Student profiles

Our current students tell you about their experiences of studying for a modern languages degree in our Department. They're all at different stages in their degrees and chose to learn between one and three languages. You can, however, learn up to four languages if you’ve already studied two languages at A-Level.

You can also find out what our graduates have been doing since they've left Essex.

Studying languages

On our four-year degrees, you choose from French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese. You can also combine the study of a language with another subject.

  • Serena, BA Modern Languages

    Serena

    "I feel like studying languages has opened my mind to different cultures."

    "It allows me to travel and build valuable relationships with people from around the world."

    "I will be graduating in French with Spanish and Italian."



  • Ben, BA Language Studies

    Ben

    "Going on yearly family holidays in Spain, my passion for the Spanish language started out small."

    "My course has allowed my Spanish to really take off. I particularly enjoy the subtitling module, which I am going to pursue as a postgraduate degree next year."


  • Charlotte, BA Spanish, Portuguese and Brazilian Studies

    Charlotte

    "Knowing that the University of Essex welcomes a lot of mature students reassured me that I was going to be immersed in a very stimulating environment."

    "I feel encouraged to learn and to open my mind to new opportunities and experiences."


  • Max, BA Modern Languages

    Max

    "Making the decision to study languages has opened so many doors for me. It has given me the opportunity to learn new things, explore new places and meet new people."

    "It has been an unforgettable experience and one that I would strongly recommend to anyone with an aptitude for language learning."


  • Luanda, BA Portuguese Studies and Modern Languages

    Luanda

    "Every year at Essex brings along positive challenges. My year abroad in Brazil, for example, made me understand myself a lot better."

    "Apart from discovering a new culture and a different educational system, I feel like I grew personally and academically."



  • Arman, BA Economics with French

    Arman

    "I’m from Geneva, Switzerland. After graduating I intend to find a job back at home in the financial sector."

    "I came to Essex because of its internationally diverse range of students, as I expect to encounter a similar environment in my envisioned career in Geneva. Therefore, I think that studying French in addition to my economic based modules, which are taught in English, will prepare me for my career goals."

  • Tasha, BA Modern Languages

    Tasha

    "Essex is a great place to be and I've fallen in love with the languages I study and the fact that I learn something new every single day. It's definitely not enough in this day and age just to speak English!"

    "The possibilities it has opened up for me are endless, as I believe that being able to speak another language really makes me stand out from the crowd and gives me better options for my future."

  • Aji, BA International Relations and Modern Languages

    Aji

    "I feel like studying a language with International Relations has widened my horizons, increased the opportunities available to me and also helped me communicate with more people around the world."

    "I have learnt very much from my French lecturers and I will never forget this experience."



Studying our intensive language module

In our intensive module, you learn German, Spanish or Italian from scratch up to A-level standard in one year. You then go abroad for one month for a summer school in the country where your language is spoken, which we pay for.

  • Roxy (Italian)

    What did you like the most about the classes?

    Roxy and friends.

    Roxy with her friends.

    "They were very interactive. We were split into small groups which allowed us to participate more actively and get the most out of the course. We had six hours of class every week where we would discover new methods of learning the language, not only focusing on grammar and vocabulary, but also on pronunciation, cultural awareness, history and confidence in speaking too. Our teacher was dedicated and approachable, and always encouraging us to keep engaging with the language outside of the classroom."

    What difficulties or challenges did you encounter during your learning process?

    "I’d say that actually starting to speak was the biggest step for me. After just a few weeks of classes and independent studying, I was already able to understand quite a lot. However, being able to speak and have a conversation came much later. I was worried of saying something wrong, or messing up the pronunciation. At first, I struggled with the accent. The summer course really helped, as we got plenty of opportunities to practise and engage with the locals."

    How did you spent your time abroad? How was your overall experience in the summer school?

    Roxy in Rome.

    Roxy with her friends at the Collosseum in Rome, Italy.

    "The language school in Rome was rather small, and had a family atmosphere to it. Everyone was very friendly and helpful. The lessons took place in the morning and were taught in Italian, which really helped us getting up to speed with the language. Our teacher was fantastic! We learnt a lot about the Italian culture, history and everyday life.

    "During breaks we’d take our language skills to the local café – just a few steps away from the school building – and continue practising over a cappuccino. Most of my afternoons were spent sightseeing, as Rome is such an fascinating city. The Pantheon was definitely my favourite place. I’d finish my days by grabbing a slice of pizza or by treating myself to an Italian gelato to get some refreshment on the warm summer evenings. All in all, I got a good taste of the veracious Italian life style, whilst making new and amazing friends."

    How confident do you feel about your language skills after having taken the module?

    "Through my participation in class, I gradually gained confidence and, once I started to talk, I never wanted to stop! It’s amazing how confident I feel after completing the course. I feel prepared to go abroad and talk to anyone."

    Has it met your expectations?

    "The classes exceeded my expectations. I thoroughly enjoy a good challenge, so the intensive module was perfect for me! I never would have guessed that I would have been able to read books and understand nearly everything when having a casual conversation with someone after just one year."

  • Paulina (German)

    Paulina

    Paulina in Konstanz, Germany.

    What did you like the most about the classes?

    "I especially enjoyed the fast pace of the module. I was constantly thriving for more knowledge. The intensive course has motivated me to look for different ways of learning languages. In my free time, I’m now more inclined to browse for news articles in German, to start a conversation in German, or to watch a German film."

    How did you spent your time abroad? How was your overall experience in the summer school?

    "Konstanz is an amazing city! It had a beautiful old historic centre, and a wonderful lake where you could take a ferry to other German cities. We were taught in small groups, which was good, because it allowed us to all actively participate in class. Our teacher used a number of different approaches to make the grammar and vocabulary more interesting. We’d always end up playing snakes and ladders, or competing with each other in quizzes. It was a lot of fun!"

    "One of our lessons was spent exploring the Konstanz and we also went on a number of excursions to Switzerland, Austria and Liechtenstein. I even had a chance to personally meet the Prince and Princess of Liechtenstein! My German language skills came in handy when speaking to them. I had a great time!"

    What did you think of the way the classes were organised in the summer school?

    "The organisation was amazing! Classes took place in the morning, which was really good, because that meant having the afternoon free to wander around the City. Teachers were genuinely passionate about their teaching. They organised free trips to many historical places and touristic points. We ended our stay with a great fiesta in a lovely garden. The perfect ending to the perfect stay!"

    Would you recommend this module to other students?

    "I most definitely would! It’s a great way to learn a new language from scratch. The course is amazing, engaging and enriching, and the month we got to spend in Konstanz was an adventure of a lifetime!"