be very useful for my profession and I have shared my experiences with a fantastic group of students who made our French lessons a lot of fun. I’m sure that with the skills and knowledge we gained from this course we will be ready (at least) for our ‘ bonnes vacances ‘!
Of course this wouldn’t have been possible without the help of the brilliant staff in MFL and especially our tutors.
So guess what? My mother was right! Shall I tell her now?
Student profile: Patrick Boch (Law)
Though I am studying Law, I chose Spanish as one of my second year options to enhance my existing speaking and writing skills. I found the teaching to be nothing less than excellent: the lecturers are always well-prepared; their explanations of grammar are clear; and the classroom atmosphere is light, so you’re never afraid of making a fool of yourself when saying something. My Spanish has markedly improved since July and I am confident that knowing an additional language will prove a valuable asset to my future employers.
Student profile: Edwina Emery (Marketing with French)
I came to study at Buckingham, thanks to the Desborough Scholarship, in January 2004, and have now graduated with a First Class degree (BSc Hons Marketing with French).
Of all the facilities I saw at university open days across the country, those at Buckingham were the best by far. The student:staff ratio and the round-the-clock library, Internet and building accessibility are some of Buckingham’s best features. Of particular importance to me were those of the MFL Department: the language labs, TV room, press publications… not to mention the willing, enthusiastic and extremely approachable staff.
For me, languages have always been a passionate area of study, and even if you flinch at the thought of an oral exam, you will not find a better place to learn them than at Buckingham.