Spanish and Chinese personal statement
My passion for Modern Foreign Languages is what drives me to pursue a degree in Chinese and Spanish; my fascination and curiosity to explore the cultures of not only China and East Asia, but also of the Hispanic world, motivate me to learn and discover the languages of these regions. I am a strong believer of the philosophy that you live another life for each language you speak; the ability to communicate in additional languages gives you the ability to explore different worlds in great depths.
Having already studied Spanish to a relatively high level, I wish to further my experience of this beautiful and diverse language by obtaining a degree that will enable me to not only be open-minded about the world in which we live in, but will also give me the ability to start a career involving translation and interpretation. The world is becoming increasingly globalised; it is particularly important for the younger generation of the English-speaking world to broaden their horizons particularly where language barriers may occur, and this is why I wish to dedicate my education to studying Spanish and Chinese. AS English Literature allowed me to explore a love for reading that I have always had, and as a result of this I’ve begun to explore literature from other cultures. For example, over the summer I read Jung Chang’s Wild Swans, a brilliant true story which details life in China throughout the 20th century, feeding my curiosity to discover this culture so different from the one in which we live in. Over the next few months, I plan to read some Spanish literature as well as some well-known English books translated into Spanish, and also to widen my knowledge of Spanish cinema in order to prepare myself to enter into a degree studying the language, as I am already quite familiar with Almodóvar’s work.
Learning foreign languages are not easy; however, I enjoy the challenges of learning and exploring not just the lexis and syntax of another tongue, but also the depths of the culture and the people who speak these languages everyday. I have been interested in the wider world from a young age, as I have always divided my summers between the United States of America, Spain and the south-east Asian countries of Malaysia and Singapore as a result of having family scattered across the globe. Multiculturalism has been a daily part of my life ever since I can remember; my father is an Italian who then emigrated to the USA when I was a young child, and my uncle is married to a Chinese-Malay whose family has allowed me to explore my fascination for the culture and languages of the countries of China and Malaysia, as well as having grandparents who own property in Spain, thus fuelling my motivation to study both Spanish and Chinese.
Another possible career I am considering is teaching; either foreign languages in the UK or English abroad. In order to prepare myself for this, throughout Year 12 I spent one afternoon a week in my local primary school working with the younger children, and have been spending time this year working alongside my Spanish teacher in a class of GCSE Spanish pupils. This has helped me to understand what is needed to support the language learning of younger children, and has also given me the opportunity to consolidate my own basic language skills as well as contributing to the wider school community.
I have worked in a Chinese restaurant where, since the age of 15, I have spent my weekends surrounded by the Mandarin and Cantonese dialects of Chinese. I believe working in this environment is what has led to me viewing the written Chinese characters as an art form; I wish to be able to replicate the Chinese language in my own handwriting, and to be able to communicate in a fluent manner with the one billion people worldwide who speak this language as their mother tongue.
I appreciate how much the opportunity to study at university will broaden my horizons and encourage me to embark on a new adventure learning Chinese.