Think language students have got it easy? Well, think again...

 

1. People telling you that “Your degree must be easy”

Excuse me, Mr Engineer, take a step back. Just because a degree is in the Arts sector does not make it easy. Have you ever tried writing a 2000 word essay in German whilst being convinced your total vocabulary only has around ten words in it? Didn’t think so. Have you ever had to switch between languages in minutes because timetabling is a bloody nightmare? Please go back to your fancy labs and never speak to me again.

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2. Forgetting how to speak at all

A massive problem is you start forgetting words in English. You want to translate a word into Russian but don’t really know the word in English so have to do it through the medium of German, which really isn’t helpful for translations into English. Don’t even get me started about being drunk. English goes out the window and your second language becomes a way of life. You will never be this fluent whilst sober, I hate to break it to you.

You may also start morphing the word order of your sentences out of pure confusion. English prepositions become inaccessible.

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3. “Can you translate this?” No, no I can’t

Reason 1: I don’t speak Spanish.

Reason 2: No.

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4. If you study a weird language, you get people asking, “Why would you study that?”

I don’t know, and I’m regretting my life choices. I bet if I chose Italian, I’d be sitting drinking coffee and discussing the Enlightenment with my super-cool course mates, but no; we sit in a huddle in the library randomly exclaiming, ‘I hate this’. The benefit of having such small classes means you become really close with your classmates.  

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5. People asking you to, “Say something in a different language, go on!”

If you get put on the spot, you will end up saying something like, “I….um… I have two brothers and three sisters, and I live in Scotland,” when you’re actually an only child from Devon. Everyone will clap and congratulate you because they have no clue what you just said.

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6. Your learning is never finished

You can never stop learning a language and this fact is tiring. Knowing you will finish uni and still have to work every day at improving your language skills is enough to make some men cry. My A-Level German teacher spent so long in England that she started to forget her German (she’s a native German speaker), so that’s also something we look forward to.

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7. The horrible phrase of: “You must be fluent by now!”

See above.

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8. Having a really weird sphere of knowledge

Language degrees equip you in such weird ways that you do not know the word for a hand but can talk about migration for hours on end. Maybe that’s because the word for ‘hand’ in Russian is the same as ‘finger’, or is it ‘arm’? You see; I’ve got no bloody clue.

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9. The exams…

Undoubtedly the worst part is that you’ll work tirelessly for four years to be the best you can be, but it all comes down to a four-hour exam at the end of it, in which the only topic you struggle with will be the epicentre of the exam. Go figure.

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Despite all these disgusting things about studying languages, we’ll come out of it with a brilliant degree and the ability to take on almost any job, plus friends for life all over the world. So we're winning, really...

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