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Natalie Firth Fourth year St Anne’s College


I come from a Catholic state school in the North- West and was the first person to get into Oxbridge for quite a few years (and


the first girl for ages!) so I was a bit nervous about coming here. With hindsight, there was absolutely no need to be since most of the stories I heard before I came turned out to be completely false.


There is no ‘typical’ student who studies Chinese. I did French, Spanish, English Lit and General Studies at A-level and AS Level Maths, but I have friends on the same course who did three sciences and no languages at all. What really counts is your passion for the subject. I was intrigued by the thought of studying Chinese after watching the Beijing Olympics.


ing parts of an Oriental Studies course. De- spite the challenges which will inevitably crop up it’s some of the most fun you’ll have at university, with great opportunities to travel and explore the country you’re studying in and to make friends you’ll nev- er forget. Being immersed in a language is an incredibly effective learning method, and the knowledge you gain from your year abroad can be applied to more in-depth study of the culture. It is possible to tailor your degree towards your particular inter- ests through writing an undergraduate dis- sertation on a topic of your choice.


For many students an undergraduate de- gree in Oriental Studies can feel like it’s only the beginning. But whether you de- velop a life-long passion or turn your atten- tion elsewhere once you graduate, a degree in Oriental Studies is a fantastic choice which will give you a great university expe- rience and a degree that makes you stand out from the crowd.


Chinese is actually a four year course with the second year spent studying at Peking University. It’s a very small course within the University which means you get to know nearly everybody in the department. The course at Oxford is quite unique because we all have to study Classical Chinese from the very first term and we also have to learn traditional characters (like those used in Taiwan and Hong Kong and not just the modern, simplified characters they use in Mainland China today). At present, I split my study time between modern language work, Classical Chinese and studying history and culture.


I’m not sure what I want to do after I graduate, but studying Chinese has equipped me with a lot of transferable skills. My friends are looking at teaching abroad, studying law, working in a museum or going into the civil service; so who knows? The variety involved in studying Chinese can prepare you for almost anything!’


The First Year Lectures


c. five per week Tutorials


Normally one per week Exams


Three to four written papers taken at the end of the year


Courses


Elementary Language History and Culture


Intensive Lanuage Teaching Introduction to Ancient and Modern History


Survey of Civilisations 177


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