Having recently completed my degree in Spanish and Human Geography, I feel very grateful for all the opportunities I had, and the huge progress I made in my Spanish. That being said, taking a language at degree level may not be for everyone, and through my first-hand experience I am here to go through both the pros and cons of degree level languages!
Often when you take a language you will be expected to spend a year of your course abroad in a country where the language is spoken. For most people this is when their language skills improve immensely as you are fully immersed in a new culture. You also have plenty of opportunities to travel elsewhere during this year.
That being said, a language degree is not the sole way to be able to have a year abroad, depending on your course you may also be able to take a year abroad wherever you choose. Moreover, you don't need a degree to live abroad! There are plenty of language schools abroad, as well as the opportunity to work as an au pair. During my degree I worked as a British Council language assistant, this is a program open to all native speakers of English, language degree or not!
Here are some photos taken from my year abroad in Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife!
2. Cultural modules
Often when people think of a language degree, they think of learning the language and living abroad for a year. However, often with a language degree comes a lot of extra modules, such as learning about history and cultural production of the countries whose language you are learning, such as literature, film, art...the list goes on!
In all honesty, if you are not interested in history for example, this can be quite tedious! Sometimes it can feel like what you are learning is pretty pointless. Nevertheless, depending on the university, you can pick and choose the modules you would like to do. This meant that during my course I avoided all history modules and took those that I felt would be more useful in the long term, such as Spanish economics and business.
As a result, when you're researching a university it is worth checking how much freedom you have in terms of module choice. If a course you are looking at forces you to take certain modules you are not interested in ,this may be a dealbreaker!
3. Private study
Finally, one important thing to consider if you are thinking of taking a language at degree level is the amount of commitment to learning!
Unlike some subjects where you learn a fact, or finish reading a book, sometimes the process of language degree work can feel never ending, due to the ongoing nature of language learning.
However, despite degrees requiring a lot of study in your own time, it doesn't have to be boring, as shown in one of my recent blog posts!
Of course, if you would like to learn a language without doing a degree I am here to help you!
If you have any questions about my experience doing a language degree please feel free to use the chat button on your screen, or email me and I will get back to you as soon as I can!