Being able to study three subjects has only added to my rich experiences here at the university

Undergraduate student
BA History and Modern Languages & Cultures
Experience of studying a dual degree with Languages (German & Dutch) and History

Why did you choose Sheffield to study Languages?

I actually applied to Sheffield to study single honours History. I was attracted to the University due to its academic reputation, the range of modules I would be able to study and the fact that Sheffield seemed like a nice place to live. When I arrived however, I had enough space in my timetable to fit in all the compulsory German first year modules. I then decided halfway through my first year to switch to the dual honours programme so that I could go on a year abroad.

What do you particularly enjoy about your degree programme?

I enjoy the sense of accomplishment I feel when I am able to read or listen to something in German or Dutch. I also really enjoy being able to write essays on topics that interest me and picking apart historians' arguments. I also really enjoyed my time abroad in Münster. Although it was a little curtailed due to coronavirus, I was able to play with a student orchestra in Münster cathedral, visit the Aachen Christmas Markets and spend almost every weekend in a different city across Germany. Alongside that I really developed my language skills and confidence, and was able to open and close my bank account in German. Going abroad not only developed my language skills but also gave me access to a whole range of experiences that have enriched me as a person.

Are there any modules that you have particularly enjoyed during your degree so far, and why?

On the history side, I have really enjoyed my final year special subject module called ‘Tools of Empire’. It is an examination of the history of science and medicine primarily in India, with a focus on colonial narratives. It has been fascinating to learn about and has helped to broaden my knowledge of an area I previously knew very little about. On the languages side, I would like to give a nod to my second year literature module ‘German Culture and Ideas from the Enlightenment to the Present Day’. Typically, I am not that interested in literature modules or literary analysis, but the way that this module was taught, with a heavy emphasis on context and cultural movements, really brought the subject to life. I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed studying the module, and would highly recommend not just that module, but also studying things that initially don’t necessarily call to you – you never know, it might end up transforming your opinion!

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

I really enjoy studying for a dual degree as it allows you to pick up skills from two different subject areas. I find that research and analysis skills that I have picked up through studying history have really furthered my language studies and made it easier for me when studying option modules, whilst my languages have allowed me to read sources that otherwise wouldn't be available to me on the history side of things. In addition, it gives you the opportunity to learn in different ways and ensures that I'm never bored as I use different mindsets and study techniques for both subjects. I was nervous to switch to a dual honours course at first because I thought it would somehow take something away from my courses and leave me in limbo between the two subjects, but I couldn't have been more wrong. The module choices on offer are the still the same and I've honestly found that being able to study three subjects (German, History and Dutch) has only added to my rich experiences here at the university.

What do you like about Sheffield as a university and/or city?

I really enjoy how most things are within walking distance. It's fantastic exercise and it allows me to get really familiar with the city. I also really enjoy how despite being a large city, Sheffield still feels like a place you can really get to know. In terms of the university, aside from my course I also cannot speak highly enough of the students' union. It really is a step above most of the rest in the country, packed with food outlets, bars, a cinema, employment or volunteering opportunities and much more. I was also able to get involved with the university's student media team (Forge) through the union and the opportunities that has given me have certainly been the highlights of my time in Sheffield (aside from my course) to date. Not many people can say they've been involved in live broadcasts from Hillsborough or interviewed Olympic silver medallists, but I've been able to do all that and more thanks to Forge.

Would you recommend studying Languages at Sheffield?

I would recommend studying languages at Sheffield, as the flexibility they offer here is amazing. I managed to pick up German in first year (having not applied for it) and Dutch in my second year as I had space in my timetable. I also know of a student studying four languages in their first year! The SLC community here is also really friendly and tight knit and you will make friends here for life.

Do you have any advice for students thinking about studying Languages in Sheffield?

My advice would be to take advantage of the opportunity to study languages not always offered such as Dutch, Czech or Luxembourgish but to make sure that whatever you pick, you really love. You'll spend four years immersed in a language so it's easier to get through if it's something you enjoy doing. I'd also recommend considering doing a dual honours degree. You can still study up to two languages alongside your degree and you can gain all the extra skills and experiences from that other side of your degree course. Doing a dual honours degree doesn't take away from your studies, it adds to them.

Four students laughing while sat at a bench, outside the Students' Union

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