Alex McClosKey

I really enjoyed having the opportunity to study German in my first year at University. My degree is International Relations and European Politics with no specification on learning a language.  It had never occurred to me at the time of applying to higher education to consider combining politics and a language. There were very few courses where I could combine a language with Politics, which meant that I had to effectively choose between the two, ultimately Politics took precedent.  In my first year, there was a wide range of modules I could choose from in the Schools of Politics, History and Media School. Alongside these, there was the opportunity to study a language module, be it French, German, Spanish, Arabic or Japanese. This was absolutely fantastic, not just the sheer wealth of languages on offer but the fact that I as a Politics student could study a language alongside my Politics studies.  I choose to study German, due to the fact that I have always had an interest in the country politically and culturally. Learning the language was a brilliant opportunity, not only was I learning grammar and vocabulary, but it made me think about my own language and its own structure. Our teacher taught us about German history, too, on the anniversary of the Berlin Wall. This showed why language is not one-dimensional as it helps you engage with not just the language but also the culture.  On a competitive job market, it is not enough now just to know one language; I think this is where British students generally fall behind. There is an increasing number of students across mainland Europe that speak more than one language, one of which is generally English. Learning German for me was a fantastic experience as it made me realise that learning a language can open up many opportunities, especially the opportunity to work overseas. I really hope more students at UEA take up the opportunity to learn a language, as it is an extremely useful skill to have, I look forward to learning and hopefully mastering German.

Alex McCloskey,
UEA Year 3 student,
International Relations and European Politics