A-Level students look forward to languages summer school

A-Level students look forward to languages summer school

On 28 and 29 June, 62 A-Level languages students from across the country will be coming to the campus for Linguastars, a summer school which will give them the chance to find out about studying languages at university and to explore all of the opportunities open to them in the future if they choose to study languages.

We asked some of the delegates about why they had chosen to come to Linguastars and what they were hoping to gain from the experience and here's what they told us:

"Languages enable you to access a whole other culture, form of communication and, most importantly for me, a country’s tradition of literature. Hopefully, Linguastars will show me the ways in which languages can be learned not just in a formal, institutional environment but a more casual, accessible environment too. As a non-Russian speaker attending as a Russian delegate (but studying Russian history) I am excited to meet the other delegates. I am looking forward to the Comparative Literature session as that is the degree I wish to study, rather than the more traditional English Literature, and hopefully these two days will give me a taste of learning a language in order to accompany the learning of literature. Translations are great, but to hear the sound and word order of what a writer wishes to portray is one of the most important parts of literature." (Urussa, Halifax)

"Linguastars was an opportunity offered to me by my teacher in school and at first hearing of it I decided it would benefit me greatly to take part in the programme. I was interested in partaking as enjoy learning languages, especially speaking the language and conversing with others. In addition I also find cultures and cultural differences fascinating to learn about. Therefore Linguastars seemed to me an opportunity to be able to learn a new language as well as meeting others who had the same interests and aspirations as I did.

From the experience I am expecting a chance to talk to others but also to learn a new language that I have never had chance to engage with before. Additionally I am looking forward to the chance of being able to visit a Russel Group university and find out what it would be like to study there. Above all I believe I am looking forward to the chance to learn my new language, Italian, and to explore the similarities and differences it has to other languages that I currently study.

Hopefully Linguastars will offer me the chance to engage with new languages and concepts that I have not had chance to explore yet as well as giving me insights into learning languages at a degree level.  As well as this I am looking forward to going to university and seeing a university through the eyes of a prospective student as somewhere I wish to apply to. I’m sure I will enjoy Linguastars and it will give me advice that will aid me and be very useful for the future and my university application." (Henry, Beverley)

"I have studied Spanish over the last six years throughout school and college and it's always been my favourite subject! It's a subject in which I can recognise my progression through every single lesson, which is such a rewarding feeling when languages are such tough subjects. The continual development over the course of this year has been incredible and the feeling of achievement makes me want to aspire further into the study of languages. I believe that communication is incredibly important in our international livelihoods and with only 25% of the world's population speaking English, the use of modern foreign languages is such a useful tool, whether it's to help in business or leisure. Therefore, I believe that having a languages qualification stands you in great stead for future. 

Linguastars seemed like a great opportunity to be introduced to the environment which languages would be taught in at Leeds University and it would give me a better insight of the course details- especially since I am so confused about what to combine my degree with! Furthermore, I loved the idea of learning Italian as this is something I may potentially combine with my current modern foreign language to degree level. I hope this would make me feel a little more at ease when clicking send of the UCAS application of my chosen course in January!

In addition to this, I am excited to meet other linguists with similar interests to myself so that I can listen to their chosen university pathways. Moreover, I'm particularly looking forward to meet linguists who study a different language to myself so I can learn similarities and differences in the language and culture." (Megan, Pontefract)

"Languages are hard. They are surprisingly technical and complex for such an essential form of communication, a fact that actively encourage me to loathe language lessons with every inch of my being for several years. They were too difficult and not worth the time or effort, at least, that was my opinion. This seems considerably irrelevant now, given my current situation.

For the first time in my life this February, I went to Spain. Somehow I ended up taking Spanish as an A-level, despite my long-standing aversion to the subject, and I can happily blame one of the most enthusiastic people I’ve ever known for my very sudden change in heart.

There’s an odd kind of indescribable awe and pride involved in managing to express yourself coherently and understand someone else in a language that is not your own. Even if it’s just a few sentences: it’s honestly the most amazing thing I’ve ever achieved. The ability to communicate with other people who possess a vastly different culture, despite their geographical proximity, and learn about so many new things and meet so many new people is both terrifying and incredible.

The biggest thing I have found about languages is that they teach you how to make mistakes and how to not really care afterwards, which isn’t exactly easy.

With this in mind, my main reason for coming to Linguastars is so that I can improve my confidence; I want to get better at making mistakes and even better at learning from them. Not just that, but the event gives me the opportunity to become a little bit more independent and to learn to rely on myself more.

I’m not really sure what to expect, but I definitely know that I’m going to meet loads of other people who love languages. Considering there are only two of us in my Spanish class, it is certainly going to be a great experience for me to meet other people who enjoy the subject. Also, possibly, the best part. Who knows?" (Molly, Boston in Lincolnshire)

"As an enthused language learner, I was immediately drawn to the opportunity offered by Linguastars to study languages in a university setting, with others who share my passion. I am most looking forward to the Interpreting taster session, as it has been my ambition for a long time to become an interpreter for French and for German. I love the ability that languages give me to communicate with such a wide range of people. Knowing multiple languages opens so many doors as you are able to make friends with people from different backgrounds, cultures and philosophical and political viewpoints. I have found it a richly rewarding experience to make friends with foreign language speakers (e.g. on trips abroad) and thus widen my horizons. By studying languages I am becoming more confident in my ability to manage to live and work in a foreign country, which has been my dream for several years. I am hoping to learn from others who have been abroad about their experiences, and thus pick up advice and better equip myself for the transition. I am hoping to extend my knowledge of German at Linguastars, particularly the grammar, as I am intrigued by the mechanics of language and how a language is structured. We all use language on a daily basis, and as a very inquisitive person I enjoy understanding the structure of it, rather than just knowing something 'sounds right' through lifelong repetition. I also enjoy exploring the cultural aspect and would appreciate any chance to study film or literature at Linguastars. I've found that films help to enable me to pick up on idiomatic and informal phrases as well as subtleties in pronunciation. Furthermore, as an English Literature student I enjoy literary analysis, but as of yet have not had the chance to extend this to other languages! I am also excited to try some taster sessions in other modern foreign languages, as in normal school lessons we don't have the opportunity to learn less common languages, such as Catalan, so this would be a really unique and stimulating experience for me." (Sophie, Halifax)

"My initial thoughts on learning a language are that a language provides you with an insight into different cultures and allows you to express feelings that may not be conveyed as easily in English. I love how different arrangements or patterns of letters can hold the same meaning but look completely different, and also how words that look extremely similar may have no similarity in terms of meaning. I have always enjoyed Spanish lessons, for the one part because of the quality of teaching I have received throughout the years.  Learning a language has been fun.  AS level Spanish has given me the opportunity to meet like-minded people. There are five people in my Spanish group and we have become a ‘Spanish family’ – Spanish would not be the same without them. Comparing Spanish culture to my own experiences is fascinating and being in such a small group has allowed us all to take chances and to lose any embarrassment we might have felt if we make mistakes in grammar and pronunciation. Attending this year’s Linguastars will, I expect, assist me in deciding whether I want to attend University in the future.  I am interested to explore whether a Spanish degree is the right choice for me and I hope Linguastars will show me how languages can be applied to the workplace and the career choices a language degree can offer.  I am grateful for the chance to spend some time on campus at Leeds to experience some of the facilities available and what it would be like to be totally immersed in Spanish in lectures.  I lack confidence in speaking Spanish and feel Linguastars will encourage me to think in and speak the language. I am looking forward to 28 June.”