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Lizzie Porter Third year St John’s College


Languages at Oxford…there is a huge emphasis on literature, which means if you find novels and poetry a bore, this degree prob-


ably isn’t for you. That said, you discover an amazing amount about the history and culture of a country through its writings. If poems leave you cold then imagine you are reading a purely historical or philosophical text, to make things seem a bit less super- fluous!


I chose French because I knew a modern language would be a genuinely useful skill – which other degree automatically doubles the number of countries in which you can apply for jobs? Any language makes employ- ers’ eyeballs stick out on stalks when they read your CV, and graduates go and work in


teaching assistantship or go to university abroad, but some also do internships and work placements. It’s a unique opportu- nity when compared to other courses, and gives you a fantastic insight into the coun- tries where your language is spoken.


European and Middle Eastern


EMEL offers the chance to study two often very different languages, as well as different cultures, literary and historical traditions, art and architecture from two separate continents. In the first year, the Middle Eastern language is taught from scratch through regular, intensive language classes. The European language follows a similar pattern to the Modern Languages course. The year abroad may be taken in the second or third year and usually involves the academic year in one country and two summers in the other.


a vast range of industries, from publishing to politics to consulting. Tutors are brilliant- ly risqué in the topics they choose to teach. Easily the best bit of the course is the trans- lation element – you’ll find yourself looking at language in a completely new way.


Of course, the year abroad is a huge plus – not many degrees oblige you to go and spend nine months swanning around Paris (or Madrid, or Munich etc).


Modern languages are heavier than most other Arts degrees in terms of contact hours, but a 9am start every day is still unheard of. I’ve spent a lot of time editing the newspa- per The Oxford Student, which has been one of the best things I’ve done at university and has opened hundreds of doors.


Afterwards, I’m hoping to combine my degree and extra-curricular activities in a job in journalism or media consulting across the Channel.


The First Year Lectures


c. three to six per week Tutorials/Classes


Normally two to three per week Exams


Seven or eight written papers taken at the end of the year


Courses


Practical language work Linguistics options (Phonetics, General Linguistics, Grammar) or Single language options (Introduction to Film Studies, Literary Theory, etc.)


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