Modern Languages Personal Statement
As a child during trips to museums or castles, being given an audio guide was the most exciting thing to me. I loved to switch the language to a foreign one, despite my extremely narrow understanding. The sounds of the unknown words, accents and the idea that there are masses of people who understand these sentences the same way I understand English were more fascinating to me than anything inside the monuments.
Although I missed out on some historical details, I learned something much more valuable about myself - I want to be multilingual. Reading Le Petit Nicolas by Rene Goscinny before starting two languages at A level and having to use previous knowledge, intuition, and “linguistic gymnastics” to understand unknown words, showed me the hard work but also the reward and sense of accomplishment that comes from reading foreign literature.
Having watched Hispanic plays such as “La Casa de Los Espíritus” and “Bodas de Sangre” and regularly watching Spanish films and TV shows, I realized that studying languages gives me the chance to not only explore more language but to explore a new culture - an exciting prospect for me.
I enjoy running a weekly club to encourage younger pupils with both their linguistic and cultural appreciation of France and Spain. I have taught myself some Italian and Portuguese which I share with the pupils. The students and I have loved learning languages through films, games and presentations.
After grasping a few basic words in Italian, and noticing the links between Romance languages, I would love the opportunity to study Italian further.
For my interest, I have been reading Guy de Maupassant’s “Boule de Suif” and enjoying the clever characterization and the hypocrisy which is revealed as the story develops. The historical context of the Franco-Prussian War has given me insight into some of the effects of the Prussian invasion of France.
I have also enjoyed an English translation of “Le Deuxième Sexe”, taking a special interest in the effects that Simone de Beauvoir’s literature had on France during the second wave movement of feminism 1950-1990.
Always questioning bilingual peers on their abilities and experiences, I felt inspired to write a 2,500-word symposium essay entitled “What is the difference between a bilingual and a monolingual child?” I summarised my findings into a presentation, entered them into a school competition, where I was one of the top 8 in my year.
My research into linguistics confirmed that real social experiences are needed to become fluent in secondary languages. This prompted me to organise trips to Madrid and Montpellier where I spent a week immersed in different languages and cultures. I took part in an exchange, where I truly felt that I lived as a Spaniard; adapting to and enjoying the cuisine, timetable and customs of the Spanish family I stayed with.
Seeing the sights and learning the history behind monuments in central Madrid, gave me more cultural knowledge and understanding, as well as a thirst to immerse myself even more into all things Spanish. In Montpellier, I stayed with a host family, spent a week in an international school doing an intensive course and meeting new people all in French. These formative experiences in foreign countries have whetted my appetite for studying languages at University and for living abroad in the future.
Aside from academic studies, I take pride in playing a key role in my school community. I am Charity Captain, a member of the hockey team, the pop choir, the football club, the Christian Union and the Social Committee. This list of activities has kept me busy throughout my school years and I look forward to keeping this up and finding new interests at university.
Learning modern foreign languages has been by far one of the most rewarding and stimulating of my academic pursuits. The prospect of studying languages and cultures in greater depth for the next four years, along with achieving fluency, excites me greatly.
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Applied for French, Spanish and Italian at
Durham - no offer made YET
Exeter - AAB - but can drop 1 grade if made firm
Warwick - AAB
Birmingham - ABB or CCC if made firm
Newcastle - Unconditional
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