Hispanic Studies & Modern Languages Personal Statement

Having an Italian background has been a catalyst for learning languages from a young age. I took a lot of inspiration and gained a lot of respect for both learning and teaching languages through my grandmother, who moved from Italy to England alone when she was 14 years old and taught herself English.

Her stories motivated me to carry on pursuing my goals and achieve the same fluency in Spanish.Though I thoroughly enjoy all my A-Level subjects, I have always found myself favouring languages over other areas of study and believe that being surrounded by different languages when I was younger has built my thirst for them today.

While studying Spanish at school and during frequent visits to Spain I have found myself falling in love with not just the language but the history, culture and people of Spain too.

Deciding to study Spanish at University was not a difficult choice for me. I am particularly interested in the modules covering linguistics; my inquisitive side and fascination with the constructs and etymology of Spanish and other languages around Europe and Asia have fed my passion to understand the roots of Spanish and have prompted me to learn another language.

Through my hobbies and studying art during school I also gained an interest in Japanese. I spent much of my pre-GCSE and Year 10 project studying the works of Hokusai and Utamaro, and from this studied the concept of kanji and hiragana as an art form and portrayal of mythology and history through art.

I have since been studying Japanese at home and enveloped myself in its culture and media, frequently watching various animated series, holding an interest in historical art and reading literature. I found the Soseki Natsume's 'I Am a Cat' to be an interesting perspective on the westernisation and political standing of Japan during the late Meiji period, showing how the changes in traditions and customs affected the middle classes.

Outside of Sixth Form I also have part-time work as a barmaid at a local pub. This position has allowed me to encounter and interact with people of various ages and origins and improve my communication and teamwork skills.

I also worked for an ice rink in York as a marshal, a demanding role which involved working in a fast-paced environment, interacting with many foreign tourists and actively using my first aid skills. Fortunately my knowledge of Spanish made our team able to communicate with a young Spanish girl who had injured herself.

Mental and physical preparation like this has since helped me to be more organised with my own studies and shown me my true enjoyment in supporting others and the art of communication.

I aspire to become an interpreter, with a languages taster session at York St. Johns University last June only sealing my dream even more; we were able to get a first-hand experience of interpreting in action as well as try it out ourselves.

Through in-class support with Key Stage 3 Spanish students, speaking at open evenings and being part of organising and realising a Modern Foreign Languages taster session for younger students, I have developed a more confident command of Spanish, learnt to think more quickly on my feet and feel prepared for the challenge of a career in interpreting.

This has become clear during lessons and outside of college where I am able to talk more fluently and spontaneously.

For me, pursuing language studies has not just been about learning a language, but also about understanding more about the world outside of England and ultimately myself.

Although I recognise the demanding disposition of my chosen course, I believe a combination of my passion to learn and past experiences will assist me to excel during my time at University and allow me to immerse myself in the experiences and cultures I enjoy the most.

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Author's Comments

I applied for deferred entry for 2017 with predicted grades BBB which worried me since I don't have a lot of experience out of college for my chosen languages to compensate for it. I was difficult to write about what I could bring to the course, but doing my own studies at home probably helped too since it shows you're dedicated I suppose?
Think as long as you can show your passion for what you want to do and where you want to be your statement will be fine tbh! I couldn't find many example statements of people applying for Japanese courses without a good deal of tuition or studies or trips to get ideas so hopefully this helps someone! :D

Offers:
Sheffield Uni: Hispanics and Japanese ABB, conditional
Sheffield Uni: Modern Languages ABB, conditional
Leeds Uni: Japanese and Spanish AAB, conditional (applying to A2L also)
Nottingham Uni: Modern Languages ABB, conditional
Sheffield Hallam: Spanish with Business 280points, conditional

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