Only languages allow you to study politics, philosophy, music, literature, history, geography, art, then generously finances you to live abroad

Undergraduate student
BA Modern Languages & Cultures
Anna studied French and Spanish at Sheffield

Why did you choose Sheffield to study Languages?

I tried not to study at Sheffield. My brother studied Music here, and my dad did his Master’s and PhD within the Biblical Studies department, so I really felt it was time for a change. However, I couldn’t go anywhere else! The language department was the perfect size, the lecturers were friendly and personal, and most importantly, they have an impressive specialism in Francophone and Latin American studies, which is pretty vital for someone doing a French and Spanish degree with minimal interest in France and Spain. Coming here was one of the best decisions that I have made. Sheffield is friendly; full of life and surrounded by the incredible peak district. Somewhere that I used to come on holiday is now on my doorstep, whilst I study a University course that reshapes how I see myself and the world.

What do you particularly enjoy about your degree programme?

Only languages allow you to study politics, philosophy, music, literature, history, geography, art, then generously finances you to live abroad. Some of my favourite modules have involved: taking part in an album of Latin American music, reading Senegalese literature, discovering the Haitian Revolution, and reading political journals about how US foreign policies have enormous influence over the Mexican economy. The diversity and creativity in my degree means that I am constantly challenged. My understanding of “truth” has changed; my understanding of “history” and who recounts it, has been up-ended, and after my year abroad, who I am has radically changed, and I owe it to my degree programme.

If you're a dual student, what do you enjoy about doing a dual degree?

Learning Spanish from beginners was a huge challenge. Yet after having lived in Peru for seven months and hardly spoken any English, it is also one of the most rewarding things that I have ever undertaken. Combining Spanish with French, I am discovering the enormous effect that France and Spain across the world, and as I focus particularly around the continued effects of colonialism on West Africa and Latin America. Furthermore, a dual degree has also allowed me to live in Senegal and Peru within one year; an experience that would never otherwise have been possible for me, and massively widened my worldview.

Where did you go and what did you do during your year abroad?

I spent four months living in Dakar, Senegal, doing an internship in IFAN Museum that promotes pre-conquest African civilisations. I then worked for six months in a private school as a language assistant high in Cajamarca, Peru: a small Andean city on the edge of Latin America’s largest goldmine.

How would you sum up your overall experience of studying at Sheffield?

Sheffield has taken who I am and the way that I see the world, mashed it all together, then reconstructed it. I walk away from most lectures confused and bemused and encouraged, with enough questions and skills to now walk into the world of work: a completely different person to who I was on my first Open Day.

What skills do you feel your time at Sheffield has given you?

Studying at Sheffield has taught me to effectively use my time, to prioritise, to reflect, to speed-read, and to relax under uncertainty. I can now ride a mountain bike down a steep(ish) slope, climb a wall, squelch into Megatron, and promise you that Henderson’s Relish is NOT a substitute for soy sauce. I can affably chat in three languages, and have the ambition and enthusiasm to nose into some new adventures.

What are your plans for after you graduate?

I am considering working in a language ambassador graduate scheme or learning Tigrinya, and eventually doing a Master’s Degree in global migration.

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