MFL degrees at UCL, Durham, Bristol, Bath and Leeds...

(46 Posts)
Antaresisastar Sun 03-Jan-16 20:12:09

DS has applied to the above for Spanish with another language ab initio. He started an Economics degree in September but realised after about 8 weeks that it wasn't the right course for him and withdrew.
He already has 3 A grades so fulfills requirements for all the above, Leeds and Bristol have given him unconditional offers, still waiting on the others.
Does anyone have dcs studying MFL at any of the above universities and, if so, would you mind sharing what they think of the course, contact hours, quality of teaching, and any thing else regarding uni life?
Many thanks.

bojorojo Sun 03-Jan-16 23:58:31

One of mine did MFL joint honours at Bristol. Not sure about contact time but she was happy. At top
Universities you spend time in the library and in self guided work. Ab initio is seriously hard work and catching up with the A level students takes a great deal of work and sometimes they are still behind at the end of year 2. The year abroad tends to sort it out though. Dd loved Bristol but found some lecturers were better than others in terms of some just turned up to lecture but didn't engage with the students. Others were far better. DD did not do Spanish. What ab initio language is your DS doing?

The university does not spoon feed . You need to be a self motivated person to succeed but Dd enjoyed most of the options and required modules. Single honours people get first choice of options I beieve but DD was happy as she (mostly) wanted less popular ones anyway. Living in Bristol is great and there is plenty to do but it is not cheap. Dd did her year abroad at 2 universities and these were available via the Erasmus scheme. Finding work abroad will be down to the student. The university does not find it for you. DD had offers from Leeds and Durham but preferred Bristol because she was allocated a college at Durham she did not want! Nothing to do with the courses there. UCL is a different animal in my view but some people love London. DD thought the range of options at Bath was narrow because they are more business focussed and less humanities focussed. Dd ended up liking medieval French!

Student life at Bristol tends to centre around the halls at Stoke Bishop or in the city if you choose a hall there. Popular student nights out are Mondays when prices are reduced but there are loads of sports and other activities if you want them. I would also say that a lot of students at Bristol really wanted Bristol because of it's reputation and knowing other students who were going there. It is that sort of place. As the actual university is not campus, some students really value being part of city life and not separate from it. Hope some of the above helps .

senua Mon 04-Jan-16 08:36:29

I slightly know someone doing a language at Leeds (not Spanish). Don't know them terribly well but they seem to be enjoying it and I have not heard any terrible tales. I was surprised that the year-out was between Years 1 & 2 (not Years 2 & 3).

Both Leeds and Bristol have a reputation as a good student experience - lots of buzzy things going on in the city. Leeds is cheaper than Bristol. I don't know why but Leeds is girl-heavy; the female/male ratio is 60/40 (or was last time I looked).

Antaresisastar Mon 04-Jan-16 08:37:04

Thank you boho, v helpful

bojorojo Mon 04-Jan-16 10:09:23

Hi. I did mean to add that, after leaving university, my DD has never been asked what modules she took and why so the choice of university comes down to where you feel at home. Therefore think about whether your DS wants campus or city university, (London is very expensive and many students are forced to live some distance from UCL) what university employers like (although all 5 are strong in that department) and whether the courses have modules he may be interested in - although be aware they can change and so can your DS. At 17 DD thought people who liked medieval French must have something wrong with them! Some people like lots of translation options for example. I would also check what facilities there are for ab initio learning and I know Bristol offers guidance for people who are rusty on essay writing. If your DS does not have an essay A level, this can be a problem on an academic MFL course. Some people come with three MFL A levels but have not written an academic essay in English before. Hope more offers arrive.

gonegrey56 Mon 04-Jan-16 23:28:16

My Dd is doing MFL at Durham, currently on her third year abroad. She is generally satisfied with the course but the quality of the teaching is very variable. She was efficient about booking favoured modules early and lucky that she got onto most of her choices . Year abroad has been tricky for her to organise, she turned down the Erasmus academic places (both at Universities that did not appeal) and therefore had to get internships through her own efforts. But the first of these has just been completed and was a huge success in all respects , and she moves onto another shortly in a different country .
She also took up a language ab initio, and needed to spend a month in the country concerned during the summer vacation at the end of year 1 in order to achieve the needed level of fluency . It is a hard slog to get there so quickly if you start from scratch .
A niece has just dropped out of UCL after finding the MFL course not to her liking, although I am not clear quite what the issue was . Maybe London life was also a factor .

AtiaoftheJulii Tue 05-Jan-16 07:38:19

Is he going to any offer holder days?

My dd is planning to do MFL at uni this year - she loved Leeds but they don't do quite the course she wanted. She's visiting Bristol and Newcastle again in the coming weeks to decide which to firm.

SquadGoals Tue 05-Jan-16 07:55:04

I did JH at Leeds not that long ago. I did French although had a lot of friends who did Spanish.

I loved it, adored Leeds as a city. There is so much to do and the city, campus and student areas are so close together that you never feel that you can't go somewhere or do something as buses are frequent and taxis are fairly cheap.

Second the idea to check the type of modules - I was very interested in linguistics and modern culture. Leeds was excellent for this and it was weighted evenly over the second and fourth years so I wasn't left having to take modules I had no interest in. They do book up quickly though so you normally have to be sat ready to book your place online when they are released!

Has he also considered his year abroad options? Different universities have different links, so if he is wanting to study abroad, teach or work, the university in the UK may have a bearing.

SquadGoals Tue 05-Jan-16 07:58:41

Senua, that seems very unusual.

My year abroad was my third year of four - ie between second and third year - as was everyone else who did any MFL.

Only exception I can think of is a girl who did Japanese ab initio and struggled to get a university placement so they allowed her to do a 6 month period during second year.

trying29 Tue 05-Jan-16 08:00:51

I did joint honours at UCL, the course appealed to me because there was the opportunity not to focus in literature which appealed to me. Year abroad was an Erasmus place and working in a school. Contact hours were around 10 hours a week and the quality of teaching was excellent. Joint honours are quite small numbers so as a group you get to know each other quickly. Ucl was excellent for me, being in London offered so many additional opportunities

DrDreReturns Tue 05-Jan-16 10:09:02

My sister did French and Japanese at Leeds, albeit fifteen years ago. She really enjoyed the course and got a first, and she loved living in Leeds. She had French A level but had to learn Japanese from scratch.

Antaresisastar Tue 05-Jan-16 14:04:55

Thanks all. Will have a read and reply later

MrsUltra Tue 05-Jan-16 14:08:47

I did an ab initio language and decide to spend the first summer as an au-pair in that country. When I came back in the second year I was far more proficient in that language than those who had an A level, and in fact have always preferred that language to my main one..

bojorojo Wed 06-Jan-16 20:12:59

Bristol had loads of Erasmus university choices so usually something fits. They also had translation schools on offer for some languages. Teaching is organised through the British council and is also popular. Also courses do change. You cannot guarantee X course will run if the lecturer leaves therefore flexibility is key. Sometimes you just may not get first
Choice but often they will make sure you get it another year. Joint honours people have more problems with this and signing up Asap is key . MFL cohorts are unlikely to be huge - not enough oeole do MFL. Do go to the offer days though. Also lots of MFL grads don't use languages at work so consider which university might be best for any future career - if he had any idea of course!

beafrog Sun 10-Jan-16 15:11:14

My dc doing modern languages at Bristol and loving it. Think it's really worth checking out the course content as it can be quite different from one place to another. Some are far more literature-based than others. Contact hours at Bristol for MFL far more than for most other arts courses there, particularly if doing 2 languages with one ab intio.

Antaresisastar Sun 10-Jan-16 20:14:33

Thank you all for the useful info, I am passing it all on to ds

KenDoddsDadsDog Sun 10-Jan-16 20:48:38

I did a part year out between 1 and 2 and then a full year in year 3. Spanish with ab initio Catalan.

chocolateshoes Sun 10-Jan-16 20:52:46

DH is a lecturer in MFL in Leeds. He says that apart from Japanese the year abroad is during the 3rd year. Some some dual linguists go during the last term of the 2nd term so they can fit both language experiences in.

Jenijena Sun 10-Jan-16 21:01:24

The universities are all good, but the cities/campus experience are very different. Leeds (big, students city, loads of nightlife) vs Durham (small city, nightlife restricted to colleges etc) for example. They'd give very different student experiences and I'd recommend a visit to any being seriously considered.

senua Mon 11-Jan-16 09:35:55

DH is a lecturer in MFL in Leeds. He says that apart from Japanese the year abroad is during the 3rd year.

Sorry if I appear to be teaching my grandmother to suck eggs, but that is wrong. website, click on course details.

However, this is irrelevant to OP's DS who wants to do Spanish - which is between Years 2 & 3.

bojorojo Mon 11-Jan-16 21:36:57

That link is for Russian senua! Japanese (Asian Studies prospectus) does indeed say students go to Japan in the second year! (Irrelevant - I know)

senua Mon 11-Jan-16 22:21:32

Um, that's my point bojo! He said "apart from the Japanese" so I was pointing out that it wasn't the only exception - Russian (ab initio) does it, too.

1234Littleham Wed 13-Jan-16 09:40:39

My dd is doing languages at Bristol and really enjoys the course and the facilities are brilliant. Teaching is excellent and the contact hours are high. Accommodation is expensive though.

Which language is your dd considering for ab initio?

Antaresisastar Wed 13-Jan-16 11:19:41

Hi Littleham, at Bristol it would be Italian.
Thanks to everyone, have shown the thread to ds.

1234Littleham Wed 13-Jan-16 13:25:37

My dd is doing ab initio Italian at Bristol and she says that the teachers are absolutely lovely. It is a small and very friendly department.

If your ds would like to know anything in particular I'm happy to send her an e mail. There might be a slightly delayed response as she has exams next week. smile

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