A Week in the Life: Languages

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Published by Harvey
on 14/01/2019

Hi everyone – I hope you all had a great holiday, even if it did go too quickly!

With the Spring Term starting this week, I thought it would be nice to get back into the swing of things by writing about my typical week as a Modern Languages student here at UoB!

I study currently study two languages – German, which I studied at A level, and French, which I started as a beginner last year. I have a few more language classes in French as a result, but I get to choose more optional modules in German, so there’s a good balance between them.

In total, I usually have around 18 hours per week, which is more than most Arts and Humanities students, but we get a lot of time with native speakers to practice our language skills!

It’s not often you hear that Mondays are the best day of the week, but for me that’s certainly true! I only have one class at 4pm, so I like to use Mondays to get ahead on this week’s reading. This can be anything from Medieval German literature, to a French newspaper article from last week, via the traditional journal articles and books.
I usually spend my Mondays in the library as it’s a much more formal study space which helps me concentrate. There are group and silent study spaces, a media room with a good collection of foreign language DVDs and CDs, 300 PCs, so there’s something to fit all study habits!

Today is much busier, but also much more interesting! I have four classes on Tuesday, all of which focus on something completely different. My French grammar class is followed by the German culture lecture, which this semester took us back in time to Germany before 1815. This was both terrifying (because of the language differences) but also fascinating (because it was a period I’d never studied before). After this, I have a seminar on German politics followed by a literature seminar, before heading home to do some work (and some gaming…) with my housemate and some of our friends.

After my French lecture, I spend a few hours in the Mason Lounge, a relaxed study space in the Arts Building, with loads of desks and PCs to suit different ways of working (and if you want to find somewhere quiet on campus, come in on Wednesday afternoons – it’s much quieter as there’s no teaching!).
Staying late, I head to my free Russian course at 6pm. These are open to all students and are offered in a really wide range of languages from Italian to Arabic and Japanese, at various levels. If you’re a current student, look out for the chance to sign up for next year this may!

Most of my classes are early afternoon, so I like to try and cook my dinner from scratch on a Thursday because I know it’s the one day that I have time to do it properly! (even if I’m not very adventurous, I usually switch between the student classics of spag bol and fajitas)

After a lazy morning, I head to campus at around 1pm, with four hours of German language classes taking me up to 6pm (though we have a cake rota in our 4pm seminar, which definitely makes it easier to stay awake!).

The weekend

Saturdays are for the Xbox, Netflix and rest. This is a rule I’ve had since secondary school, and it’s one I intend to follow! I can’t tell you how important it is to give yourself a break and allow yourself some time off each week to focus on yourself and doing what you enjoy!

Sundays are usually spent tied to my desk with two or three books, catching up on grammar and vocab exercises mixed in with some additional reading to get ready for next week…

And that’s my week! If you have any questions about life at UoB, or topics you’d like me to blog about, feel free to message me on Instagram at @harvey_uob
Thanks so much for reading, and good luck for the spring term!