Studying a language truly does widen your horizons and give you vital transferable skills which are useful for any career pathway!

SLC undergraduate student Rachel
Rachael
Undergraduate student
English Literature and Modern Languages and Cultures
Rachael discusses the benefits of studying a dual honours degree.
SLC undergraduate student Rachel

Why did you choose Sheffield to study Languages?

I choose Sheffield to study languages for a number of reasons; not only did the programme offer me more flexibility to tailor my degree to my interests than any other university I looked into, but the city is also amazing; rich in culture, twenty minutes from the Peak District, voted best Student's Union for well over a decade and cheapest student city in the UK. What's not to love?

What do you particularly enjoy about your degree programme?

I love the freedom that a degree at Sheffield gives you. You are guided and supported throughout your programme, but also given the freedom to choose your own research topics, to explore the things that interest you most. Whether that's writing an essay on a German literature, or giving a presentation on the climate movement in Austria, you can really go wild and experiment!

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

During my second year, I had the chance to study Luxembourgish, both the language and the culture. Sheffield is the only institution outside of Luxembourg WORLD-WIDE to teach the language, so it was a really unique experience. Studying Luxembourgish not only helped foster my multicultural awareness, but also allowed me to further develop my language skills. It's something that will make you stand out for sure! The module also offers students the change to carry out a group research project, which is then presented at a colloquium in the spring. Given that Luxembourg is such a small country, the academic community is extremely intimate so we even got the opportunity to meet and speak personally with the Luxembourgish Ambassador!

Why did you choose this particular course?

I was initially thinking of applying for English Literature Single Honours, but after I came and visited the University on an open day, I realised how flexible dual honours are at Sheffield and quickly changed my mind! You really can tailor your degree to your own interests and ambitions. As a dual honours student, you can major or minor in either of your dual subjects and this can even change from year to year based on what modules you are interested in taking. For example, I took more language modules in second year, as I really wanted to try out Luxembourgish, but in my final year I chose to take more English Literature modules.

What’s the best thing about being a dual honours student?

As a dual honours student, you are able to gain a unique perspective of the world and collect a unique range of skills and abilities, which make you stand out as an individual and really do come in handy when applying for jobs in the future! It's also pretty cool to be in two departments (you'll even get two personal tutors!) and it's nice to have my German to balance out all the reading and essay writing I do on my English side, allowing me to experience the best of both worlds.

Where did you go and what did you do during your year abroad? How did the YA benefit you personally? What did you enjoy most about it?

I split my Year Abroad into two. During the first semester I went to Bonn and worked at a secondary school as a language assistant teaching English (through the British Council). During my second semester I moved to Heidelberg and studied German Literature. Both experiences were incredible - I met so many amazing people from across the globe, saw so many beautiful places and experienced so many new things (and tried lots of new foods!). I improved not only my German skills, but also key life skills; confidence, independence, communication. I completely surprised myself and cannot recommend going abroad enough!

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

A rollercoaster! Although challenging at times, the experiences I've had at Sheffield have been incredible, from that sense of achievement after finishing an academic project, to being part of the amazing trampolining family at Sports Sheffield, to travelling and living abroad. Sheffield has given me so many experiences that I will treasure for the rest of my life.

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

Studying Languages and English Literature at Sheffield has given me vital employability and life skills, which will prove invaluable in my future career. From organisation and time-management, to communication and collaboration skills, critical and creative thinking and, above all, intercultural awareness and an open-minded perspective of the world.

What are your plans for after you graduate?

I am currently unsure where I want to go once I graduate. At the moment, I'm testing the waters and exploring the many and varied career pathways that are open to me as an English Literature and Languages student. I'm also considering doing a Masters Degree in Germany - I cannot wait to get back out there!

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

Sheffield University is an incredible university to study at. The university offers a variety of support services, from mental health and wellbeing services, to the careers service (which is available to all students and graduates for their whole lifetime!) There is a real sense of community and support among students themselves and it really is like joining a big family!

Would you recommend studying Languages at Sheffield? Why?

Absolutely! Studying a language truly does widen your horizons and give you vital transferable skills which are useful for any career pathway!

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

Never say 'never'! Be open-minded and grasp hold of every single opportunity that comes your way!

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