Chinese or photography what would you study?

(18 Posts)
Debs75 Sat 03-Aug-13 21:41:47

DD1 is going to start applying for Uni this year. Her two choices are photography or Chinese. She currently does photography, psychology and Art at A level. She did Chinese at school and did so well she got the top mark in the county. Unfortunately nowhere does Chinese locally at A level or she would of done that.

Her wanted career is to teach Chinese so obviously she needs to do a Chinese degree.
Her, that would be fun career is to be a concert photographer. She does local gigs now for experience and loves it.

Her college tutor told her that Chinese is a crap degree and she doesn't need it and it won't get her anywhere. Well if she wants to teach it then a degree is pretty much a must. She wants her to do photography, I am wondering if that is because she is studying that at college and it looks better if you progress.

Anyway DD1 is now feeling all torn and not sure about what she wants. She has a history of mild depression and will just turn herself off from study if she feels her choice isn't important

OP’s posts: |
Bluestocking Sat 03-Aug-13 21:52:13

A degree in Chinese from a good university would open many doors for your daughter. Apart from the obvious teaching/translation careers, she would be very well placed to get a graduate traineeship with a big company, as doing well at such a difficult language would demonstrate all sorts of useful skills. In addition, the degree course should incorporate a significant period of time (at least a semester and probably a year) studying or working in China, so she'd have that international experience too.
If the photography tutor really did say that Chinese would be a crap degree (and I seriously doubt any teacher would actually say something so ill-informed) she is talking out of her backside. Photography will always be a great hobby but a degree in Chinese could set your daughter up for a variety of very good and interesting careers.

titchy Sun 04-Aug-13 11:00:28

Agree tutor talking out of her arse! She should definately check out Chinese degrees if that is her passion. Be warned she may need to show some evidence of recent study - OU or other distance learning maybe? Ad her current subjects aren't academic enough for RUssel group university, but ok for others.

ExitPursuedByABear Sun 04-Aug-13 11:01:38

Definitely Chinese. Her tutor is mad.

Debs75 Sun 04-Aug-13 12:18:51

Thanks for agreeing. The tutor didn't actually say crap more useless/not a good idea. We are going to see her ourselves as the refusal to help DD write a personal statement for Chinese is really unprofessional and needs addressing. What irks me most is that she is a language teacher so surely she should help persue language students.

The trip out to China is one thing which DD is really looking forward to she is super keen to learn more about everything Chinese.

DD has looked into things and agrees that Chinese degree and then in her part time she could join a photography club and learn from other members. She worked with 3 photography degree students last month who all told her that they have learnt more from friends then university.

OP’s posts: |
Eyesunderarock Sun 04-Aug-13 12:53:16

I'm married to a linguist who is an enthusiastic photographer and has monopolised the garage as a dark room. smile
She will learn a huge amount in photography by joining clubs, meeting fellow enthusiasts and looking for short evening classes and dayschools that focus on particular subjects such as B&W or nature photography or whatever interests her.
So, do the degree in Chinese, she will have a rich and exciting experience that will be seen as a useful, challenging and relevant degree by the majority of organisations. I'm appalled at the teacher's narrow-minded negativity.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Sun 04-Aug-13 12:57:27

The only thing I would question is whether she will become fluent enough to teach it with an undergraduate degree, given that most people want a native speaker as a teacher. Most of my friends with undergrads in mandarin are not fluent- many would not be considered literate in China as they don't know enough characters, so make sure that she really makes sure she knows what she's going to come out with. However I would agree that Chinese more useful than photography.


RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Sun 04-Aug-13 13:02:15

Also, agree with the previous comment that a good language degree should ideally include a year either studying or working in China. A two week trip here or there won't make any impact on her language skills.

YoniBottsBumgina Sun 04-Aug-13 13:02:38

Chinese! She can join a photography club, as you say, and photography is an easy one to pick up later as there are always loads of courses and clubs around, plus it's an easy one to pick up by just doing it.

Chinese not so much unless she moves there - she won't have the same kinds of opportunities to practise it out and about and in her free time. So take the opportunity to study it formally, I say.

Kez100 Sun 04-Aug-13 16:07:20

He problem will be getting onto a great photography degree with 'A' levels. All the courses with a great reputation are over subscribed and they may require her to do a foundation diploma first. However, that will depend on the quality of her portfolio - these degrees also tend to have quite low UCAS tariff requirements but WILL interview and her portfolio will be the crux of that.

The two subjects are so different, have a look and see if she can apply for a joint honours, maybe? I know Chester do lots of joint honours degrees including photography.

Also attend some open days in the autumn so she can work out which route she wants to go.

Copthallresident Mon 05-Aug-13 11:42:36

The problem facing your daughter will be that the best places to study Chinese require a MFL at A level, understandably. Perhaps the language tutor is querying the standard of courses that do not?

Copthallresident Mon 05-Aug-13 11:58:11

Another option if your daughter wants to study China /Chinese would be to do a Chinese Studies degree and study the history, culture, politics etc. alongside the language but again the best places (and there are some excellent centres for the study of China in the UK, that would open up good employment prospects for your daughter) would be looking for A levels that demonstrated the student's skills and abilities in the study of history, literature etc, eg History, Philosophy, English Literature. Speaking as someone who is involved in the academic study of China, and it is endlessly fascinating, I would really advise that your daughter picked up a relevant A level ( in a gap year perhaps? ) to enable her to access the best courses and to do well on them. I think that arriving on a Chinese course without those background skills and knowledge would be very tough.

Debs75 Mon 05-Aug-13 15:27:33

thanks for your replies. She has decided that she will do Chinese and is in the process of contacting uni's for input on courses. She is pretty good already and picked it up really quick. unfortunately there is no a level courses near us so she may have to look at that if they knock her back on not having an a level.

OP’s posts: |
Copthallresident Mon 05-Aug-13 15:51:18

Debs The good courses will accept any Modern Foreign Language, it doesn't have to be Mandarin. Indeed they could not discriminate against those who have not studied Chinese as most schools / colleges would not offer it.

She needs to be aware that GCSE level Chinese (I assume that is what she studied) is set at the level of needing to know 150 - 200 characters to achieve a high grade whilst at university on a good course they will be aiming to equip a student with at least 4 to 5000 characters and those characters will be determined by the aims of the course. eg if the aim is to equip you to read Chinese literature and academic texts the course content will be different to a course that aims to equip you with conversational Chinese or to do business. She should also look for universities that have an established Chinese Studies and Languages Departments, rather than cobbling modules together from other departments.

Copthallresident Mon 05-Aug-13 16:04:34

A couple of good courses other than Oxbridge

Copthallresident Mon 05-Aug-13 16:05:18


couple of good courses other than Oxbridge

Copthallresident Mon 05-Aug-13 16:06:15

bad link day!!

mizu Fri 16-Aug-13 10:53:37

Chinese without a doubt

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