French Personal Statement
Back in 2011, my family decided that it would be a good idea to have a French student stay with us for a few weeks during the summer. This was something that I was really looking forward to. Having the opportunity to get to know someone from a different country, I couldn't wait. However, when she arrived I found myself in a strange position. She could barely speak a word of English. What? Everyone in France can speak English, can't they? I thought to myself. 12 year old me was clearly very wrong. This epiphany led me to 2 things; one, not everyone can speak English to a comprehensible level and two, if not everyone can speak English then I must try to learn a language to compensate this. Thus, my passion for languages began.
None of my family is able to speak another language and while this may have deterred some from pursuing languages, it spurred me on, even more, choosing to study both French and German at GCSE. While I found both languages extremely fascinating I knew French was the one I wanted to pursue as ever since I was very young, I had always wanted to visit France and while this dream is yet to see reality, my drive to do so hasn't faltered. I think it's a great shame that, although 1 in 4 people around the world speak English as a second language, three-quarters of British adults cannot speak any other language and it is a dream of mine to one day see this statistic change.
Studying the French films 'Au revoir Les Enfants' and 'La Haine' at A2 gave me the insight I needed into French history and culture to make me want to find out more. The crushing reality of the boy's lives in la Haine compared with the naivety of that in 'Au revoir les enfants' was eye-opening, to say the least. This encouraged me to dive deeper into French cinema and literature leading me to 'L'Etranger' by Albert Camus helping me to gain an understanding of French literature and how it compares to English literature.
The University of Reading Scholars event was something that even further cemented my desire to study French at university. Coming into direct contact with the students and faculty not only inspired me to want to do this kind of degree but gave me first-hand experience of what a lecture might be like and what universities are like in general.
My other two A-Levels, Creative Writing and Sociology, have given me the opportunity to explore further fields of study that fascinate me. Helping me gain skills in writing both artistically and analytically. I believe being able to tell a story is a much-underrated ability to have so when I had the chance to improve mine at A-Level I did so immediately and I haven't regretted it. On the other end of the spectrum, Sociology is a subject in which I am glad to say I excel in as well as it allows me to investigate things such as youth culture, the education system and crime and deviance all of which I am interested in.
I also take an active role in my college community. As a member of the foreign film club I am able to not only look at French films but also German, Spanish, Korean and plenty of others giving me an objective perspective on the world around us. Debating is also something that I am passionate about as it allows me to argue for things I find interesting. So as a member of the debate group, I can structure arguments clearly and concisely and listen to others similarly. This also improves my public speaking which is something I think everyone should be able to do, especially at university level where the competition to have your voice heard is so strong.
In summary, I believe that studying modern languages at university will enable me to see past my own experiences and develop a deep appreciation of cultures other than my own, as well as helping me develop real language skills I will be able to use for the rest of my life. A degree is just the first exciting step for me in fuelling my curiosity about other people's worlds.
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