Something a little different this Sunday. After having received the mark for my first Year Abroad Essay, I’ve decided to share it on here. I was super happy with my result, so thought why not step a little out of my comfort zone and “publish” it, so here goes.
Quelque chose d’un peu différent ce dimanche. Après avoir reçu la note pour mon premier essai de mon année à l’étranger, j’ai décidé de le partager. J’étais tellement contente de mon résultat que je me suis dit pourquoi ne pas sortir un peu de ma zone de confort et le “publier”, et voila!
As a Modern Foreign Languages student, my degree involves an Erasmus year abroad study or work placement in this, my third year. I have just arrived in Paris and quite frankly, that’s both so very exciting and absolutely terrifying all at the same time. Until very recently my year abroad has seemed like a distant, abstract idea. It has done for years.
But now it’s here and let’s face it, shit got real.
The day after opting to take a beginners German language module and the accompanying module entitled ‘German History & Culture’, I happened upon this book in Waterstones and was instantly struck by the super funky cover (judge me at your will). Of course, the title is striking too. Especially as I was about to begin studying the fall of the Berlin Wall and the events surrounding, leading up to, and following this historical turning point which saw two states reunited as one country.
MacLean captivates the reader with a combination of short bibliographical narratives so interesting that they could at times, quite easily be mistaking for fiction, and cultural German tales, and historical events. A factual, history book that is capable of allowing one to read with relative ease, without straining to focus, in my opinion, can only be a good one. 23 portraits are given a chapter each, from Frederick the Great right up to David Bowie, MacLean glides through the history of a capital city with a hugely turbulent past elegantly, somehow.
The following Guardian article: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/feb/20/berlin-imagine-city-rory-maclean-review hails the book as “A compelling series of portraits captures the intangible something that turns visitors into Berlinophiles” and it’s true, ‘Berlin : Imagine a City’ creates an interest that could almost definitely lead to city break plans…
As announced in my last blog post, I secured a place at Cardiff University to study French and I am now 6 weeks into my first year and the infamous ‘Uni Life’ that everybody seems to equally fantasise about, and fear. This post is somewhat of a non-post in that it’s merely an update and an apology for being so absent recently. I hope this is something that I can change and I am currently considering making Wednesday afternoons into blogging time in order to post at least weekly.
So, as for university, we’re in week 7 and I’ve just returned from 9 wonderful days at home for reading week. All the essay questions have been released for the January deadlines and language assessments are coming in thick and fast. I feel I should explain what it is that I am studying here exactly, as even my friends from back home tend to get quite confused on the matter. I am studying for a French BA, however the French modules available to first years only add up to 40 credits and 120 are needed, so most single honours BA first years are required to take extra modules in other humanities subjects. I have chosen to take beginners German and Translation Studies modules and am therefore studying the following 6 modules across these 3 subjects: Contemporary French Language, Modern France, Beginners German Language, German History & Culture, Translation Methods, and Translation Theory. I realise this is slightly confusing, judging only my the reaction of some of my friends, but I hope I’ve cleared it up somewhat here!
Personally, I think that the additional subject modules are great and I love how varied my course has turned out to be, because of them, this year. I think that they work particularly well for those who, like me, have started university with very little idea about what they intend to use their eventual degree for. Having chosen a degree purely based on interest and my ability at school, I feel that the Translation modules in particular have really opened my eyes to the possibility of becoming a translator. More specifically, I have been giving the idea of translating novels, articles or other written works into English much thought as a direct result of the last 6 weeks. Fortunately, I have 3 and half years until my graduation in the summer of 2019 so, even if I sway from this idea at all, I have plenty of time to decide.
Thank you for taking the time to read this somewhat chatty update and I hope that you can now look forward to more frequent, and potentially varied, posts.
Yes, this is indeed where my life changes quite significantly. The period of time between the end of my exams and results day on the 13th August 2015, was a time of great anxiety and much uncertainty about the future. I was completely in the dark about how the next year was going to go, whether I would be re-sitting exams, working or even travelling. Thankfully however, after the singularly most stressful morning of my life, I received a change of offer from Cardiff University, my insurance choice, for which I am so very grateful.
Initially, I applied for Law and French and had accepted University of Exeter and Cardiff University as my firm and insurance choices respectively. Unfortunately, I didn’t achieve my predicted grades which resulted in an awful results day morning, full of slight disappointment, the anticipation of waiting on a decision from Cardiff, and hundreds of calls to clearing hotlines. In the weeks leading up to results day, I had been considering more and more the idea of clearing and studying straight French and it was becoming ever more appealing. For this reason, the phone call offering me the chance to study French at Cardiff University was quite possibly the best thing that could have happened.
The whole A-Level and UCAS application process has gone by so quickly and it seems absurd that I will be starting university in less than month. It’s all so very exciting and daunting at once, but I am certain that this is the right decision and that I will learn so much and benefit so greatly from the entire 4 year experience that I am embarking on.
So, what happens to the blog from here? I plan to continue to share with you the books that I have bought and my thoughts on the books that I have read. However, from now on, some of these may be course related and posts regarding my university life may begin to appear.
I hope you decide to tag along for the ride. If you’re even a fragment as excited about it as I am, it’ll surely be worth it.
Disclaimer: Featured image is not my own, it was found on a Google search for Cardiff University’s Modern Language Department.