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Modern Languages and Cultures at Durham University – Claire

Claire is 22 and studying French and German (Modern Languages and Cultures) at Durham. 

Where are you from? What brought you to where you are today?

  • I grew up in Oxford with my parents and my older brother. I am now a fourth year at Durham University.
  • I have been very lucky with my education – I went to a school which encouraged me to learn and have parents who have always encouraged me to try new things and do the best I can.
  • Thanks to them I’m now interested in music, art and other things as well as French and German which I consequently decided to study at Durham.

What inspired you to study French and German?

  • My mum speaks French and German and has always encouraged me to learn languages too, not necessarily explicitly but just through her own interests and relationships. I enjoy writing and reading too and my general interest in words and communication lead me to wanting to study modern languages.

What qualifications did you have for your course?

  • A levels-AS (Art), A2 French, German, Religious Studies.

Why did you choose to study at Durham?

  • It’s a beautiful city! The university has a good reputation – especially for German. I like the collegiate system. It was somewhere new for me.

What do you like about the course and your university?

  • The fact that we can learn practical skills like interpreting and translation as well as following cultural studies like literature and history.

What learning methods does Durham employ?

  • In our third year we have to go abroad and study or work – we have the freedom to choose what we do exactly.

What aspects of the course are you finding difficult? Does the university support you well?

  • I sometimes find it hard to know how to balance my time and how to keep up with the work as we should, as we have to choose personally how and when we do our work.
  • This is something you get used to and people are generally there with help if you need it.

How are you funding your studies?

  • Through the government’s loans and family help.

What about the social side of things at university?

  • I play music (violin mainly) with my friends and at church.
  • I love going to gigs and have also organised music/art sharing evenings with other people in Durham in the past.
  • I play hockey sometimes with college and I go to church in Durham too. I also have started volunteering with a Christian youth work organisation – Youth for Christ.

What do you plan to do once you’ve graduated?

  • I’m not yet sure! I’m really interested in teaching and in youth work. This may be abroad or in the UK.
  • I definitely want to be working closely with people and would love this to involve my interests in art and languages if possible, and definitely to have some link with other cultures.

How is your university supporting your career aspirations?

  • I haven’t sought any help yet…!

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