28 September 2022

University study: it's up to you

What is it like to study German at Sheffield? We asked Marta Siwakowska who studies for a BA Modern Languages and Cultures in German, Dutch and Italian.

student sitting on a wall with mountains in the background

"I’m sure that many of you are wondering: what am I going to achieve during my time at university? What level of language will I reach? The good news is: it’s up to you. The bad news: it’s also up to you.

What I mean by this is that at university you are the person who controls what you want to learn and how much effort you want to put in. Of course, all of this will be reflected in your grades, but no one will chase you if you don’t get a satisfactory grade. Thankfully, at Sheffield you will get a team of amazing lecturers from the Germanic section who will support you in your linguistic and cultural passion. This story of my time at Sheffield perfectly exemplifies the support I received.

As part of our degree we can choose to write a dissertation. The topic of my dissertation was: ‘Austria and the Netherlands — The (Un)equal Countries? A Comparison of Government and Media Responses to Educational Inequalities in the Netherlands and Austria’. And no, we didn’t have any lectures/classes/module related to this topic. Yet my supervisors agreed because they saw that I had a genuine interest in this topic and it would bring together my linguistic knowledge and my interest in educational inequality. More importantly, while researching the topic I could use all of the skills that I developed thanks to my lectures: the ability to analyse sources, critical thinking and ability to see one detail within a broader perspective.

I received all the support I needed to deepen my knowledge in the subject that I chose and in this way I created a thirty page paper (I really couldn’t believe that I did it!). And I know that it wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for all the support I received from the Germanic department.

At Sheffield you will get a team of amazing lecturers from the Germanic section who will support you in your linguistic and cultural passion.

Marta Siwakowska

BA Modern Languages and Cultures

And I think that’s the best thing about studying languages in Sheffield: the department really allows you to develop your own interests and gives you all the tools to deepen them so that you are ready to do with them whatever you want." 

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