The long wait is over and your results are in, you’ve finally been accepted to study Modern Languages at your chosen university. Good going! Wasn’t all too long ago that I was there too, here are few pointers I’ve prepared from my own personal experience studying Modern Languages and how you too can make it out alive.
To be top of your game you need to find the languages you are most passionate about, speaking one or two other languages fluently is much better than knowing enough to ‘get by’ in several. As students we’re stretched for time as it is without socialising, working part time jobs and writing essays. To really stand out we need to direct the time we do have being the best we can in our chosen languages. Develop a passion for them, watch films, read books and magazines in those languages and explore the countries where they speak them.
Learning a language by itself is great, but it’s important to develop skills which will allow you to put what you’ve learnt into practice . Translation and Teaching are good examples of this, knowing a language really well does not automatically mean you do either. Translation is an art in itself and knowing how to interpret those complex meanings and idioms in text is a skill that needs to be learnt. Learning to teach a language and engage with students also requires separate abilities. So check out whether your university offers modules in language skills and be sure to take at least one up to maximise your chances of employability once you’re graduated.
Learn the Culture
When you learn a language a whole new world opens up. By studying the aspects of its culture in particular you can improve your understanding of the language itself. Collocations, idiom and sayings usually always have a cultural root., think Shakespeare in English. Learning a language is much more than hours spent in a dark room pouring over grammar books. You get the opportunity to explore a new part of the world and make new friends you wouldn’t have otherwise! So check out your university’s study abroad program if it’s not part of your degree already, you wont regret it.
Language is for life
If you choose to study languages, be prepared to be in it for the long haul, a language takes years to hone and don’t expect too much too fast. Learning a language is one of the most rewarding things you can do, but it also requires a lot of discipline. Like any other skill it needs to be maintained. There’s a reason why most of my friends, and probably yours too, who like us studied a language at school but can now barely string a sentence together! Try to read or write a little each day to keep your new skill in check.
Do an Internship
And finally, taking up an Internship for a company such as TTCwetranslate is a great opportunity to get some first-hand experience and work alongside Project Managers, Translators and other roles related to the industry. University isn’t forever and learning how your skills can be applied in the real world after that eventual graduation will allow you to prove your worth not just to yourself but potential employers too.
If my own experience is anything to go by, these are going to be the best 3 or 4 years of your life. Put into practice the above pointers I have made and from here on it should be clear sailing.
Good Luck and live every moment!
About the author:
Joe Di Trolio is a student in his final year at the University of Essex and has studied Italian, French and Spanish. He has a passion for words, travelling and good food.
Blog: http://joeditrolio.wordpress.com/ Twitter: joeditrolio