Modern Languages Personal Statement Example 4

Quite simply, I want to study languages because I love them. My motivation comes from a deep desire to experience the world in every way possible and I believe that you can only truly experience a culture in the native tongue. I think that through speaking foreign languages one can become a global citizen, thereby entering the mindset of other countries when solving global problems, such as the refugee crisis or climate change. Having a cross-cultural awareness is an invaluable tool and one which I am excited to develop further.

While in Bordeaux this year my language skills improved immensely, but I also learnt a great deal about French culture and customs. I found it interesting learning to be polite in another language as a native English speaker where we only use 'you' to address another person regardless of their relation to you. I also had the chance to go to Catalonia and I particularly liked exploring the art in the city, visiting the 'Casa Milà' and also the 'Dalí Theatre-Museum', gaining insights into the innovative design and art culture of Barcelona during the 20th century.

As well as my interest in culture, I am also really interested in linguistics. I attended a masterclass at the University of Cambridge in April, where I enjoyed a taster-lecture in Semantics, leaving with many questions about what 'meaning' actually is and how language relates to meaning. I read McWhorter's 'What Language Is'. This not only gave me a greater understanding of the topic, but also why and how languages develop, which has always been an interest of mine. I take great pleasure in seeing the differences and similarities between French and Spanish.

In order to appreciate their roots I took the initiative to teach myself Latin Language last year achieving an A* grade at GCSE. When presented with an item of new vocabulary in my studies, I enjoy the challenge of tracing it back to the derivative in Latin and I am keen to extend my learning to Portuguese or Italian. Through this experience of independent learning, I developed research and time management skills, which will enable me to be an effective university student.

Whilst my A-Level syllabus focuses mainly on discussing topical issues I very much enjoy literature and especially reading contemporary texts in the two languages, having just finished both 'L'Étranger' and 'La Familia de Pascual Duarte'. From reading these I acquired the ability to tackle and understand larger texts. I valued the insight into the history of both books, particularly of Pascual Duarte where I gained an understanding of the struggles of being a peasant in rural Spain up to the beginning of the Franco regime.

I have also begun to explore Spanish and French poetry, recently reading Machado's 'Campos de Soria' one of the generation of '98. Of Machado's work I particularly appreciate his subtle references to the mood of Spain in that particular period and his detailed visual imagery of the landscape. Of the French poets I have read my favourite has been Rimbaud, whose style of using 'impolite' words in a poetical context has made a great impression on me. There are many reasons why I love poetry, but mostly I am fascinated by the way language can be used for subtle expression of emotion and not just the functionality of conversing. Reading literature has broadened my vocabulary and allowed me to interpret the writer's message through imagery and narrative style.

Taking Mathematics alongside my languages has helped me to develop critical analysis skills and the ability to think systematically and logically, which aids deconstruction and translation of larger texts. It has also taught me resilience and to try other methods if a solution isn't immediately obvious, which will provide me with a solid foundation for my university studies. I have been helping to teach French in the junior school, where I enjoy sharing my enthusiasm and I hope to inspire younger pupils to develop the same love of languages that I have.

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Author's Comments

I received the following offers:

University of Exeter: ABC (firmed and got in)
University of Warwick: ABB
University of Bath: AAB
University of Leicester: ABB
University of Reading: ABB

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