Which uni to choose for Italian.

(23 Posts)
Claudtheragdollcat Sat 03-Dec-16 15:59:40

My DS has applied after considerable deliberation and with the required grades (A*A*A) to study Italian at 5 universities. Ultimately he's only interested in two; Glasgow because he can do three/two subjects in the first year/second year including one of his A levels and possibly another MFL he loves the university, the city, itself the general atmosphere and people (even if it's been cold/rainy every time he's been) etc, he knows it's an MA and five years, or Manchester he quite likes the look of the course because it's Italian culture, not just language although learning the language is his main priority he is completely mad about anything Italian. But doesn't know Manchester at all he will go and see it if he gets an offer. Just interested if anyone has any views.

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allegretto Sat 03-Dec-16 16:03:44

I don't know either of those courses but I think culture as well as language would probably be the better option. In fact, I would suggest maybe looking for a joint degree so he could study something more useful with it! (I am an Italian graduate grin)

annandale Sat 03-Dec-16 16:11:15

Has he considered studying in Italy?

BackforGood Sat 03-Dec-16 16:22:46

I know someone who studied at St Andrews recently and loved the Italian (includes a year in Italy, which I would have assumed all MFL courses did?)

Claudtheragdollcat Sat 03-Dec-16 17:22:56

He doesn't fancy St Andrews, its campus is not his cup of tea!
Glasgow as far as I understand could be joint option he will do maths in the first year, and he can continue it into the 2nd year and still come out with a single honours in Italian or he can at the end of year 2 come to his senses decide to do a joint maths/Italian degree or even chuck in Italian and do maths on its own. He's a very capable linguist but for maths he has been formally assessed as exceptionally gifted, but he is also a very lazy mathematician an A* was achieved with literally no work on his part, Italy and everything Italian is so much more interesting. At the moment he doesn't want just do maths because he doesn't really like it. I guess Im hoping maths at university might be more interesting. [optimistic smiley]
Both courses include a year in Italy.

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annandale Sat 03-Dec-16 19:13:51

Well then, a maths degree in Italy? grin

VintagePerfumista Sat 03-Dec-16 19:21:18

Oh god, Italians leave Italy in droves. The university system is dire, unless you are at one of the top private ones. There isn't really the "international student" culture that there is in the UK/US.

I live in Italy, but my degree (French and Spanish) was in Manchester, and it was in the 80s when Manchester was starting to be really cool, so for social life, it's fab.

I'd hesitate about advising anyone to do a single language degree tbh, it's a bit restricting.


VintagePerfumista Sat 03-Dec-16 19:21:53

Meant to say "Not an Italian university, Italians leave Italy in droves"

allegretto Sat 03-Dec-16 19:32:07

The university system is dire

Not all of it. Some of the university professors are really quite good. grin

VintagePerfumista Sat 03-Dec-16 19:35:31

Oh yes, I know wink, but I think the whole "open enrolment" thing comes as a bit of a shock to people not used to that kind of system.

Certainly where I am, there is no criteria other than a Maturita' diploma to do languages. Go figure the standard of entrants! 600 start in October and by Christmas 450 have given up.

ttlshiwwya Sat 03-Dec-16 21:02:56

I studied a joint honours degree with maths at Glasgow a long time ago and was friendly with a girl who studied joint honours maths and italian. She now lives in Italy and works for an italian engineering company. I do remember her complaining that the maths department weren't keen on her spending a whole year in Italy in her 3rd year not studying any maths. I suspect this will be less of an issue these days with Erasmus etc as you could easily take university maths classes whilst in Italy. She had relatives in Italy and ended up doing several shorter periods in Italy which kept everyone happy. I'd also check out just what maths modules can be taken by joint honours students as my friend didn't have the same choice in applied maths subjects and ended up with pure maths topics which weren't her thing. Again this has probably changed.

bojorojo Sat 03-Dec-16 21:55:40

I have a DD who did French and Italian. Virtually any university will grab you to do Italian. DDs friend did Italian at Bristol with CCC.

We visited Manchester for a post offer day for their MLang course. 4 years or 5 with year abroad. DD, rightly, decided 5 years is far too long and stops you getting on with the rest of your life. We asked if the Masters students got better jobs - they said no. They even said employers didn't know the difference between the BA and the Masters. So, think very carefully before doing more than 4 years. The Italian lecturer told my DD that if she didn't get into her first choice university, they would not care what the grade was in her 3rd A level. Therefore very little difference between Glasgow and Manchester. Neither are best (Oxford) , but neither are they poor!

Most decent degrees are culture, language and literature. No academic degree will be mostly language. To learn the language a bit more deeply, students can go to translation schools in Italy. At a good university, language acquisition is expected but only really kicks in after the year abroad where everyone improves (unless they are Italian in the first place of course). If he has A level Italian, he will have a head start anyway because quite a few students will be ab initio.

Also, do not do a single language if you can avoid it. You won't find many employers who want Italian. They do think more of you if you offer two languages, or something plus Italian. If he wants to teach Italian, or be a translator, great, but Italian on its own is not highly prized - it is just too niche. Therefore try and factor in other modules if possible.

The public Italian Universities are very average. They tend to get students from their local area and all the students know each other from school. Even a university with 88,000 students (Bologna) is not very friendly and is utterly disorganised. It is not like a UK university at all. DD said lectures were characterised by students smoking, snogging or eating - sometimes at the same time). Some students take years to get an undergrad degree in Italy. An advantage of a university in Italy is that it can broaden your academic horizons. They also have thousands of International exchange students, so plenty of international friends if you cannot find Italian ones.

The Erasmus scheme is currently operating, but who knows about the future? Milan got good reports from students in my DDs year. You are able to teach via the British Council (but you may be in a small town with no-one your age around because they are all at university) but getting a standard job was problematic and DDs university did not recommend it in Italy.

Has he got any ideas about what he may want to do post degree? What were the other 3 universities, out of interest?

Claudtheragdollcat Sat 03-Dec-16 22:41:29

He's only "interested" (loose term) in pure maths he doesn't like applied. He's already spoken to the maths dept at Glasgow, asked about what would be studied what ever it was met with some approval and if classes would be set.
At Glasgow you choose three subjects in the first year so there's only 1 math module and he's planning to make French his third subject and is currently saying ideally he dump the maths at the end of the 1st year and keep up both languages.
He has no plan for the future apart from wanting to be in Italy and of all things train for his riding instructor exams!
I am aware that there is a shortage of enthusiastic students wanting to study Italian.
Bojorojo I think on the advise of his school he eventually applied to Edinburgh, UCL and maybe Birmingham he's not in the U.K. so I'm only communicating via Whatsapp so I'm not sure where he decided to apply to in the end.

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allegretto Sun 04-Dec-16 10:15:49

Bojorojo - I have no snogging in my lectures! I agree that Italian university is a completely different experience to UK university - of course it is also a lot cheaper. If we can afford it, I would like my children to go to UK universities for the experience. Things are also changing - Vintage, we have a lot of "numero chiuso" courses and you have to have a certain standard to get in (not just maturità). Of course, lots of people complain but it is the only way to keep standards high and not have overcrowding.

Claudtheragdollcat Sun 04-Dec-16 10:56:10

As his Italian is very limited, confined to managing to purchase things in shops etc I don't think an Italian University is the way forward. I too have heard that Italian universities are very underfunded and struggling. He was assured that the British Council Scheme will carry on running regardless of Brexit, in the ideal world he would like to work with horses (unpaid like all horse jobs) during his year in Italy and get the opportunity to live with Italians as well but this is probably unrealistic but we can all dream.
Very well travelled and independent, I'm not sure that he needs to broaden his international academic horizons, being in the UK won't do him any harm.

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bojorojo Mon 05-Dec-16 09:41:07

allegretto- glad to hear it! Hopefully no chatting or eating either!

As he is ab initio he will have to work hard. Does he have other A levels in a language? He presumably needs a track record in MFL somewhere. Definitely study in the U.K. - there are often Italian lecturers due to the difficulty of securing promotion in Italian universities - check The Independent's article on the reasons for the demise of Italian universities.

You must be aware that the UK university will require that his job in Italy is of the required linguistic standard. Also, the universities do not find you the job or accommodation. You have to do this. If you have contacts with Italian stables, that is good, but getting work is very difficult for many. Do check on any offer days that work in a stable is sufficiently rigourius academically. You do have to complete work on the year abroad - it is not just about work and language.

I think he does need to recognise the academic rigour required in an Italian degree. It will be literature and culture in heavy doses. This means reading tomes in Italian. Lots of people combine it with studying another subject, but you can do this at the Italian university as well. You will not be in halls at any Italian university or teaching job, so it is quite possible to stay with a family.

I would be wary of a 5 year degree in essentially one subject so don't write off the English universities.

Blowitout Mon 05-Dec-16 09:48:22

I think maths and Italian are a great combo. I studied maths with a year abroad in Italy (studying maths at an Italian university) under the Erasmus scheme. Is this an option at Glasgow or Manchester? If so I highly recommend it and employers look on it favourably too.

bojorojo Mon 05-Dec-16 12:51:53

This is Italian with maths options. Not quite the same.

Claudtheragdollcat Mon 05-Dec-16 14:55:51

At Glasgow if we've understood this correctly, which I believe we have, you apply for a subject e.g. Italian then in the first year you do two other subject, he would do maths and probably French, then in the 2nd year you do two, he could continue maths and Italian and then for year three choose whether or not to just do Italian or he could keep up maths and Italian.Or he could drop Italian and keep up French and maths or drop French and Italian and keep up maths etc. So he's not committing himself to Italian and he could ultimately do maths only after the second year.
This is the big attraction about Glasgow for him and me and its a great friendly city. One year ago he wouldn't have done maths for all the horses in the world, now he has his results he feels slightly differently about it and maths is one of his choices who knows how he'll feel next year or the year after.
I am aware that Italian may have limited options career wise, as is he, but he is an adult and he has spent a long time thinking about this and he has very carefully weighed up all the options and as he's the one getting the student loan etc it his choice.

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bojorojo Tue 06-Dec-16 17:06:35

I am not sure you are correct about subject choices and changing the prime subject. If you submit UCAS for Italian, this is the prime subject. Others are only available if there is space on them but you can do extra subjects as you say. How do you know what is available and what happens if the Maths and French courses are full? I assume he has French and Maths A level. Year 3 is expected to be abroad, but Year 4 is clearly expected to be studying the prime subject, or why go abroad if you are changing to Maths or French (you may have been to the wrong country) ? Clearly, students are allowed flexibility but from what I read, this flexibility does not lead to changing the prime degree as you have suggested above. I think the university expect him to be committed to Italian, otherwise everyone could apply for a low tarrif degree (Italian) and change to say, Law or Economics which is significantly more competitive.

museumum Tue 06-Dec-16 17:13:23

As far as I know all the Scottish universities (or at least all the old ones) do the three subject entrance.
Continuing your "third subject" to honours when I was there was all down to end of second year exam results and what you were initially admitted for didn't matter.
Many many of my friends graduated in either their third subject (chosen in a bit of a whim in freshers week) or in joint honours.

ttlshiwwya Tue 06-Dec-16 21:08:10

Glasgow still has the flexibility. My DS2 is applying this year and they were really punting this at the open day. However as museumum says it does depend on 2nd year results. Plus for oversubscribed subjects priority goes to students who selected these subjects on their UCAS form. I can't imagine either maths or italian or french will be oversubscibed.

Claudtheragdollcat Tue 06-Dec-16 22:09:30

Museum is right you apply for 1 subject but it is a three subject entrance you choose 2 others before starting 1 can be from another faculty. Two subjects are studied in the second year. We also know someone who choose a third subject on a whim loved it and couldn't wait to drop the subject they'd originally applied for.
As ttlshiwwya says Glasgow pushes this flexibility and for the undecided like my DS this is one of its attractions. Having been on the open day, listened to the talk on psychology (DS decided it wasn't for him) and then visited the maths dept, the sheer numbers in the first and the handful looking at the 2nd rather implies he wont be fighting a couple of hundred buddying mathematician for a place.
Bojororo in your third year you can either do a single honour and if Italian you go to Italy or if your doing two MFL's I think if my memory serves me right two terms in 1 country and 1 in the other or he could do a joint honours in say maths and Italian (we can all dream) still go abroad for a year and come back and pick up both subjects when you get back.

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