Graduate Profiles

Marina Barker

BA in Russian and Hispanic Studies

Why Russian at Sheffield?Marina Barker

I decided to study languages because of my love of travelling and different cultures. I particularly wanted to develop my Russian, which I already had some knowledge of through having a Russian family background, as it is an important language in many job sectors and business in general. The department at Sheffield stood out as extremely friendly and attentive to individual circumstances. It is also a very well respected and high-ranking department.

On the open day, it was refreshing to see that the university was well integrated with the city and that students felt welcomed and weren’t isolated, which is something I came across when visiting some other universities. I found Sheffield to be an incredibly friendly city with lots going on, and it is neither too big nor too small - the perfect place for students.

The course was challenging but pushed me to achieve the level of language ability that I was aiming for, as well as developed my understanding of the culture and history of Russia. I liked the fact that the modules during first year provided an overview of Russian culture and you could then focus on the areas that you were most interested in in your second and fourth year. I chose a mixture of modules in visual culture and literature, and also linguistics, which I found really interesting.

The Year Abroad

The Year Abroad was such an invaluable and exciting part of the course. I was nervous about being away for so long, but in the end I didn’t want to leave. Before heading off to Spain for the second semester, I spent four months studying at the Language Link School in Moscow, which was an amazing experience. The school was a really warm and welcoming environment and the teachers were lovely, organising all sorts of interesting trips, such as taking us to the theatre, which is a must when studying in Moscow. There are so many things to do and see in Moscow that by the end of four months I had barely ticked off half of my cultural to-do list. There was never a dull moment and the generosity and hospitality of the people I met out there was amazing. I would definitely like to go back, as well as do some more travelling around Russia.

Skills beyond language

Overall, I could not be happier with my decision to study Russian at Sheffield. During the course I also picked up new skills such as giving presentations and evaluating information critically and I feel like I have developed into more of a well-rounded individual. I am looking forward to using my languages in the future.