Why I study languages

Why I study languages I love you in sign language by Bert Heymans

This article was written by Emily Maybanks from Swansea University, published on 1st December 2015 and has been read 2765 times.

Emily is studying Translation with French and Italian at Swansea University, and is spending the first semester of her year abroad at the Università di Bologna in Forl, in Italy. Here she discusses her reasons for studying languages...

I’ve been studying French since I started secondary school a full decade ago in 2005, and I have been studying Italian since I started university a mere two years ago. No one in my immediate family enjoyed or studied languages, and it wasn’t until I started to study French at GCSE when I actually began to enjoy the language. When I studied it A Level, I realised that French was something I was good at and I was always encouraged by my A Level French teacher, Mrs. Clayson, who is one of my main inspirations in life.

So, why do I study languages at University?

1. First, it’s because I am good at languages and I enjoy learning languages. Especially writing in foreign languages. I have ambitions to learn other languages too. I know the basics of German and Spanish through Duolingo, and I know some Japanese words thanks to Karate. But, I’d love to learn a language like Russian, Polish or Chinese one day.

2. Studying languages has a very close link to my main hobby and passion in life; writing. I love writing, and I enjoy writing in French and in Italian, and I like translating and I love learning new words. I like how studying languages teaches me words and grammar I didn’t even know in English. Like, who else has heard of the past historic tense?

3. I’d really like a career in languages. The dream is to be able to have a career that links languages, translating or interpreting, writing and charity work. Even though, this may be slightly ambitious, it’s my dream and I’m going to push to live this dream. When I imagine my life in five years’ time, I see myself living in a picture perfect location, surrounded by cats, working with languages and writing a novel on the side. However, if that doesn’t work out, I wouldn’t mind being an interpreter in the NHS.

4. It helps my self-confidence. I’m a very introverted and shy individual, but I think studying languages brings me out of my shell a bit, particularly during those dreaded oral exams. I look back and realise that I’ve done approximately SEVEN speaking exams and quite a few presentations in both French and Italian and that makes me feel proud of myself.

5. You get a year abroad. Studying languages has given me the opportunity of a lifetime that I could only dream of a few years ago; the year abroad, which I am spending in Italy and in Switzerland, two of the most beautiful countries on this planet. Who knows where my languages will take me in the future…?

6. I'm inspired. I study languages because of my brilliant former A Level French teacher who has never stopped believing in me and my abilities in languages even when I’ve had doubts. She’s inspired me to pursue languages, and to keep on writing. I know when I have a novel published in several different languages; she’ll be one of the first queuing for my autograph. Nothing makes me smile more than when she emails me with words of encouragement and wisdom, praising my writing and my languages. Thank you, Mrs C!

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