My German Success Story – Alexandre Coates
Read what Norfolk Scholar and University of Birmingham Physics student Alex Coates has to say about his language learning experience.
I had always wanted to speak a second language as both of my parents spoke multiple languages and it seemed to me that if I wanted to better understand the
When it came to University, I opted for Physics with International Study at the University of Birmingham. Throughout my degree course, I made sure I kept up with German classes and finally decided to spend a year abroad at the Ruprecht-Karls Universität in Heidelberg, Germany, as a student in the Faculty of Physics and Astronomy. It was one of the best decisions of my life.
Spending a year in Germany exposed me not only to the
A year abroad, in a foreign language, was often a confusing experience, but the reward was a richer understanding of a different perspective of the world. Through a lot of effort, and speaking as little English as possible, I made my way through German films, German books, and by the
Learning German has also affected my Physics studies in subtle ways. German-speaking countries have produced so much useful scientific work and are home to some of the best centres of scientific research in the world. Science is all about collaboration, and a lot of that happens in Germany – being able to speak German, even a little, is a massive help. This is the reason almost all of my professors speak a little bit of it. Not only that, but some work is not translated. More than once I have had to translate documents for fellow students to help them with vital work and I cannot emphasise enough what an asset being able to communicate in a foreign language has been and continues to be in the field of academic collaboration.